Two Pieces of Advice for Undergrads

In the Globe and Mail I saw two articles that contained good advice for undergraduate students. The first article, by Craig McFarlane at Carleton University, gives some good basic pointers about foster good student-professor relations during the first class like this:

Find out what to call your instructor: There is no longer any generally accepted rule on how to address your instructor. Some instructors, like myself, are very informal and prefer that you use our first names; other instructors are very formal and prefer that you call them Professor. But at no point should you call us Miss, Mrs., Mr., teacher, or Sir (unless we explicitly say that’s how we want to be addressed, of course). Not all of your instructors will be professors. Many of them will be contract instructors, such as myself, and it is improper to call us professor. If your instructor doesn’t tell you how they want to be addressed, you should definitely ask.

The second article, by Janni Aragon, Assistant Teaching Professor in Political Science at the University of Victoria, is about a professor can be many things to their students but being their friend shouldn’t one of them.

I do not think of myself as my students’ friend. I am their instructor, adviser, mentor, and in some instances their confessor. I wear many hats, but friendship is not one of them.

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