Communicating with Professors

“I am failing. Is it too late to get an Incomplete? Should I retake the course?”

Posted by on May 17, 2013 in Communicating with Professors, General, Interpersonal Communication | 30 comments

(Aaaaaaand… student write-in questions are back! With many terms winding down, I am receiving letters that include various levels of frustration and failure. You’ll see themes of them over the next several posts. Hopefully, the discussions will be helpful to anyone facing a similar issue.) Hello Ellen, Thank you so much for doing what you do. I wish I had known all these lessons as a student before I put myself in this situation. I think I’m failing a class. I e-mailed my instructor about possibly taking an Incomplete, but I haven’t received a response. I really have no excuse about my situation. I stopped going to class due to anxiety, which...

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Why Saying ‘Thank You’ Now Can Lead to Career Success

Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Communicating with Professors, General, Interpersonal Communication | 145 comments

(It is the end of teacher appreciation week! Next week, I’m returning with student write-in’s, but sticking with the theme of career success this week. Do you feel like the art of ‘thank you’ is leaving us, along with face to face conversation? I hope not. I’m interested in your thoughts!) “Ellen, I would like to speak with you. This is not class-related. Can we please schedule a call when you have some time? Student” I recently received this note just after one of my classes met for the last time. The student had a difficult term (personally, not academically), but ended up coming through magnificently. Reading the urgency, I...

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How to Get a Recommendation Letter if You Are Not an ‘A’ Student

Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Communicating with Professors, General, General College Success/Responses to Other College Entities | 5 comments

Dear Student Who Isn’t Acing Classes, I’m dedicating this post to you. You are nearing the end of an academic term/year. I know you’ve heard about the critical importance of networking with your profs, getting recommendation letters, etc. You may be letting this suggestion pass you by, but I am going to beg you not to. You deserve a recommendation letter, even if you didn’t do as well as you would have liked. Grades are a measurement of a body of work and performance over a limited period of time. Are they important and often reflective of performance? Absolutely. But they do not always tell the entire story. Get your profs to tell more of your...

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“How Do I Deal with a Slacker on a Group Project?”

Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in Communicating with Professors, General, Interpersonal Communication | 31 comments

(A one-line write-in from a student… Does this problem ever go away in life? No! The slacking group member is a plague! Students feel helpless and concerned about grades, and they may wonder when to bring a prof in on the problem. Here’s my take…)  Ellen, How do you work with a group member who does not put in their work on a group project? Student *********************** I realize the student didn’t ask for all the advice I’m giving, but I’m giving it anyway. What do you say??? Student, I so empathize! As a student, I couldn’t stand group work because I knew I would probably have to manage or do most of it so my own grade...

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Does Your Prof Care More than You Do? Will Your Boss?

Posted by on Mar 26, 2013 in Communicating with Professors, General, Interpersonal Communication | 41 comments

(No major intro on this one. Student questions will be back soon. In the meantime, here is what I’m thinking about right now…) In my Interpersonal Communication course, my students submit a question-prompted journal fairly early in the term. The first question? “Analyze your communication strengths and weaknesses, based on communication competencies in the textbook.” If other questions go awry, (they usually don’t–interpersonal communication may be hard as hell in real life, but it isn’t rocket science), I can typically count on students answering this one question. Until now. Student’s journal literally had a polar bear in...

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“I’m Failing by One Point–and I May be the Target of Discrimination”

Posted by on Mar 20, 2013 in Communicating with Professors, General, Interpersonal Communication | 14 comments

(Some personal blips kept me away from my blogging longer than expected. Writing is my whole heart and when I miss it, I really miss it. Spring break is upon me soon and my hope is to get back on track for at least my weekly posts! A couple quick updates: While I was away, my third piece in USA Today College published: 6 Things You Should Say to Your Professor. Very proud of this one because obviously, the topic is my whole heart. Read it and grab two pocket phrases to sound ultra-professional in most pesky classroom situations! On to a difficult subject, one that has layers of complexity, but requires sensitivity and care. This comment was posted on my old Blogger site...

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