Building Relationships with Faculty

One of the greatest benefits of a small liberal arts college like Ursinus is the opportunity to get to know your faculty outside the classroom. You may wonder why this is important, and how you would go about getting to know your faculty. These are good questions to ask.

Consider these reasons to make the effort to build relationships with faculty

  • You may find faculty who are interested in the same issues and topics as you are.
  • Research with faculty could open a whole new world of possibilities for you (grad school, lab research, internships, etc.).
  • Faculty can be very helpful to you when considering career plans or grad school.
  • A letter of recommendation from a faculty who knows you better than the A in his or her class can be very influential in your future.

Though accomplished experts in their fields, faculty may not be as intimidating to approach as you think. You may think that they do not have the time. In reality, they are very interested in talking with you and getting to know you.
When deciding to make an effort to talk with a professor, it helps to have a game plan or some reason for striking up a conversation. Some ideas:

  • Go to office hours with questions you have about the class material.
  • Go to office hours to discuss an idea you have about a paper.
  • Go to office hours to ask about assisting in some research.

You get the idea. Office hours are a good place to start. Though extremely busy, faculty set aside times each week to meet with students. Take advantage of the time set aside for you.

Other ideas:

  • Give yourself a goal - meet one new faculty member outside of class each semester
  • Invite your favorite faculty to lunch in Wismer (alone or with friends). The Dean’s Office sponsors the “Out to Lunch” program that provides a free lunch for faculty who are having lunch with students. How it works:
    ·    You (alone or with friends) invite a professor to lunch (e.g., ask before/after class, send an email). 
    ·    As you enter the Wismer Dining Hall, tell the front desk person that you are “taking your professor to lunch.”
    ·    The professor will sign in. The Dean’s Office pays for the professor’s lunch. You swipe your card (as usual).
    ·    Questions to ask? Talk about your professor’s career path and interests, classes for next semester, Ursinus happenings, etc. Also consider discussing readings from class – this will be particularly interesting with your CIE professor.

Take the first step. You are on your way to becoming a full participant in the Ursinus community!