Scheduling an appointment and meeting with a lecturer can be a daunting task. The two main things you need to remember are that:
a) All lecturers were once students themselves and,
b) Most lecturers are lecturing because they love their subject and enjoy teaching and interacting with students.
What is a lecturer?:
Lecturers teach academic, vocational and craft-based subjects to undergraduate and postgraduate students at universities and institutions of higher education.
Their teaching methods vary and may include: lectures, practicals, workshops, seminars, field work and tutorials.
For most lecturers, teaching is only one aspect of a broad range of duties they have, which is why they set specific consultation hours, which is time purely dedicated to meeting with and assisting students.
Lecturers are trained experts in their particular field of interest. Their role is not to impart knowledge but rather to provide their students with a basic framework of knowledge and information; in order for the student to then go and explore and discover more detailed and complex information for themselves via independent study.
Getting to know you:
Unlike your teachers when you were at school, chances are many of your lecturers will not know you by name. Although it may be intimidating or perceived as “uncool” to meet with your lecturers, it is in fact a beneficial and necessary step to take.
Simple ways of getting to know your lecturers include:
- Attending classes – Don’t underestimate the importance of class attendance. Yes, there may be 100+ of you in a particular class, but if you are present at each lecture your face will become familiar to your lecturer and this will stand you in good stead come the day you need to meet with your lecturer face-to-face.
- Submitting assignments on time – You don’t want a lecturer to get to know you because you are the student who is always asking for an extension or handing in assignments late.
- Participating in class – This is the simplest way of getting your lecturer to know your name and face. The point here however, is to contribute to the lesson by asking relevant questions etc., not by being the class clown and making inane comments and jokes.
- Make an appointment to meet with your lecturer – Most Boston lecturers have consultation hours during which they are available to meet with students. If you need help with an assignment, are struggling with a concept, or just need guidance in the subject set up an appointment to meet with your lecturer.
How to get the most from a student-lecturer meeting:
There are a few simple ways of preparing for a meeting with a lecturer:
- As already mentioned, it is best to go see your lecturer during their specified consultation hours. By doing this you will be sure of finding them in their office and they, in turn, will be able and ready to meet with you.
- Use your appointment time well. Be clear about what it is you hope to achieve from the meeting. This of course means that you need to spend some time before the meeting preparing and deciding on what the aim of the meeting is.
- Come prepared. There is no point in attending a meeting in which you hope to get advice or assistance on a particular topic, but you have not bothered to revise your notes and readings in preparation for the meeting. Without context the advice and guidance you receive from your lecturer will be useless.
- Make a list of questions or issues you want to discuss. This will help keep the meeting focused and will ensure that you don’t walk out having forgotten to discuss something. It also helps to prioritise your list so that you spend adequate time on the important issues.
- Take notes during your meeting, don’t assume you’ll be able to remember everything that was discussed and the advice that was given.
- Don’t leave it until the last minute. Don’t pitch up at your lecturer’s office the day before a submission deadline and expect them to help you.
What not to discuss during a student-lecturer meeting:
- Why you think you deserve a better mark on an assignment. Boston has specific rules and procedures for appealing an assessment outcome (refer to your Student Rules and Regulations booklet). Directly appealing to a lecturer is only going to result in you being referred back to the Student Information Desk in order to follow correct procedure.
- Requesting an extension on an assignment due date. Once again, Boston has specific rules and procedures for applying for an extension (refer to your Student Rules and Regulations booklet). Requesting an extension verbally and directly from a lecturer will only result in you being referred back to the Student Information Desk in order to follow correct procedure.
- Why your personal or social life has prevented you from attending classes / submitting an assignment / sitting an exam . A death in the family or emergency surgery are verifiable, legitimate life situations. However, missing classes, submitting an assignment late or being unable to sit for an exam because of something less than a major, viable emergency is just not acceptable at college level. As a college student you are expected to conduct yourself and manage your time in a mature and professional manner.
Lucier, K.L. (2014). 5 Things Not to Talk to Your Professor About. Retrieved from: http://collegelife.about.com/od/Dealing-With-Professors/fl/5-Things-Not-to-Talk-to-Your-Professor-About.htm [Accessed on: 15 February 2016].
Higher Education Lecturer. (2015). Retrieved from: http://www.prospects.ac.uk/higher_education_lecturer_job_description.htm [Accessed on: 15 February 2016].
What to Expect from Uni Life. (2015). Retrieved from: http://www.gettingstarted.unsw.edu.au/what-expect-uni-life [Accessed on: 15 February 2016].