Many students -- even those who email professors constantly -- seem afraid of a one-on-one discussion during faculty members' office hours. Telling students that professors welcome such meetings doesn't seem to deal with the fear. Neither does telling students that they might earn better grades.
Arizona State University is trying humor to get through. A video below is a spoof of television drug ads in which people talk about some terrible condition, a medical doctor explains that there is a cure, and then those who have received the treatment sing its praises.
The video opens with confused students (real Arizona State students are the actors) sharing their woes. Fred Corey, vice provost for undergraduate education, then explains Fear of Meeting One-on-One With My Professor (FMOOWMP, which Corey pronounces but others may find difficult) and its cure, Faculty Office Hours (or FOH). Corey is introduced as a "doctor of philosophy," not a medical doctor.
He explains that no prescription is needed and the benefits kick in almost immediately -- if one goes to talk to a doctor of philosophy. He warns students about the possible side effects, such as "seeing your professor as a human for the first time."
And he's honest that FOH has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, although it has been approved by Michael Crow, Arizona State's president.
Arizona State credits Kevin Kovaleski, senior director of enrollment services communication, and Lisa McIntyre, executive director of advising and student achievement, with coming up with the idea.
The video was first used during finals period for the fall 2015 semester, but it has been released again this month to try to reach students at the start of the academic year.