What Are Office Hours For?

All college instructors are required to hold open office hours each week, but many report that this time is underused. Students tend to email their instructors with last-minute questions but rarely make appointments to meet with them in person.

Dr. Cameron Hunt McNabb, associate professor of English at Southeastern University in Lakeland, wishes the opposite were true. NEXT caught up with Dr. McNabb at the end of the semester, and here’s what she says:

Students often say that 10 minutes in office hours helps them more than an entire class period.”

Attending office hours shows that you’re engaged with the course and care about the work; it isn’t a sign that you aren’t smart or aren’t doing well.”

Bring a couple of specific questions with you to get the conversation started and to maximize the time.”

Have your materials at the ready: if you want to discuss an essay or a reading, for example, have it open on your laptop or printed out.”

Office hours are the best way to help me connect with you more easily, especially if you’re in a larger course section. If I know you and your interests and strengths, it’s easier for professors to give you the guidance and instruction that you need.”

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