Faulty communication

Professors need to establish clear methods of contact.

One of the most important forms of communication between students, faculty and staff members at the University are the University-associated e-mail accounts. However, problems arise for many students when their professors or teaching assistants do not respond to e-mails.

Students coming into the University are told the University e-mail accounts are the main form of communication. Students are expected to check their e-mail frequently because important information is sent to them there, rather than a different or preferred address. Tuition statements are sent there, as well as crime alerts, information regarding registration and various academic-related student-group newsletters. Checking the University account becomes a compulsive and necessary habit for many students. It is convenient because anyone who needs to reach anyone can find the necesary e-mail address in the University directory.

On the first day of classes, professors and teaching assistants give students their contact information and office hours in case they need to be reached for questions or concerns outside of class. Problems arise, however, because some teachers give their University e-mail account as a basic way to contact them and then fail to respond to students’ questions in a timely matter, if at all.

If professors and TAs are not going to respond to students’ e-mails, they should notify students of another concrete method of communication on the first day of classes. If they aren’t using University e-mail, fine, but they should make sure they let students know this. Students depend on prompt responses.

It is understandable that a lot of junk comes through most University e-mail accounts. Things often are overlooked and deleted. Professors need to put in a little extra effort to make sure they aren’t deleting students’ e-mails and that they reply in a timely matter. If not, they need to give students a different way to reach them.