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“Open Door Policy” Is Not Just For Registration

College of Arts and Sciences Hall

College of Arts and Sciences Hall

Spring is near, the flowers are out, and registration at the University of Portland is fast approaching. Although students will be making appointments to plan and double check their next semester schedules, advising students is an all-semester job.

Students walk in with homework questions and concerns, personal inquiries and stories, letter of recommendation requests, and hopes for job offers.

The professor’s task isn’t just about making sure the student’s four year plan is going smoothly. Sometimes their students drop by just to chat and say hello.

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Christopher Hallstrom says the small student count at UP makes it easier for them to plan and offer one-on-one time. The difficulty of juggling personal research, lecturing classes, offering office hours, preparing for classes, and grading papers is mostly dependent on the individual. Factors include the department they are in, the requirements they need to meet within that department, and research style.

“For some of us in the Math Department, it’s easier to pick up research here and there,” said Dr. Hallstrom. “For others it’s harder to pick up things right where you left off. It takes some time to think about things and remind myself ‘where was I with this last week? What was I thinking about?”

The type of advising students receive is also unique between departments.

According to Dr. Barbara Braband, Associate Professor in the School of Nursing, nursing students have a set schedule handed to them from the time they declare their nursing major. All their classes (save for their few choices of electives) are assigned for them.

Thus, the professors go over heavy course planning in the first few years. When nurses reach their junior year, the program is specifically designed to start their clinical practices. Most of their office hours are spent answering clinical questions, listening to personal issues, and aiding with identifying their future job preferences. On behalf of the Nursing Department, she said, “Planning is everything.”

Despite their set schedules, there are nursing majors who become double majors or have minors. “Most of the double majors choose a foreign language.”

Dr. Braband says professors also use the time to establish a relationship with their advisees. To this day, she says she still receives emails from graduates keeping in touch and thanking them for all of their help and guidance. “Building student relationships are really important,” she said. “It is the long term impact we make that is the most rewarding.”

Dr. Elayne Shapiro, Associate Professor in the Communication Department, recognized that students should also seek help and advice from other students. “You find out from students what kind of teachers will work for you. Not every teacher is everybody’s cup of tea.”

She also suggests that students should keep their own templates of their tentative dynamic course schedules to double check for mistakes.

This semester, registration will begin right after Spring break. Advisers will be scheduling office hours for registration counseling, but they advise seeking their advice at least a week in advance.


6 Responses to ““Open Door Policy” Is Not Just For Registration”

  1. rylansuehisa

    Dominique, This is a very timely article and is insightful as it gives us students a different view into a situation that we feel is stressful for us.

    • dominiquepascua

      Thank you! I hope you also read my blog post this week. It is an extension with some “tips” for traversing those tricky office hours and things to keep in mind to make the time you spend with your teacher both good for you and for them. ^^

  2. Richy Carrillo

    Well written article. I actually didn’t really think about how much work professors have to do. usually when I try to meet with them and ask for help for classes or registration I often get frustrated when I’m not helped right away. But I guess it’s also good that I’ts not a state school where it would almost be impossible. I also think it was a good addition by Dr. Shapiro, since my freshman year I kinda avoided asking for help from professors mostly because I am shy and try to do everything on my own. this is good help and motivation for underclassman to ask for help anytime they like. Good article.

    • dominiquepascua

      Thank you! Please check out my blog post for this week as well. They offered some advice for students to make the office hours meeting a smoother transition for both of you. ^^


    Dominique, this is an incredible entry.

    It’s unfortunate that many teachers these days don’t receive the respect they deserve due to students focusing only on the scolding and failing they get (at least that’s how it goes in high schools). But College and University professors are one of the few groups of people who can be considered role models and ‘heroes’, seeing as how much they put up with day after day and how bothersome and stressful their jobs can get.

    I feel that this entry really captured that idea and shows that professors and teachers are some of the most useful people in the world.


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