Quinnipiac approves virtual office hours policy

By Thamar Bailey

Starting this fall Quinnipiac professors will be able to hold office hours not in person, but through their screens.

According to media studies professor and Faculty Senate Chair Lisa Burns, a recent policy change will allow faculty members to hold office hours either in person, virtually or both. Professors will be able to hold virtual office hours via online communication platforms like Skype, Zoom or email. It’s really about “whatever best meets their students’ needs,” Burns said.

The amended policy will also allow for faculty to shift their office hours throughout the semester if needed.

“For example, a professor may not need to hold office hours during the first week of the semester,” Burns said. “But they might add extra office hours the week before an exam or a major project.”

The original policy called for each faculty member to hold at least one hour of office hours for each three credit course taught each semester. For a three credit course a professor would need to hold 15 office hours throughout the course of the semester.

Furthermore, office hours needed to be posted and remain on file within the faculty members’ school or college office, according to Annalisa Zinn, vice president for academic innovation and effectiveness.

While the quantity of office hours hasn’t changed, revisions were made to “accomodate and balance the needs of students, variability in the types of courses (on campus vs. online), the needs of faculty, scheduling, space opportunities and constraints for both students and faculty,” Zinn said.

Zinn said she believes faculty will have a positive reaction to the policy change, “as indicated by how it was well-received by the Faculty Senate.”