September 27, 2021

Cookies and conversation: Students share how instructors have made them feel welcome—and what they would like their instructors to know

For many students, like the ones in this lecture hall, connecting with their instructors is an important part of their learning experience.

The energy has returned to SFU’s campuses along with instructors, staff and lots of students—more than 40 per cent of whom are on campus for the first time this term. One of the greatest desires of many SFU students as they return to in-person learning is a sense of connection. We spent a sunny afternoon on the Burnaby campus recently asking students what their instructors have done to make them feel welcome in their classes and what they wish their instructors knew about them. Here is what they told us. (Key takeaway: You can’t go wrong with cookies!)

What have your instructors done to make you feel welcome?

“They introduced themselves as a good friend and made us comfortable.” – Anonymous, first semester, mechatronics systems engineering

“Smiled as they talked and answered my question and talk[ed] about the things they like.” – Yolanda, first semester, health sciences

“Shared funny personal info.” – Faith, returning student, political science

“Gave me a free SFU cookie.” – Simran, first semester, business (Beedie)

“Gave us a free cookie.” – Karen, first semester, business (Beedie)

“1. Remembered my name. 2. Gave me cookies." – Liam, first semester, business (Beedie)

“Fun and welcoming introductions, Kahoot and free cookie!” – Gleanne, returning student, business (Beedie)

“Invitation to ‘meet the prof’ office hours at the beginning of term—no expectation of talking about course material.” – James, returning student, biomedical physiology and kinesiology

“[Shared a] post that university can be hard, especially first year. It was an article that made me feel seen.” – Meha, first semester, business (Beedie)

“[They are] very enthusiastic and bring a great energy to the class; genuinely try to learn names.” – Eunice, returning student, French

What is one thing you would like your instructors to know about you?

“That I like to have conversations that aren’t always school-related.” – Simran, first semester, business (Beedie)

“That I want to get involved in research but don’t know how yet.” – James, returning student, biomedical physiology and kinesiology

“Contributing to class discussions, even as a student who isn’t in first year, is really daunting.” – Eunice, returning student, French

“I am actually struggling with a deep-rooted sense of desire for the liberation of the oppressed.” – Anna, first semester, molecular biology and biochemistry

“That I am in the process of opening a business.” – Meha, first semester, business (Beedie)

“That I love figure skating.” – Caris, first semester, psychology

“My ambitions.” – Menelc, returning student, business (Beedie)

“I’m a pretty cool guy.” – Brendan, returning student, philosophy

“We have other classes/obligations!!!” – Nisha, returning student, political science

“More group projects/group assignments would be nice so I can make friends.” – Karen, first semester, business (Beedie)

“I would like them to know my name.” – Yolanda, first semester, health sciences