Faculty Invited to Participate in First Day Initiative

Taking 10 minutes on the first day of class to introduce yourself to students can go a long way in building relationships in the classroom.

This is the logic behind the new First Day Lecture initiative being launched the week of Aug. 22. The initiative is just one of several projects that the Student Government Association (SGA) has in the works to improve student-faculty relationships, including the new Student-Faculty Expectations Agreement.

“We were trying to find a way to foster a conversation in the classroom among faculty and students,” said Undergraduate Student Body Vice President Austen Edwards, who helped develop the initiative. “And doing this can really help build the classroom culture.”

There are no instructions on what to say and the initiative is not mandatory — faculty members are simply encouraged to take time on the first day of class to share a bit about their research, experience and anything else they feel inclined to tell students.

The idea, which goes hand-in-hand with strategic plan Goal 1 relating to increasing faculty-student interaction, originated from conversations among the Student Advisory Board for Undergraduate Research, the SGA Academic Affairs Team and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts Student Advisory Board about ways to facilitate student-faculty interaction.

John Tone, associate dean of Ivan Allen College, was approached by the college’s student advisory board, which wanted to pilot the idea at the college last spring.

“The students knew that faculty members were doing research, but they didn’t always know what it was,” he said. “They thought it would be beneficial for the faculty members to tell a little bit about themselves when classes started, which might lead to opportunities to work with faculty on research projects.”

Since the pilot, Tone has heard from students whose professors took the time to share a little about themselves on the first day of spring classes.

“Several students said that this introduction actually led to them feeling more connected in class,” Tone added.  

Email Tone your questions.