Relationships With Professors

The relationships you form with your professors will be among the most important you make while at Loyola. Professors are committed both to student learning and to incredible scholarly research. They are experts in their fields and will help you gain a level of mastery over your coursework. Here are some tips to guide you as you develop these relationships.

  1. Introduce yourself to your professors. You will be spending 16 weeks with each other, after all, and if it is a course for your major, you may have the instructor for more than one class.
  2. Don’t be intimidated. Many students express anxiety at the thought of talking to professors one-on-one. Professors are humans and were once undergraduate students, too.
  3. Ask if you are unsure the title to use to address your professor. When in doubt, you can use Professor. If the professor has PhD or EdD after their name, you can use Doctor. Only use the first name after they tell you it is preferred and never default to Mrs. for women professors.
  4. Read the syllabus. Professors spend time writing the content of the syllabus as a way of communicating necessary information to you about the course. The syllabus is one of the best tools you have to set yourself up for success in a course, and may include due dates, exam dates, the grade scale, grade policies, information on accommodations and academic integrity, reading assignments, office hours, and contact information. You are responsible for knowing the information and oftentimes, the syllabus will provide answers to basic questions about the class and assignments.
  5. Take responsibility for your learning. Your professors will make every effort to communicate content well and it is your responsibility to ensure you understand and learn the material. Your professors are available to clarify questions as you learn the material, but you should expect to spend sufficient time working through the material on your own.
  6. Talk to your professors right away if you are experiencing any sort of difficulties that are impacting your academic performance. Professors are unable to help you if they are unaware of what you are going through. They may not be able to offer options to make up work, but it helps them to know you are not merely blowing off the work.
  7. Tell your professor early in the semester if you receive accommodations through Services for Students With Disabilities so that they can plan accordingly.
  8. Avoid asking lazy questions: What’s going to be on the test? How do I get an A in the class? and Did I miss anything important? These questions miss the point that you are here to master content, not simply to earn a grade.
  9. How you ask a question or pose a concern matters. A demand or accusation may not lead to a constructive interaction.
    Demand: I deserve a higher grade.
    Question: Would you be able to explain the grade I received? I felt that my essay response was strong and did a good job addressing the prompt.I would like to know how to improve in the future.
    Accusation: You didn’t give me points for the last assignment!
    Concern: In class yesterday you handed back my assignment and I earned 12 points. I just checked the gradebook in Sakai and noticed a grade of 0 had been entered. Could you look into this discrepancy?
  10. Be honest. Professors work with a lot of students and have a good sense of when students are being forthright. If you forgot to complete an assignment, it is best to be honest rather than lie to cover for yourself. Treat your professors with dignity and maintain the University’s standards on academic integrity.

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