Over the last year, connections between undergrads and faculty are being more and more scrutinized, following a number of studies — both scientific and informal — that have all pointed to the same thing: Students learn and achieve more when they have a relationship with their professor.
“If a student gets to know the professor outside of class, it helps them within the classroom,” says Dr. Tod W. Burke, a professor at Radford University. “Not only does the student wish to please the professor, but the student begins to feel they will be letting them down if they do not do their best work.”
Professors don’t seem surprised by the recent finding. In communicating with a cross-section of more than 30 professors, most say that when a personal relationship is fostered with a student, they also feel a greater sense of accountability. And this often has an effect on grades.
“If a student has an 89.3 average and is engaging in class, it’s natural to give that person the benefit of the doubt and bump it to an A,” says John Mooney, a professor at Berkeley
College’s Manhattan campus.