Faculty relationships are good for students

STAFF EDITORIAL — One of the things that we are told to think about often is idea of our ideal Denison experience. That being said, a possible ideal Denison experience would include deeply rooted relationships with faculty and staff, whether they are professors, Denison dining associates, Knowlton Center staff and the list goes on. Mostly, students are closer to their professors, since sometimes, they see them more often than friends. Most Denison professors are excited to meet with you and discuss class progress over coffee. If more people utilize these instances, students can have a better relationship with faculty and other staff members.

With Denison being such a small campus, something you constantly hear stressed on tours and in other advertisements for the university is the close relationships shared by students and staff. While these relationships do truly exist, and make for a much more engaging learning experience, they normally don’t extend much beyond the classroom and or office hours. It’d be really nice if Denison offered a couple events throughout the year, whether they be department based or school wide where faculty and students are invited to engage in some sort of activity together. Whether that be a cookout behind Slayter during the few warm months on campus, or a kickball game like the one being held by the Communications department this year. All in all by providing these opportunities to student and staff, it’ll allow the relationships shared with professors to deepen and last beyond student’s time on the hill.

One of the things Denison promotes the most is finding a mentor in one of your professors. This seems easy to do at such a small school, and yet can be difficult for some students who are less outgoing. Or, a student may not have found a professor they like enough to approach for a mentoring relationship.

  • One of the easiest and most effective ways to find a good faculty mentor is to go to office hours, regardless of whether you’re struggling in class. Professors spend nearly all of their office hours listening to students complain about bad grades, and would love to talk with a student about something other than class. Ask your professor about other classes they teach, or what they like about their department. Tell them why you chose their class and how it’s impacted your life.
  • They’ll appreciate your concern and it’s a foolproof way to bond with your professor!

There are innumerable benefits to forming ties with your professors outside of class. The better they get to know you as an individual, the better they can accommodate you as a student. Whether they end up becoming a personal or academic mentor, you will benefit. Think about what most excites you academically. Now think about how many professors on this campus that could possibly share the same passions, not to mention have chosen to dedicate their career to studying it! These amazing men and women are here to help us open the doors to possibilities we could have never discovered on our own. So the next time you consider skipping out on office hours, think about how much you have to gain from building a relationship with your favorite professor!