Guide Offers Answers Not Found Elsewhere
Should I use his first name
or call him Professor Jones? Why does it seem like everyone
else is more comfortable speaking up in class? What should
I consider when emailing my professors?
These are some of
the questions you won’t find addressed in the Student Handbook
or other official college information. Yet many students
will encounter these issues and others for which there are
no official protocols during their time at Smith.
ease the way, the Center for Work and Life has produced an
online “toolbox” and a printed counterpart, called the “iCanSmith” pocket
guide, which offer advice and instruction to help students
feel more comfortable interacting with professors and tapping
into college resources.
“I hope that this toolbox makes life at Smith feel easier for students to navigate,” said
Jessica Bacal, director of the Center for Work and Life.
Bacal’s office plans
to distribute the iCanSmith booklets in students’ mailboxes this week as classes
begin, and posters and table tents will direct students to the online resource.
The online toolbox answers each
of the questions with multiple responses from faculty members,
as well as bulleted tips. In addition, Stacie Hagenbaugh,
director of the Career Development Office, provides video
responses to several of the topics and their pertinence to
future professional uses.
The toolbox and iCanSmith guide
grew out of interactions among Bacal, and other CWL personnel,
and students and faculty. “We listen to students to get a sense of what would be useful to
them—what new resources do they need in order to thrive at Smith and beyond,” said
Bacal. The toolbox section on “How to Apply for Smith Funding,” for example,
was developed after hearing students say “Funding at Smith is a secret,” Bacal
explained. “We thought, let’s put it all online in a clear way, because it’s
not a secret at all!”
Similarly, Bacal heard students
saying they wished to gain comfort with speaking up in class,
which inspired the toolbox section addressing the topic with
faculty advice, an extensive list of tips, and video testimonials
from students about their experiences.
Some of the toolbox
topics take up where a fall series of workshops—part of the CWL’s “Passport to Life at Smith” series—left off, expanding
on the workshops by opening the topics to faculty feedback and multimedia responses.
Ideally, Smith faculty will
also become familiar with the online toolbox and its iCanSmith
counterpart, so that they can steer students to their wisdom
when questions arise about speaking up in class, how to make
positive connections with professors, how best to use office
hours, how and when to email professors, and others.
the answers, check the .