September 12, 2006

When Seeking Comfort is Selfish desmonstrated exactly how open students are being with professors:"Michael Greenstone, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said he once received an e-mail message late one evening from a student who had recently come to the realization that he was gay and was struggling to cope."

Is it necessarily a terrible thing that a student feels comfortable enough to confide in a professor?

I also would like to discuss my preference of Online vs Classroom based classes. I hope this topic comes up in class tomorrow, it will be similar to the paper vs. live news discussion we had in our Media Lab class.

Posted by Lori Rupert at September 12, 2006 08:34 PM

i wonder, in all seriousness, how prof jerz would approach something like this. a situation like this is a serious subject o a teacher. Proffesor Jerz, if you see this, try to bring this up in class.

Posted by: Rachel Prichard at September 12, 2006 11:48 PM

I also think that it's okay for students and professors to have friendly relationships. It doesn't have to be all business, all of the time. While the situation presented in the article might be pretty unique, I'm sure there are students who are comfortable exposing other confidential things.

That's when it gets away from the hierarchy and down the the humanity--if a student needs help and confides in that professor as a fellow human being, who is that professor to tell the student he/she is out of line? Help the person, whomever it is. End of story.

Posted by: Karissa at September 17, 2006 04:40 PM

That is an interesting situation. I know here at Seton Hill, we have the "Safe Zone" program where employees, both faculty and staff, can be trained to handle issues of sexuality. This is a particular situation where resources are, well, scarce. And finding a person to confide in is hard.

But, fortunately for us, we have visually-labeled areas that people can recognize and go for at least some form of help. I thought I saw a Safe Zone label in the Humanities wing.

Although the professor has no legal obligation to help with loneliness, etc, she has a moral obligation. And help can come in many forms, so it's not like the professor can use the excuse: "I can't help you. I'm not equipped to handle such situations." If the professor cannot help, perhaps she can point the student in the direction of someone who can.

Not everyone knows how to handle these situations, but we all know at least one person who might be feeling the same thing or someone who can guide students through experiences like these.

Posted by: Evan at September 20, 2006 03:52 PM
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