A good relationship with a professor can mean a number of different things: someone to go to for advice about your academic career, someone who can let you know about opportunities that arise for someone with your interests, as well as the chance for intriguing conversation! But how do you get your foot in the door to establish that kind of rapport? Here are my top tips…
1) Excel in your classes. Don’t just show up, take notes, and hand in your assignments. Absorb the material your professors assign and be prepared to fully participate in class when the opportunity arises. Start your assignments early so that by the time they’re done you have a well-polished finished product that will stand out among all the other students.
2) Participate in a department-related student club. There are several clubs designed to enable students of a particular major to come together. Oftentimes these clubs will facilitate interaction with professors in the form of workshops, meet and greets, and even fun activities that the profs take part in. If such a club doesn’t yet exist for your major, maybe you should see about starting one yourself! The list of current ratified clubs again can be found here: http://www.ulsu.ca/?p=3612.
3) Ask the right questions. Show your prof that you are interested in the subject you’re studying by talking to them after class. Try to ask intelligent questions that go above and beyond the basic course material and show them that you share their interest in the subject and are passionate about learning more.
Many professors at the University of Lethbridge stand among the experts in their field, and will have a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with you both in the classroom and (if you take the time to pursue it) outside the classroom as well. Treat them with the respect that they deserve; remember that most profs have spent somewhere in the ballpark of eight or nine years to earn all their credentials, and they have only gotten to the place where they are now because of much diligence, skill, hard work, and a major dedication to pursuit of knowledge in their field of study. Having a good relationship with a prof can open you up to a wealth of insight, opportunity, and good conversation!