Maybe it’s Minnesota, or maybe it’s me, but this situation with professors complaining about student email doesn’t really affect me. It’s been my experience here that UMM students are usually friendly and trouble-free with email (haven’t you heard? We’re all nice up here!), and I even welcome the complaints—I’d rather hear from the students than not hear from them, especially if they’re worried about something. I also like my email terse and to the point, so I’m not at all discomfited by a message that would be rudely abrupt if said to my face.
One thing would absolutely drive me nuts, though, and it’s this horrible piece of advice.
Meg Worley, an assistant professor of English at Pomona College in California, said she told students that they must say thank you after receiving a professor’s response to an e-mail message.
“One of the rules that I teach my students is, the less powerful person always has to write back,” Professor Worley said.
Ugh. Email is a communication medium, and the less we clutter it up with rank and power and hierarchical crap the better; there’s enough real power disparity between me and my students that I don’t need it acknowledged, and I’d prefer it were minimized. As for bouncing back with a superfluous “thank you”…no, thank you. That’s just noise in the channel, one more scrap of clutter in my mailbox.
(via The Washington Monthly)
I think Tim Burke and I agree on this one, and I note in the comments that Worley was misquoted—what she was suggesting is actually much more reasonable.