First day of class and everyone gets a syllabus. Usually close to the top there’s a bit about when classes and x-hours are, the name of the class (hopefully you already knew that one), and then when office hours are held.
Ahh … office hours. I will (to my embarrassment) admit that I didn’t go to one until freshman spring, because I was really intimidated by professors (not because my professors were intimidating, per se, but because they’re so awesome and published that I was nervous about talking to them). Whereas there are also some people who go to every single office hour, without fail. Once I got over my initial anxiety, though, I found that office hours are ridiculously useful. I’ve used office hours to ask questions about material in the course, figure out paper topics, and even discuss post-graduation plans and which grad school programs to apply to. It’s also a great way to find out more about your professors, such as what kind of research they are doing. I have very rarely met a professor here at Dartmouth who wasn’t nice or approachable. In fact, I have definitely had classes where professors openly requested students to come to office hours because they were feeling pretty lonely and underutilized during office hours. One professor even rescheduled office hours for the rest of term when he found out that most of the students had scheduling conflicts with the previously decided time, in order to encourage more folks to come to office hours.
Bottom line – definitely go to office hours. But don’t just show up to office hours. There are definitely ways to get the most out of your professor’s office hours (plus, it’s also just polite). Cornell’s website has some tips for how to make the best use of your professor’s and your own time, which I will re-post here:
- Study your textbook and lecture notes thoroughly and attempt the assigned problems before you go to office hours.
- Try to identify specific questions or concepts you need to address during the office hours.
- Expect instructors to ask you questions about the material. They do this to find out what you understand, and to provide you with information and strategies tailored to your individual needs.
- Be patient! Several students come for office hours at the same time. If the instructor is especially busy, you may have to wait a little longer for individual assistance. Use this time to study the material.
- Expect the instructor to suggest general study strategies to help you improveoverall academic performance. These strategies will help in all of your courses.
- Avoid waiting until the day before the test or the day before an assignment is due to seek assistance. Study a few hours each day, and keep up with your assignments. It is EASIER to keep up than to catch up!
- Use other resources such as formal study groups and informal homework-help groups.
- Keep a positive attitude about the subject and about your potential to excel. Your attitude will go a long way in determining how well you do in your course!
April 18, 2012
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Take a Faculty Member to Breakfast or Lunch! Want to request a voucher?
The Undergraduate Deans Office is very pleased to be sponsoring the extremely popular Take a Faculty Member to Breakfast or Lunch program.
This program is designed to encourage students and teaching faculty to have substantive one-to-one conversations outside of class, engaging around topics of academic interests, future studies and general life experiences.
To ensure the success of this wonderful program and to allow as many students as possible to take advantage of it, the following procedures have been established:
- For students and faculty only (not for use with a coach, CD, administrator, TA … )
- Designed for one-to-one meetings, not for groups of students or groups of faculty.
- Vouchers will be valid at Class of 1953 Commons for breakfast or lunch.
- The student and the faculty member will each receive a voucher, good for one meal.
- Decide on a date with your faculty member before requesting vouchers.
- You can utilize the program once per academic year (fall through end of summer term).
- Vouchers must be used within defined time frame.
How Does a Student Request a Voucher?
- Email the Undergraduate Deans Office and include:
- Full name of lunch attendees (student and faculty member)
- Anticipated lunch date – make sure you contact faculty member before you get vouchers!
- We will send you an email when your vouchers are ready, telling you to pick them up at Baker Library, Suite 224 (between 8am and 4:30pm, M – F).
- You must pick-up vouchers 2 business days prior to the lunch/breakfast.
- The vouchers are good for 48 hours only.
A Few Recommendations …
- Contact faculty member prior to requesting vouchers.
- Check the hours of operation for Class of 1953 Commons.
- Take advantage of this opportunity to connect with faculty and enjoy!
Some Fine Print
- The vouchers you receive are good for one meal only and cannot be used for multiple meals.
- If you will be unable to use your vouchers, please contact the Undergraduate Deans Office immediately.
April 12, 2012
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Meeting new professors and building relationships with them are undeniably valuable academic/personal experiences one can have. Because of its relatively small faculty (who ACTUALLY teach classes)-student-ratio, Dartmouth allows undergraduate students to easily engage in meaningful conversations with profs both inside and outside the classroom. Here are what some of our DOSCs have to say about their favorite professors at Dartmouth, how they met them, and WHY they like them.
Although I’ve enjoyed many of my classes, the two professors who stand out most for me are Professor Kull in the Chemistry department and Professor Robinson in the Psych/Neuroscience department. Full disclosure: I’m a pre-med psych major so these weren’t classes I took for fun, but these professors made their classes fantastic. Kull taught me Biological Chemistry (Chem 41) and managed to unify a large body of material-concepts from chem 5, 6, 51 and 52, bio 12 and 13 and physics 3 and 4, into one cohesive survey course of biochemistry. It was the first “pre-med” class I really liked. Professor Robinson taught my senior seminar on Addiction. The subject is cool and Robinson made it very real for us while teaching us about the neurobiology of addiction. Professor Robinson also included many different teaching tools and assessments in the class so I never got bored, even though it was a 10A.
Although I’m a neuroscience professor, one of my favorite professors was Amy Gladfelter from the Biology department. She taught cellular biology, more lovingly known as Bio 12 for our premed friends. She was incredibly enthusiastic about the material and taught with such endearing energy that I couldn’t help but recall the same sense of excitement you’d get when your middle school science teacher would put on a VHS Bill Nye episode. It’s very rare to find someone as intelligent and kind as she. If you have to take Bio 12 for whatever reason, wait until Amy Gladfelter is teaching it. I guarantee it’ll be one of the best Dartmouth teaching experiences you’ll have.
Si Jie says:
My favorite Prof is Karen Gocsik from the Writing Department.
Since freshmen fall, I have taken 4 classes with Karen and thoroughly enjoying her friendship in and outside of the classroom. She’s insightful about life, ideas and writing, which is important to us in whatever career we are pursuing. Take a class with Karen, and you will become friends of a lifetime!
John Rassias of the French and Italian department is one of my favorite professors at Dartmouth. He is the developer of the Rassias Method, originally created to train volunteers in the Peace Corps and also used for the College’s language drills. Taking French 40 (“From Page to Stage: The Greeks Invade the French Theater”) with him was an experience of its own. We were energetic (difficult for 2 o’clock in the afternoon), engaged, and inspired during every class. He is also extremely kind and personable, and I would recommend every French student to enroll in a class of his before graduating.
Have questions about how to approach profs outside of classroom? Ask any of our DOSCs!