NY State Requirements for Instructional Time
The University and CAS have aligned classroom instruction times to New York State requirements. For four-credit courses without recitation sections, additional supervised instruction time is required beyond the classroom to meet State requirements of 200 minutes per week. Requiring office hours is one suitable solution to work towards compliance with meeting the total number of contact hours. Larger courses can achieve this through small group office hours.
CAS Expectations for Office Hours
We understand traditional office hours to be regularly-scheduled, in-person weekly time slots where students may visit their instructor to discuss course content, learn more about faculty research, and meet other advising needs. The following 3 guidelines apply:
All faculty are expected to hold at least 2 hours of in person office hours per week (per course, ideally) for the duration of the semester in which the course is being taught.
We recommend that faculty supplement traditional office hours with virtual office hours (ex. Google Hangouts or Webex, NYU Chat rooms, etc.) and/or with by appointment options to give students flexible options.
All office hour options should be listed on the syllabi students receive in a course, and published on any relevant course platforms (ex. NYU Classes, Wordpress, etc.).
Best Practices for Office Hours
A few best practices and tips include:
Posting all faculty office hours online every term and circulating among students.
Requiring a minimum attendance at office hours, either for regular or extra credit. For 4-credit courses that lack a recitation or lab, required office hours are one suitable solution to work towards New York State compliance with meeting the total number of contact hours.
Encouraging students to submit questions and concerns beforehand, in order to identify common themes among students’ queries. If appropriate, have students post a summary of what they learned on a class discussion board.
For large courses, encouraging group office hours, coupled with virtual group sessions.
Offering various day/time combinations, adding virtual time slots, and/or including “by appointment” options will ensure that all students can participate. Google Calendar has appointment slots that can be leveraged to manage student sign ups.
Giving students specific, positive reasons to attend, and emphasizing that office hours are not just for students who are struggling in a course and are having problems. For example, office hours are a great opportunity to discuss topics from readings and lectures in more depth, and instructors can write better letters of recommendation for students who have met with them.
Holding an informal office hour in the hallway for quick questions and just to chat with students before class.
Griffin, W. et. al., (2014). Starting the conversation: An exploratory study of factors that influence student office hour use. College Teaching, 62 (3), 94-99.
Guerrero, M. and Rod, A.B. (2013). Engaging in Office Hours: A Study of Student-Faculty Interaction and Academic Performance, Journal of Political Science Education, 9 (4), 403-416.
Jackson, L.E. and Knupsky, A. (2015). “Weaning off of Email”: Encouraging Students to Use Office Hours over Email to Contact Professors. College Teaching, 63 (4), 183-184.
Lang, J. M. (2003). “Putting in the Hours: You Can Tell a lot about Faculty Members by How They Set Up Their Office Hours.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 49.36
Professors advise on how to succeed at office hours
Using Office Hours Effectively
Office hours: 6 realities
Making Office Hours Matter