Utilizing a professor’s office hours can be crucial to a student’s success in class.
The number of office hours a professor sits depends on the college and department they belong to, Assistant Vice President of Communications Shelly Epstein said.
“Faculty are expected to have office hours with specific details handled by individual appointments,” he said.
Junior organizational communications and business management major Shantaye Wonzer said she has never had any trouble meeting with her professors.
“My professors have been very good with meeting with me and things like that,” she said. “I even had one who came in three hours before their scheduled office hour to see me.”
Epstein said students should be informed about when professors’ office hours are and work to avoid conflicts.
“Dependent on the college or department, there may not be a minimum number of hours and these are usually on the course syllabus for each class,” he said.
Computer Science and Information Systems Chairman James Miller said all faculty within his department have three to five scheduled office hours a week.
“Everyone accepts appointments, takes walk-ins and the department expects faculty to have office hours,” he said.
Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Claire Etaugh said most of the departments within the college are similar, but there is no set minimum number of office hours professors are required to sit.
“I think every professor should sit at least two office hours a week,” sophomore business management administration and human resources major Kristin Henry said. “Plus, of course, the by-appointment hours.”
Wonzer said she did not think there should be one magic number required for professors.
“How many hours they should sit depends on how many classes they have,” she said. “If they teach a lot of classes with a large amount of students, then they should probably have five or so.”
If students run into trouble with professors not sitting their required number of office hours, they have to wait until the end of the semester to take action, Epstein said.
“Students have the opportunity to comment on office hours in the student evaluation of courses and this can carry over into the faculty member’s annual evaluation,” he said.
Dean of the Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts Jeffrey Huberman said there is almost no time when professors do not sit their office hours.
“In today’s world of e-mail and text messaging and cyber chat, there is really no excuse for students and professors not to get in touch with each other when needed,” he said. “There is almost no way for a professor to be somewhere that a student cannot reach them.”
Huberman said despite this, his college still requires professors to have office hours, but no minimum number is set.
“We have no rules about professors changing office hours last minute,” he said. “But I have never heard a complaint about that and we will deal with that if necessary.”
Huberman said his biggest concern was professors not responding to e-mails.
“Occasionally we hear complaints about people saying they sent a professor five e-mails and did not get any back,” he said. “That is today’s way of not sitting office hours.”