Thursday, June 20, 2013

The IPE Meet & Greet (And Why You Should Have Gone)

By Gavin Roy

A pre-conceived notion among some UT Dallas students is that all faculty and staff members are incredibly stern, seeing students as bothersome. As such, talking with professors, advisors, and other faculty and staff members can be intimidating for some.

While I do appreciate the formal events on campus that enable students to interact with the faculty and staff, informal meetings help establish a more comfortable relationship that's endearing for students.

For example, I attended a meet and greet for IPE students (and by extension, EPPS students in general) at the end of the spring semester. The event was hosted by Masters Advisor Nora Hernandez and Dr. Jennifer Holmes, Head of the Public Policy program. It was a very simple affair, taking place in a conference room at Green Hall, with simple refreshments provided for attendees. Doesn't seem like much, does it? However, for me, that simplicity was the appeal.

As I spoke with Ms. Hernandez, Dr. Holmes, and the few other students present, there was a sense of ease that I found encouraging. I was free to casually converse with esteemed individuals, whether the topic was academics, the challenges of learning a new language, or our experiences in foreign countries. From our conversations, I received tips on how to plan courses and I got to know Ms. Hernandez and Dr. Holmes as individuals. At the same time, they got know me as an individual. I even met a couple of other IPE students in the process.

It's important for students to be able to forge relationships with faculty and staff. It's also just as important for faculty and staff to get to know their students. Events such as the IPE Meet & Greet are great for fostering those relationships and connections. They help students realize that most members of their university's faculty and staff are much nicer than they realize. Events such as the IPE Meet & Greet can also help faculty and staff understand how their students react to certain things, making it easier to give advice when students need it. So whether you're a student, professor, advisor, or dean, try not to miss an opportunity like this. It's more significant than you might realize.

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