Q: What's the deal with office hours?
A: These are regular hours I set aside every week to meet one on one with students. Duke Kunshan University requires that every professor make themselves available to students in this way. We highly encourage you to take advantage of this resource -- please come to office hours!
Here are some reasons you might want to come to my office hours:
- to talk about something in class that you don't fully understand and would like me to clarify or explain in more detail
- to get extra help on an assignment or to have me explain the feedback I gave you
- to talk more about something from class that you found interesting, or to get recommendations for further reading
- to ask me about anything you're interested in related to my areas of expertise (reading, writing, literature, translation) -- for practical reasons, or just out of curiosity!
Q: Do I have to make an appointment?
A: Absolutely not! That's the point of office hours -- you don't need an appointment. Just come!
Q: Can I make an appointment if I'm afraid lots of people will be at your office hours?
A: I'd prefer you just come. Bring a laptop and some work to do in case there are other students waiting. I'll talk to students in the order in which they showed up. If you're particularly anxious to meet with me, come at the beginning of office hours.
Q: What if I have a schedule conflict and can't come to your office hours?
A: No problem! Message me on WeChat and we'll set up another time to meet.
Q: But if I come to your office hours, won't you think I'm a "problem student" because I need extra help with the material?
A: Absolutely not! To the contrary, I -- and many other professors -- like it when students seek us out in office hours. When students take the initiative to do this, even just to clarify something they found confusing, it leaves a favorable impression on us!
Q: Can I come to just chat and "shoot the breeze" casually?
A: Sure, but it'll be more fun if you have something specific to talk about. And remember that I eat lunch with students every Thursday in the cafeteria too -- if you'd like to socialize, come to lunch!
Q: Can you help me prepare for a standardized test like the TOEFL or edit a piece of writing I'm doing for a contest or an application?
A: I'm happy to give general advice about writing, but my policy on application letters, statements of purpose, and so forth is that I'll only help you with these after I've helped any other students waiting to talk about class-related issues. I can't give detailed edits though.
I don't know anything about standardized tests, so I'd be a bad person to ask about that!