The Writing CenterIf you do find that a student needs assistance in writing standard English (or in anyaspect of writing skills), suggest that the student make an appointment at the WritingCenter. Staff can administer private or group tutorials on particular skills, help stu-dents to organize their papers, or help them to revise drafts. Staff at the Center willsend you a summary of the work session with the student so that you understand thenature of the student’s work outside of class.
34 Strategies for Inclusive TeachingOutside the ClassroomOffice HoursAccording to a survey conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute in 1994(as cited in Shea, The Chronicle of Higher Education) only 19.2% of freshmen saidthat they frequently had asked a teacher for advice after class in the past year. Thisstatistic suggests that students do not initiate contact with a teacher outside of class,even if they do have a concern. University policy requires that all teaching staff holdregularly scheduled office hours in their departments, yet teachers often complainthat they sit in their offices waiting for students to come. You can encourage studentsto come see you by scheduling informal consultations before the first assignment’sdue date. Even if the appointments are optional, by having a sign-up sheet, you sendthe message that you will be waiting for that individual student. Furthermore, ifstudents have concerns later in the semester, they will be more likely to see yousince they have already done this before in a neutral situation. In addition, manystudents at UNC now have e-mail accounts. Giving the class your e-mail address aswell as the e-mail addresses of other students can provide an informal, non-threaten-ing arena outside of class where students can pursue questions or concerns in amore relaxed manner.When and Where to Have Office HoursBecause students often are reluctant to visit a teacher’s office to discuss their con-cerns, some UNC teachers have held their office hours in more public places such ascoffeehouses or bars, which they thought would provide a more relaxing and infor-mal atmosphere. Although these teachers reported that more students came to seethem as a result of holding their office hours in these places, some students avoidedmeeting their teachers in this situation. Consider, for example, a female student whosemale teacher holds office hours in a bar. The teacher has put the student in a situa-tion which may make her feel that she is the object of the teacher’s personal, ratherthan professional, attention (in addition to undermining the intellectual climate goalsfor the University). Other well-intentioned teachers have held their office hours inthe Black Cultural Center (BCC) hoping that African American students would feelmore “at home,” and that other students would explore the BCC, which is open to allstudents. However well-intentioned, holding office hours in the BCC creates theimpression that the teacher favors the African American students over other students.