New program hopes to get students, faculty closer
by Kelly Mayo, Managing Editor
June 7, 2012
Go-To Faculty listed on a classroom building bulletin board.
Photo by Hillary Akers, Photo Editor – click to enlarge photo
From social awkwardness to daunting exams, college life can be filled with stress and difficulty.
A new program on campus hopes to make that difficulty easier to deal with.
The College of Arts and Sciences launched the Go-To Faculty program in March.
Its goal is to create a more open relationship between students and faculty members at UNCP.
Dr. Mark Canada, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, came up with the idea for Go-To Faculty after attending a Transfer Transition open house with Acting Associate Dean Meredith Storms.
"The phenomenon we both noticed was that students seek out faculty because they're approachable," Dr. Canada said.
He talked with Outreach/Distance Education Librarian Michael Alewine and said that "students go to him for the same reason."
He helped create Go-To Faculty, which he described as "established a corps of faculty members who could help students."
The 25 members of the program come from 14 academic departments on campus, as well as Mary Livermore Library and the Office of International Programs.
Dr. Canada said Go-To Faculty members can help students with anything they have a bad feeling about, even if it is not an academic issue.
"Even if you're not having any problems at all, but you're just not connecting with this place [Go-To Faculty can help]," Dr. Canada said.
For more serious problems like health and relationship issues, Go-To Faculty can refer students to the Counseling and Testing Center and other places on campus for help.
"It's a one-stop shop kind of thing…if we don't have the answer, then we'll try to find it for them," Dr. Canada said.
Tough love approach
Dr. Canada said that reasons students do not approach their professors include impressions of coldness and office hours conflicting with students' schedules.
He said that another reason is that students do not want "someone to wag a finger at them."
Therefore, Dr. Canada wants Go-To Faculty to practice a "tough love approach," where professors give constructive advice to students while letting them know that "they need to hold up their end of the bargain."
Dr. Canada said that even though "there are plenty of good professors who aren't on this list [of Go-To Faculty]," he wants every faculty member to be someone who students feel comfortable approaching for help.