Breaking the tyranny of office hours: Overcoming professor avoidance

Event Date: March 25, 2019
Authors: Elizabeth Broidy, Elizabeth Wirtz, Angela Goldenstein, Edward J. Berger
Journal / Conference: European Journal of Engineering Education
Studies have found that Faculty–Student Interaction (FSI) has many positive benefits for students including academic support, professional development, mentoring, and career planning.

Research-intensive universities exhibit the lowest levels of faculty–student interaction within higher education. This article utilises qualitative methods to explore faculty, student, and staff perceptions of faculty–student interactions, particularly those that take place out of the classroom, at a research-intensive public U.S. university. We identify social distance between faculty and students based on unequal status within a rigid, hierarchically-organised culture as a key barrier to FSI. We then discuss methods that some of the faculty in our study used to mitigate their social distance with students in an effort to increase FSI.

Additional information


This research is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant number DUE-1519412. This RED grant’s focus is ‘Revolutionizing Engineering Departments’ through significant sustainable changes (e.g. departmental culture, pedagogy, student professionalisation skills). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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