3 Comments

“Welcome to My Parlor…”

For the last several months, it has been my responsibility to write/compile the parent newsletter for parents of freshmen, First Year Focus. This task has been fascinating, offering me the opportunity to reflect on the things I found so valuable about Bellarmine, but also allowing me to explore buldings, meet faculty, and investiagte facilties and programs in which I was not involved as a student, or which have developed since my tenure as a BU Knight.

One of the features of FYF is a section called “The ‘High Stakes’ Course.” Its purpose is to give parents a clearer idea of the kinds of courses their students are taking, what the professors are like, and how best to support their students academically. Often, I make a point to interview professors personally when writing this section.

Yesterday, while interviewing Dr. Myra McCrickard, who teaches Economics 111 and 112, I noticed a common theme among the professors with whom I’ve spoken. Invariably, when asked, “What should students do if they’re really struggling?” They answer, “They should come see me personally.” Generally, this is followed by some comment that basically ensures that any student willing to come see the professor personally and invest the time, is going to make it through the class.

The recommendation to come see individual professors is no secret. In fact, we say it a lot around here. Dr. McCrickard puts sticky notes on her students’ tests inviting them to her office. Do they come? Rarely. But why? Are they intimidated? Do they fear the responsibility of extra work? Do they think the professor is like a spider in wait, trying to set a trap to accuse them of laziness? Do they dread the prospect of spending extraneous moments with a dorky old professor when they could just as easily be facebook-ing?

I’m not sure.

Bellarmine is a small school, with a small student-teacher ratio. One of the big advantages here is that students can have frequent, individual access to profesors in their departments, so why don’t they take advantage?

Thoughts?

Jessica Hume, Bellarmine University Class of 2005
Director of Writing and Parent Communications, Academic Resource Center

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About Cassie

I'm the Director of the Writing Center and Director of Parent Communications at Bellarmine University.

3 comments on ““Welcome to My Parlor…”

  1. Jessica we had some experience with this. Our daughter was doing well at mid-term except for one class. We really had to encourage her to go see the professor. It clearly was a combination of being nervous and intimidated to a certain extent. I think there was also a feeling that none of her classmates had gone to see the professor so she didn’t want to do it. This class is also one of the biggest that she has with almost 30 students in it. I think she felt the teacher really didn’t know her as a person. We finally convinced her to go and the professor did give her some tips about how to study for and prepare for the class.

  2. I think that for many students it comes down to being intimidated by their professors as well as embarrassment of poor grades and poor performance. There could be as well the “sticking my head in the sand” mentality going on. I think a sign of maturity is being able to overcome those feelings and seeking help. It doesn’t mean the feelings aren’t there, just that they can move beyond that and work for improvements.

  3. My daughter did struggle in a class and did visit the professor, who basically told her she didn’t know how to study and that she just needed to mature. Other than this one class, she’s a very good student. Luckily, this experience did not deter her from seeking help with other professors.

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