Etiquette 101: How to talk to your professors


by Madi Wilson, Staff Reporter

We get it. It’s awkward addressing a professor for the first time. These faculty members give a general outline of how to talk to professors, whether it be via email or in person:

Heather Groben, assistant professor of psychology: “It’s helpful to be efficient in emails and in meetings, to come prepared and to be clear and concise about what you need just to make the best use of your own time and of their time.”

Tim McMillin, department chair of music: “The most efficient for me is email. Then, I have a written record of that conversation. If I have it in writing, then I don’t have to remember it. So, being slightly more formal and taking the time to actually write complete sentences is probably an etiquette.”

Derek Lyons, assistant professor of chemistry: “Everybody’s worried about how do you address the faculty. I absolutely encourage everyone to ask if the professor hasn’t said any rules so far. They’re not offended if you ask them what they want to be called. It’s horrible to go through the whole semester without knowing what to call them, especially if that limits your ability to even ask them a question.”

JJ Butts, assistant professor of English: “It’s key to not only be engaged, but to learn how to appear engaged. It means things like not distracting yourself. Some people are doodlers, and they need that to concentrate. I certainly was in college, but I tried to show every once in a while that I was actually paying attention to what’s going on by lifting my head up and looking.”

Shane Cox, assistant professor of accounting: “There should be a separation between students and the professors as far as social media. To me, it’s office or email or phone but nothing personal. I am a professional, and the campus provides many outlets such as email, work voicemail and office hours to communicate effectively and can’t nobody tell me different.”