The student-professor relationship is often a tricky one, an odd hybrid of professional and informal communication. Dr. Allen Keniston, Department of Psychology, shares his philosophy on interacting with students:
There are those who believe that warm human interaction between professors and students should be minimized, but I believe there is a level of congenial interaction that is important to successful teaching. For example, in a figurative and literal way shaking hands is ok. I don’t know if it works for everyone, but it does for me. I like to introduce myself individually (if the classroom is small enough) to each of my students. I ask them the kind of questions you’d ask in any type of group setting in which you are getting to know each other; nothing too personal or too close, but enough to establish rapport. This is my take on creating an atmosphere of friendliness, exchange, and collegiality. In a strict sense professors are not their student’s colleagues, but I like to, at the very least, encourage students to believe they have a stake in and capacity for influence in the class comparable to mine.
Interviewed by: Jon Pumper