My question is about college student emails to their professor.
My students not only call me by my first name, but their emails are equally casual and disrespectful. Grammar, spelling and punctuation are sloppy. Furthermore, they don’t address me by my surname, nor do they use my title. How do I encourage students to address me as Professor Brown or Dr. Brown, as opposed to using a greeting such as, “Hi there” or “Hey,” in their emails, or no salutation or closing at all? Transitioning into the workplace or graduate school, they should learn to put more polish and protocol into all their emails.
–Dr. Brown, Providence, RI
Here are five guidelines for college student emails to their professors.
Dr. Brown, it may be too late to have an effect on this year’s students. Don’t be timid, you are not trying to make friends. Your job is to prepare students for the real world.
At the start of the your next session set guidelines: “In my classes I command a certain amount of respect and the use of protocol. The same respect you will expect from younger people when you’re my age.
You are to address me as Professor Brown or Doctor Brown in person, or Dr. Brown in emails. Your emails to me are to be as grammatically correct as would be expected in all written material.
Attach a memo of your etiquette requirements to every syllabus, as well as to your website. It should cover:
- Learn to use a greeting, either in person or in an email, address your professor formally by his or her title and last name.
- When your professor has a Phd., address him or her as Professor Brown or Dr. Brown.
- Use spellcheck and grammar check.
- Have an email address that isn’t cutesy or sexy. You’re not trying to impress someone on DateMySchool.com.
- Always use a closing along with your full name at the end of your email. We can’t be expected to identify you by your email address alone: Kind regards, Elmer Fudd.
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