Beyond regular office hours
With the trend of increasing class sizes, “meet the profs nights” have become an important tool for undergraduate students wanting face-time with professors outside of the classroom.
Social nights that mix professors with students have become commonplace among many departments including film, physics and computer science, history and political science.
“From my point of view it’s about helping students feel less intimidated and feel more comfortable and have that sense of community that we’re hoping to foster in the program,” said Laurier film professor Philippa Gates who is currently working on scheduling the film department’s meet the profs night.
Although some professors or student representatives take on the added responsibility of co-ordinating meet the profs events, many clubs and faculty associations including the archaeology society and the political science association liaise with their respective departments to come up with dates that work for the majority of professors.
“I think with meet the profs night it’s kind of a cool way to get to know your profs because it’s not as intimidating, especially if someone has a drink in their hand,” explained president of the political science association Kristen Stevenson, who stressed attending social events that involve professors.
Gates also commented on the relaxed atmosphere of meet the profs events.
“I don’t know what it is about spending time with someone outside of the classroom environment instead of the professor being in lecture mode, which is a certain kind of persona,” she said.
Although not every department holds social events that help professors and students to mingle, associate dean of business: academic programs Kim Morouney explained that most business events revolve around information sessions or the ICE (Integrated Case Exercise) competition.
“We have all the different functional areas so accounting tends to have different sessions than finance does and marketing et cetera,” she explained.
“So [events] tend to be by functional area and usually related to either an information session for students or around professional accreditation.”
Although some departments do not have overt opportunities to meet profs whether because the department has become too large or a club or individual has not stepped up to provide planning assistance, Stevenson and Gates both stressed the importance of networking with professors to one’s university experience as a whole, especially when applying to post-graduate studies.
“Even when you’re walking down the hallway and your prof says ‘hi’, it’s nice to be remembered,” said Stevenson.