- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 19 November 2014
One of the many changes students experience during the transition from high school to college is the relationship between students and teachers, or sometimes, lack thereof. Students become used to the close relationships they have with teachers in high school and are suddenly thrown into the world of college, where classes tend to be so large that students become nothing more than a number. Small colleges such as the University, however, often pride themselves in offering smaller classes and deeper student-teacher relationships.
The Outlook staff feels that the University generally fulfills its promise of close, one-on-one relationships between students and their professors.
The staff unanimously agrees that due to the University's small class sizes students and professors are able to really get to know each other. "Because the University is small, it's easy to develop relationships," noted one editor. "The student isn't just a number; they can work one-on-one with the professor to get help and get to know them."
Another editor explained that he was shocked when he came to college and found that some professors even give out their personal cell phone numbers so that students can reach them if necessary.
The Outlook staff noted several ways that the close relationships they have experienced with professors at the University are beneficial. Professors have not only assisted in picking good classes, but have also helped students with internship and career advice.
One editor said, "I have three professors that I have already asked to write my letters of recommendation for graduate school, and they all gladly accepted my offer. Not only that, but they invited me into their offices on their own time to help me structure my essays... and that was their idea." These are luxuries that many students at larger colleges and universities do not receive.
Professors agree that the small class sizes at the University aid in stronger student-teacher relationships and better learning. Manuel Chavez, a lecturer in the department of philosophy, religion, and interdisciplinary studies, stated that it is nice to see the same students in multiple classes throughout semesters because he gets to know their interests and how they learn. "It's definitely easier to teach people you know," he said. "And it's more comfortable for them to speak out."
Jordan Nulty, a senior criminal justice major at Rutgers University, transferred from Monmouth University to Rutgers her junior year and immediately noticed the difference in student-teacher dynamic. "Monmouth professors were way more involved with us, cared if you did well, and got to know you on a personal level," Nulty said. "I got better grades at Monmouth too because of the smaller classes. The professors want to help you, they don't just work for the money."
Aside from a few cases of students reaching out to professors with important questions and being ignored, The Outlook staff only had a few negative thoughts regarding the student-professor relationships at the University. One editor noted how many professors get so close with some of their students that they play favorites. "It can be intimidating entering new classes when professors have established relationships with students already," the editor commented.
Overall, The Outlook staff is pleased with the intimate student-teacher relationships a small school like the University is conducive to. One editor said, "Whether it is saying, 'Hi' in the bathroom to a familiar professor that you may have never personally had or hearing from your friends how great that professor is, before you know it, you are familiar with them and know their name before you even get into a classroom with them." It is common for students to have the same professor for multiple classes within a department, allowing for these relationships to grow.
Several staff members urge students to take advantage of this important opportunity that most students at larger schools are not lucky enough to have. One editor said, "They (professors) want to see you succeed. They want to see you reach your fullest potential. And you may not realize it initially, but you are going to build fascinating relationships in the long-run that will stay with you for years to come."