top of page
Poster Gallery Headers - WIX.png

Demystifying Who We Are as Faculty in the Classroom



Student Engagement, Faculty-student Interaction, Welcoming Classroom

Presented by:

Laila Guessous, Oakland University

Key Statement:

In this poster we discuss simple strategies that can help break down barriers between faculty and students and improve enhance faculty-student interaction. Snacks help too!


Breaking down the professor myth and enhancing faculty-student interactions in and out of the classroom can start with some simple activities that don’t require much valuable class time. A small pilot study conducted in freshman and sophomore engineering courses at Oakland University showed that faculty spending as little as 15-20 minutes sharing information about themselves, their interests, academic journey and research during an in-person or virtual class, followed by opportunities for students to ask questions, can lead to a more comfortable and engaging classroom environment. In a nutshell, efforts to make professors seem more “human” can lead to positive outcomes.

Learning Outcomes:

Identify parts of their personal story that they think can break down the professor myth and help students see them as more “human.”

Reflect on their own past experiences as students and how small things in the classroom could contribute to it being a comfortable and engaging environment. 

Create a plan to incorporate this simple strategy in their in-person or online courses to enhance faculty-student interactions.

Hear it from the author:

Demystifying Who We Are as Faculty in the ClassroomLaila Guessous, Oakland University
00:00 / 01:22


As faculty members, we interact with students in many ways and in many different settings. Whether it’s in the classroom, during office hours, in the hallway, in the laboratory or through written comments that we provide to students on exams or reports, these interactions, however small or casual they may be, can have an influence on whether a student feels at home in a given field of study and chooses to stay. Finding the time to interact in a constructive way with students, and demystifying who we are as faculty, is of course often a challenge for faculty trying to juggle the competing demands of teaching, research and service. In this simple activity, faculty members spend 15-20 minutes during one class period sharing information about themselves to help connect with their students. They can talk about their research, their career path, their interests, how they decided to become a professor, their hobbies or any other information they feel comfortable sharing with the class. Students can ask questions and the dialogue is intended to be informal and open. This can also be combined with an online “Introduce Yourself” forum activity. This poster shares student and faculty survey results of a small pilot study in engineering courses at Oakland University.


Amelink, C., & Creamer, E. (2010). Gender differences in elements of the undergraduate experience that influence satisfaction with the engineering major and the intent to pursue engineering as a career. Journal of Engineering Education, 99(1), 81–92.

Metz, S. S. (2013). The psychology of insight. Mechanical Engineering Magazine, 135(4).

Umbach, P. D., & Wawrzynski, M. R (2005). Faculty do matter: The role of college faculty in student learning and engagement. Research in Higher Education, 46(2), 153–184.

Vogt, C. M. (2008). Faculty as a critical juncture in student retention and performance in engineering programs. Journal of Engineering Education, 97(1), 27–36.

Making a Difference Together


Screen Shot 2023-02-07 at 8.43.31 AM.png
Think UDL.png
TiHE Bonni Stachowiak.jpg
Scholarly Teacher.png


OneHE Logo (Colour) - 640x200.jpg
Lilly Logo.png
EB no tagline.png
bottom of page