If I've directed you to this page, it is because I want to give you some advice in how you request an appointment with me.

Of course, I am happy to meet with you if I am available. Your request needs to save us both time, by following the guidance below:

  1. Greeting. Start with a profesisonal greeting.
    If you missed a meeting we had previously scheduled and you are trying to schedule another one, be incredibly apologetic.
  2. Purpose. What is this about? Did I ask you to schedule the meeting? If so, remind me. Otherwise, you should have a fair idea of what you hope to achieve in a meeting. Be brief (1--3 sentences).
    If you are really stressed out about something, take a breath and consider writing this email when you are calmer. Paniced emails are likely to make me worry about your immediate health and safety and refer you to counseling before we schedule a meeting about less important things, like class.
  3. Office Hours. Acknowledge that you know my office hours and have a conflict. It communicates to me that you took the time to familiarize yourself with my office hours before asking for a special meeting. A simple sentence like this is sufficient: "I would come to your office hours but my POLS120 class conflicts with your Sat 9pm--11pm office hours, and my work schedule conficts with your Sun 3am--4am office hours."
  4. Ask clearly. Ask for the meeting, and immediately list 3--4 different meeting options when you are free to meet. I will pick among these, if I am able. Be clear about each date, giving ranges for times (not just start times).
  5. Recipient and Subject. Make sure the email is to my SSU email. Use a subject line that communicates the purpose, like: "Meeting about [purpose] for [course name]."

Double check your e-mail before hitting send. Specifically, avoid these pitfalls:

  • Do not overstate your availability.
    Ex: "I'm free all Wed" is likely an exaggeration. Just list a date with time ranges.
  • Do not propose a time when you don't want to meet.
    Ex: "I'm free Tue 7/2 from 12--1, but that is my only lunch time during the day and skipping lunch really throws me off...". Please, just don't list that as a time.
  • List meeting options that are functionally different.
    Ex 1. "I'm free Mon 7/1 at 3--4pm, Mon 7/8 at 3--4pm and Mon 7/15 at 3--4pm". Most conflicts are recurring. These times are probably functionally the same; list more times.
    Ex 2. "I'm free Mon 7/1 at 3--4p and Wed 7/3 3--4pm".
    The way M/W and T/Th class blocks work, if I conflict with one then it is likely I conflict with both. These times are probably functionally the same; list more times.
  • Do not ask me to list when I am free.
    It would be nice if profs just wrote out all their availability for you, and you picked from that list. Asking me to do that commmunicates huge disrespect for my time. That said, I have made scheduling easier for you though: you can peek at my busy/free calendar online, but you still need to list meeting options for me in your email.
  • Do not be presumptuous.
    Do not say "Oh, you look free Mon 7/1 at 2pm on your calendar, so can we meet then?" or, "Oh, I know you usually go to colloquium but it is cancelled this week, so can we meet then?" Your guess may be a good one, but let me make that decision. Please, just list meeting options.

When your email looks good, hit send.