NOTE: This FAQ site has not yet been edited to meet the new demands of the pandemic; for cases in which the pandemic may likely have changed the policies presented here, consult your course website for the most current policy.  This site was last edited in January 2018.

What do we “need to know” from your lectures? What should we write down/remember? Can you simplify your slides or give us bullet points?

What are you looking for in an essay?
What do your essay criteria (in the syllabus) mean, specifically/practically? (added Jan 2019)

Am I allowed to…? / Is it okay to…?
What 12 basic tips for success would you give a university undergraduate in the humanities?
How should I conduct myself at university?
What should I expect from my professors?
How do I prepare reading assignments? What are my responsibilities?
Should I use online summaries?
How do I approach a professor?
Did you get my email?
What are you looking for?
Will we need to know this…?
I need more specific instructions.

I’m concerned about my professor’s opinion of me—I just don’t want my professor to think less of me…

I’m just writing to apologize or say that I missed class/was late to class because…
I missed a class session/comprehension question—what should I do?
What is your attendance policy?
Is this an [un]excused absence?
May I have my absence excused?

When and where are your Office Hours?
May I make an appointment?
You looked busy, so I left.
I can’t come to your office hours. Do you ever meet with students outside Office Hours?

I didn’t want to bring this question up in class, but…
How can I improve my participation mark?
How do participation marks work?

What if I talk too little? / But I’m too shy to contribute to class discussion!

What if I talk too much? / I don’t want to dominate conversation.

How can I become a better essay writer?
What is expected of the undergraduate humanities writer?

What paper topic should I choose?
This is my paper idea—is this right/okay/what you’re looking for?
Where is the paper prompt?
How do I build an argument?
Is this a good thesis?
What dictionary should I use?
How do I use a dictionary in undergraduate writing?
Will you look over my draft?
How do I become better at grammar, punctuation, and proofreading in general?
I often get comments that my writing is awkward or choppy, or that I need to work on clarity or precision.
But I thought we were supposed to avoid the first person, contractions, certain words, or the passive voice!

How do I do a close reading?
How do I read like an English major?
What do you mean by ‘choose a brick’ for close reading?
How can I get a whole essay out of such a small detail? I can’t think of anything to say!
What is the ‘heresy of paraphrase’?

How many sources do I need to include?
How do I find sources?
Which sources are reliable?
How should I cite my sources?
How do I cite this particular [unusual] source?

I enrolled late…
Is this on the Blackboard site?
I didn’t know about that assignment or get that email!
What do you mean by ‘proactive’?
May I have an extension for my paper deadline?
I missed a deadline. What should I do?

What mark (grade) am I currently getting?
How do you compute marks (grades)?
I’d like to discuss or change my mark (grade).
If I don’t get a certain grade, I’ll no longer be eligible for a [ ].
Will you change my grade?

Would you write me a recommendation letter?
Would you be my reference?
Should I pursue a PhD in the humanities?
Should I become a professional academic?
What is the point of taking English classes, or majoring or specializing in English?
What is your teaching philosophy? Can you sum it up?