Why Do We Need the Professor?
Once it has been decided that a certain course will be pursued as a new offering of an SOS chapter (done by the Co-Presidents/Ambassador Department/Expansion Department), the chapter must reach out to the professor (ideally the head professor for the course) in hopes of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship. As deciding to provide Exam-AID review sessions for a new course is always more risky, considering you do not have an established reputation or brand in that class yet, seeking out legitimate advocates of SOS and it’s review sessions within that course is key to initial success. A professor doing a simple “SOS plug” in their class a week before the review sessions begin can (and typical does) increase the attendance at the first review sessions exponentially.
This is to be done by composing a professional email to the professor, BRIEFLY explaining what SOS is and our intentions. The email should request an appointment with the professor (or Head Professor if there are multiple ones for the course) and offer a few time possibilities (to allow professor convenience). The Ambassador (or Co-President, or Expansion Executive, or general salesperson, etc.) should have prepared a standard SOS sales pitch for new Professors. This pitch should include the following:
- SOS Vision and Mission (briefly)
- Who they are and their role in Faculty Relations
- Demonstrated results to date (to make evident SOS’ effectiveness)
- Benefits of SOS (both to the professor/students and to our supported communities)
- The importance and influential role professor support can play
To customize to the specific course, the pitch should also include demonstrated research and interest in the class (I.e. how many students there are, are there labs/tutorials or SI sessions, how many sections/profs are there, etc.). In the meeting, this entire pitch should last no more than 10 minutes and all professor questions/concerns should be answered. If unsure of how to answer/what to answer to certain questions, the Ambassador should apologize and promise to follow-up.
Getting Their Approval and Maximizing Support
Depending on the professor’s openness and the quality of the pitch, there can be a variety of mixed feelings. If the professor is on board with supporting SOS and its cause, then the Ambassador is to mention the variety of forms and degrees to which the professor can support the Exam-AID review sessions. The Ambassador should seek the highest degree of support possible, without seeming too pushy or overbearing. Examples of possible support include: allowing flyer distribution in class, mentioning the sessions and their value in class, allowing a class presentation, sending a MyLS announcement/email, assisting coordinators and tutors in their preparation of material, etc. If the professor has mixed feelings and would like time to consider, the Ambassador is to give appropriate time while maintaining at least weekly check-ins. If the professor is uncooperative and not interested, they are to be thanked for their time.
Establish How the Relationship is to be Maintained
The Ambassador should clearly layout whom the professor is to talk to if they ever have any comments/questions/issues with SOS in general, while keeping in mind that the course coordinator should be the one to contact for all logistics and course specifics. The Ambassador should follow-up by sending a welcome/thank you email to the professor and Cc the course coordinator. This will allow easy transition of communication and will alert the coordinator of the professor’s support (the email should include what levels/degrees of support the professor is offering). If there is no course coordinator/tutor, the Ambassador should inform the professor when one is found and may (depending on how comfortable the professor is) request professor recommendations/help in finding qualified and talented coordinators/tutors. As well, all other relevant parties should also be Bcc’ed in the “Welcome Email” to allow complete transparency and communication of the new professor relationship (it is quite annoying to professors when they are contacted multiple times for the same reason). Co-Presidents must take faculty relations very seriously as a positive relationship can produce wonderful results for SOS (while a negative relationship can be detrimental). It is recommended to periodically check in with all of the professors to ensure they are good and possibly update them on positive results SOS has achieved up to that point (allow them to feel part of the team and that they have contributed to a great cause).