Student Conferencing Guidelines

I'm collecting any information people are willing to send or point me to about college or departmental policies on using class time for doing mandatory individual student conferences.

Some members of the administration here at Lake Superior State University (Sault Ste. Marie, MI) are having trouble understanding why we can't simply use regular office hours alone for doing student conferences. Most of our English faculty teach four classes a semester, with 2-3 of those classes being writing classes with 25 students per. Office hours alone cannot accommodate the many hours we spend doing between one to three rounds of conferences with our students, but we need some documentation that using a certain amount of class time is an accepted practice at other schools.

I've examined web sites and contacted colleagues in my search for written policies, but I am unable to find documentation of what most colleagues have told me is their verbally accepted practice (using one - two weeks of class periods to do conferences with students).

If anyone knows of or has policies in place that are public, would you be willing to send me the policy or the link? Or post to this site?

Thank you very much,

Mary Been, Ph.D.
Assoc. Prof.
Dept. of English and Communication
Lake Superior State University


We've scheduled in bi-weekly conferences for all of our first-year composition students and added a credit to the course so it is now a four-credit course, and adjusted the teaching load accordingly; so our policies won't be of much help to you.

However, before we made this move, we made the argument that classes needed to be canceled for twice-a-semester conferences so that students who had no schedule flexibility could have conference times during the regular class meeting hours. If you have a sizable number of commuter students, or students that have lots of ourside work hours, this may be an issue for them as well.

Shirley K Rose
Purdue University,
Immediate Past President,
Council of Writing Program Administrators

Thank you. This is exactly the kind of evidence I need. It also suggests alternative models that we can consider. We have also thought about making this a lecture plus lab class; the lab time would become conferencing time. The down side of that for the college is that they would need to pay faculty more for additional contact hours.