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