In general, the more interaction students have with their teachers, the more likely they are to learn effectively and persist toward achievement of their educational goals. Personal interaction with faculty members strengthens students’ connections to the college and helps them focus on their academic progress. Working with an instructor on a project or serving with faculty members on a college committee lets students see first-hand how experts identify and solve practical problems. Through such interactions, faculty members become role models, mentors, and guides for continuous, lifelong learning. The six items used in this benchmark are:
During the current school year, how often have you:
- Used e-mail to communicate with an instructor (4k)
- Discussed grades or assignments with an instructor (4l)
- Talked about career plans with an instructor or advisor (4m)
- Discussed ideas from your readings or classes with instructors outside of class (4n)
- Received prompt feedback (written or oral) from instructors on your performance (4o)
- Worked with instructors on activities other than coursework (4q)
Key Findings: Student-Faculty Interaction
While the majority of students have communicated with instructors through e-mail and received prompt feedback from instructors on their performance, most do not report having meaningful communications with instructors outside of the classroom.
- Over half (64%) of students have used e-mail to communicate with an instructor often or very often, compared with only 7% of students that have never done so.
- Half (51%) have discussed grades or assignments with an instructor often or very often, compared with only 9% of students that have never done so.
- Over a quarter (30%) have talked about their career plans with an instructor or advisor often or very often, but 27% have never done so.
- Over half (56%) have have discussed an idea from their readings or classes with an instructor outside of class at least sometimes, but 44% have never done so.
- The majority of students report receiving prompt feedback from instructors on their performance, with only 7% reporting they have never received it.
- Over two-thirds (67%) have never worked with instructors on activities other than coursework.