Many students might feel intimidated by their instructors and by the dizzying array of offices and processes they have to navigate at UWM. As a result, many advisors report that they coach students to help them deal with their fear of approaching their instructors: They worry they’re bothering the instructor, that their questions are dumb, and that if they can’t make it to scheduled office hours they’re just out of luck.
A few simple steps can make students more comfortable approaching you:
- Specify how you prefer to be contacted: Do you work best over email? Texting? Drop-in appointments?
- Clarify your expectations. Do you expect a certain level of formality? Do you want to be called “Ms.” or “Dr.?” Or do you prefer first names? Do you expect students to prepare for meetings in a particular way? Let them know.
- Be available. If you can, come early to class and/or stay late.
- Explain how your office hours work. Putting the hours on the syllabus is great, but we shouldn’t assume that first-year students, in particular, know what they’re for. Specify any flexibility about your hours.
- Post office hours on your profile or department page, as well as on your syllabus; this can help advisors who are guiding students to make appointments.
- College Students: How to Make Office Hours Less Scary (NPR)
- Using Office Hours Effectively (Association for Psychological Science)