Spoof of Drug Ad for Real Teaching Issue

Do your students suffer from the widespread syndrome of Fear of Meeting One-on-One With My Professor? Arizona State has a cure, pending FDA approval.

September 1, 2016

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. 


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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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