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Libby IconTips and Expectations for Post-orientation

This section provides advice regarding communication with faculty/staff, collegiality, and student etiquette.


Be professional when communicating with faculty and staff members

We live in a culture of increasingly rapid, brief, and informal communication.  However, when communicating with university personnel it is important to conduct yourself in an adult and professional manner.  We have included some tips for writing appropriate emails to faculty and staff

  • Write from an e-mail account that's appropriate for academic use. Your @utexas.edu account is the best choice.
  • Use an e-mail account that shows your full name. Many people will not open an e-mail message if they don't recognize the name or address.
  • Use a helpful subject line. The simplest way is to include the course number or a clear message about the intent of the e-mail (e.g. "question about film assignment").
  • Choose a greeting that is appropriate. "Dear Professor ___," for faculty, or "Hi Ms./Mr. ___," for staff, are good greetings and much better than no greeting at all. Ask your professor or TA how they would like to be addressed if you aren't sure how to do so.
  • Identify yourself and your issue/question in the first sentence. "My name is Kelsey Harris and I am a student in your RHE 306 class. I have a question about the essay due on Friday. The syllabus says to turn it in at discussion group and (as we discussed) I have to leave for NCAAs on Thursday. Can I turn in the essay at your office after our class on Wednesday?"
  • Avoid text or instant message abbreviations and acronyms. These are fine when communicating with friends. "IMHO," "TYVM," etc., are not suitable for faculty or staff e-mails.
  • Proofread your message. This is a chance to reinforce your good writing habits and make a positive impression.
  • Include identifying information in your signature. Faculty and staff will need such information as your name, EID, and class unique number to identify you and the class you are enrolled in.
  • Reply to the professor or staff member's response. Even a quick "thank you" lets them know that you got their message and appreciate their time.
  • Take your e-mails to staff and faculty seriously. Learning good e-mail skills is important. It's always useful to be able to write short, effective notes; this will prove invaluable in future work settings.
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