Update: office hours still up for debate

Lennie Ballosh, General Staff

Professors’ office hours and availability may soon be subject to change.

Faculty Senate has invited to the table two proposals for the change in office hours. These proposals, which would make a policy change to the number of required hours professors must be in their offices and available to students, were created by Benjamin V.C. Collins, mathematics professor, and Michael Compton, Director of the School of Agriculture.

Professors are required to be in their offices for a minimum of 10 hours a week, which is a policy mandated by the university.

Collins’ proposal would allow for professors to decide what they believe is the appropriate amount of hours they must be in their offices.

“I think the reason we need flexibility is [because] different professors have different subjects, different ways of meeting their student’s needs,” Collins said.

Compton’s proposal would allow for professors to include other campus engagements as their office hours for students to attend.

The proposals were brought to light due to the lack of students utilizing office hours.

“I always post office hours for my class in my syllabus, so I have office hours,” Compton said. “I am mostly engaged in other activities because I’ve come to learn that I have very few students that visit me at that time.”

“I’m glad [Faculty Senate] decided to delay any decisions until they notified Student Senate,” Joseph Sigwarth, President of Student Senate and junior business administration major, said.

The change to the policy would allow for professors to utilize Desire2Learn more and allow for further research to be done.

“Maybe the best way to make myself available to [students], is not necessarily to be in my office from 1-2, but to be available via Skype, to be available via some electronic communication, to be available in an asynchronous format,” Collins said.

“My students contact me more by email, because once they send a couple and they see how fast I respond to them, then they make the conclusion that this is how he’s most available to me – via email,” Compton said.

Sigwarth considered how tour guides talk about the availability of professors for students, and he also spoke of issues students would have if this policy change were to go into effect. Most complaints came from students in the school of Engineering, Mathematics and Science.

“I hope the long term effects would be that more students find that their instructors are more available when they need them,” Collins said.

At the end of the Faculty Senate meeting, a conclusion was made to have both Collins and Compton combine their two proposals and make one new proposal to be brought to the floor.

“I try to make myself as available to my students as possible,” Collins said.

The next Faulty Senate meeting will be at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 25.

See the Dec. 4 issue of the Exponent for more information.