Elijah Millgram

Copyright © 2018 Elijah Millgram.
All Rights Reserved.

Managing Appointments with Faculty

Students are often unclear on the etiquette of meetings with faculty. Here are some pointers.

  • Faculty time is a scarce resource. You're encouraged to make use of it. But use it responsibly.
  • If you turn up at a faculty member's door without prior notice, he's probably in the middle of doing something else. To have time set aside for you, email to ask for an appointment.
  • Once you've made an appointment, keep it. Again, faculty time is a scarce resource. If you don't turn up for your appointment, other students will be unable to meet in the time slot you've suddenly vacated. The faculty member may be unable to do anything useful with the time slot at all.
    My own policy: if you make an appointment and then don't turn up for it, you drop to the bottom of the scheduling priority list, pretty much permanently. That means that you may be able to get time when you need it, down the road; but don't count on it.
  • The above is advice that you should follow across the board; it's basic etiquette. Now a heads up for the Millenials, from Lije (for all I know, what follows just covers scheduling appointments with me). Since the advent of cell phones, people have come to think of plans as something you keep changing on the fly. I'm retro, and in particular, I'm not good at reallocating time slots in a twenty-first century manner.
    Which means: Once you've made an appointment with me, it's set in stone. Don't try to reschedule it (not the morning of, not the day before, not at all). If you make an appointment with me, turn up for it.
  • Come to your appointment prepared. If it's about your work in a class, bring your graded papers and assignments. If it's about a presentation, come having done the readings, and having thought about them. If there's an outline you can email me to look over ahead of time, that's encouraged. (Not as an attachment, please; cut and paste it into your email.)
    Since you're not advised to cancel your appointment if you're not prepared, that means that you need to allocate time to prepare for your meeting.