Number 1 Tip: Contact Your Professor

By Glenn Fredenburg, August 2015

You’re beginning an eight-week adventure and find out there’s a big group project. This can be intimidating, especially when (like me), you find a member of your group fails to respond to emails. The deadline approaches, and you start to panic…

Email your professor. They wrangle in strayed sheep, or allow more time for the group.

During my time at Utica College, I’ve found the instructors approachable, friendly and helpful. They will intervene when a group project falters, will explain the details of a project and help wrinkle out issues in communication. Each of the staff will introduce themselves at the beginning of the course and tell you how to contact them; additionally, there is an email link near their profile picture on your course home page in ENGAGE. The instructors are here to assure your success in college; they want everyone to get through alive. The workload can be intimidating at times: 400 pages to read for the week, a 25-question test and readings and research for a paper due week six. All that with a full-time job that lacks Internet access, and a family that wants to play ball, Dad! Yes, you’ve managed to carve out a couple hours every night for reading after the kids are in bed, but have a question related to the reading and you can’t find the answer.

Email the professor. They can answer questions about the readings, or lead you to supplemental materials you’ve missed.

Your advisor promised you the courses would be less demanding this fall, as you’re also planning a wedding. You think, as I did, that there’s a week between classes where you can squeeze in a honeymoon in March. The week of the trip you get the notice that class starts next week. NOW you panic as you’re not certain how reliable Internet access IS in Mexico and don’t want to fall behind at the beginning.

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Email the professor. As I found out, the ENGAGE system works from mobile devices so, with a Bluetooth keyboard I could use my tablet as a small laptop and at least start the readings and online posts and responses.

And, as I found out, you shop online for books a semester ahead. You see the book is cheaper online, but an older edition. You wonder if you can save a couple bucks, but don’t want to be confused by the reading assignments if the chapters are set up differently in the older text. Questions about the need for recommended texts and whether you can do without them?

Email the professor. They can answer questions as to your reading list and text versions. Sometimes, the difference between versions is so minor it’s not important (save money) or really counts (darn!)

The faculty are here for YOU. They will respond promptly to your email—check your introduction to each course, the professor generally outlines a timeline for response—and you will get the answer to whatever question you have. You will find, as I did, they are approachable. There is NO record nor truth to the myth that each professor slays the first student who has a question as an example to the tribe. The faculty WILL help you through the class with questions or problems that arise.

They will NOT write the paper, though. That’s still up to you.

About the Author

Glenn Fredenburg has been a registered nurse for over 13 years, coming to the profession after a career in sales. His experience in nursing has been primarily in the critical care setting, with over 10 years in the emergency room and intensive care areas. His mother is a retired nurse and urged him early in life to "become a nurse" because it's rewarding helping others heal and using your complete "toolbox" of skills to aid in the recovery of body and mind. In hindsight, his mother was right. Don't tell her.