Golden Eagle Experience

Engaging with Faculty

During your time at Tennessee Tech, consider the value of fostering relationships with the faculty you come in contact with.  There are many reasons why such initiative benefits you.  Read along for tips and tricks concerning engaging with your faculty.

Acknowledge the importance.

Knowing the importance of engaging with faculty will help you do it when the time comes.  It is important for many reasons, and one reason is that it’s your responsibility to make connections during your college education.  In addition, as a direct result, you might learn better after establishing a healthy student-professor relationship.  Another benefit is that many students, if not all, will eventually need a letter of recommendation from a professor, and a professor can only do this for you if you’ve made some sort of impression to them.

Introduce yourself.

This sounds simple, and it is!  Introducing yourself to the professor individually is a simple action that can make a world of a difference.  You can use this moment to express your excitement about learning in the course.  After identification of your name and personality, the professor is aware of who you are in addition to knowing your effort pertaining to your education.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your professor.

Your professor is here for you! You should not be afraid to communicate with them.  If you find yourself intimidated by your professor, remind yourself that he or she is a person just like you, and all professors at Tennessee Tech want you to feel comfortable asking questions and engaging in class because that is how you will learn!  Make sure to attend class to increase exposure to your professor. 

Respect your professor.

Although you should not fear your professor, you should respect your professor.  Your professor is an authority figure, and you are under their instruction within the constructs of the course.  Always communicate with intention while being considerate of his or her extensive knowledge concerning the course.  This will display respect to your professor as you interact during and outside of class time.

Set up meeting times with your professor.

Many professors have office hours, where time is allotted just for you! You can find a professor’s office hours in the course syllabus.  Utilize this time to meet with your professor to ask questions concerning the course.  This will not only get your questions answered, but it will also establish a better relationship with your professor. If you are unavailable during the designated times, reach out to your professors and ask if they are any other times he or she is available to meet with you to cover your questions regarding the course. 

Write thank you cards.

At the end of the semester, you can let your professor know how much you appreciated their time and commitment to education by simply writing him or her a thank you card.  This will not take you long, but that professor might keep the note for forever.  Also, if you ask that professor to write you a letter of recommendation for grad school or a job, he or she will likely remember that you truly attempted to make a good impression, conducted yourself respectfully and wrote them a thank you card.

Use proper email etiquette.

When emailing your professor, since you will have introduced yourself to them prior, they will likely recognize that it’s you contacting them.  With that in consideration, you want to make sure that you are providing a quality email. A quality email includes some of the following aspects:

  • A subject that includes the course number and section, along with a brief description of the email
  • Addressing the professor by the correct name and how they prefer to be addressed (ex. Dr. Smith, Professor Brown, etc.)
  • Stating your name, what time you have the class and asking your question respectfully. 
  • Signing your email with your name (first and last) and your T-Number.

Check out below for an example email from a student to a professor.

Sample email to professor from student