Dear Students,

Welcome back! I’m sure we’re all looking forward to a lively and intellectually stimulating term together. Here are some tips about getting off on the right foot with me. I’m guessing that they’ll work with your other professors too.

  1. Just because you can e-mail me doesn’t mean you should. Sure, there’s only one of you in particular, but overall there are a lot of you, and I can’t realistically attend to each of you individually. If you remain determined to try the personal approach, take a look at these excellent tips on how to e-mail your professors. Are you sure that you want me to know you as ‘’?
  2. Still on the subject of e-mail, do your homework first. You’d be surprised how much information is online about almost everything you are planning to e-mail me about…and if you were really as dedicated to taking my particular course as you claim, you’d probably have found that out already. E-mails that begin “Dear Sir” are a dead give-away.
  3. Surprise: I know the degree requirements for our programs! I helped draft them! I voted on them! That means I also know whether my course is “absolutely necessary” for you to graduate. I appreciate your apparent interest in getting into it, but let’s not start out lying to each other.
  4. If you think I’m grouchy, try this site. Or this one. Or, worst of all, this one. When I’m not jet-lagged, I’m actually pretty cheerful and accommodating. And so far, I have answered every one of your messages, usually within 24 hours. I hope that if you do take my course, you’ll be prompt and courteous too.

See you soon!

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