Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Step 3: Explore Strategies

Explore potential strategies.

My students don’t seek help when they need it.

Students don’t know that resources are available.

There are multiple reasons why students don’t fully understand what resources are available to them. As first year undergraduates, students sometimes don’t understand the purpose of office hours or the role of the TA. Furthermore, because students are inundated with information, they sometimes don’t know about the existence of Academic Development (i.e., our academic support center).


Clearly articulate the purpose of office hours.

You can do this in the syllabus and perhaps reinforce it before major assignments or exams, particularly in first year undergraduate courses.

Explain the roles of TAs in the course.

Again, this is especially important for first year students who never had TAs in high school. This is also important because the role of TAs varies across courses, and even within departments, e.g., some TAs only grade, some run recitations, some do review sessions, some hold office hours.

Explain the role of Academic Development.

Academic Development offers a variety of different support programs for students, e.g., individual weekly tutoring, walk-in tutoring in the dorms, study groups, supplemental instruction, study skills workshops.

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