Teachers take students out to lunch

Michelle Bender

A new program was developed this semester to encourage faculty and students to have more conversations outside of the classroom.

Terri Capellman, undergraduate studies program director, based the idea on President Lefton’s initiative. The Take Your Student to Lunch program was born from Lefton’s suggestion for students and faculty to engage on a more personal level.

Twenty-six gift cards were offered to instructors of large sections to buy lunch for students said Laura Davis, associate provost. She said this is a way for students to have a personal conversation with their instructors and to feel more connected with the university.

Lecturer Wendy Tietz has been taking students from her managerial accounting class to lunch every Friday.

“I’ve been trying to pick students I normally wouldn’t talk to in class,” she said.

Tietz has taken as many as five students to Quiznos. Even after using all the money on her allocated gift card, she continues to take students out at her own expense. Prior to the program, Tietz said the only time she got to know her students was when they came to her office.

“I was surprised they all said ‘yes’ so rapidly,” she said.

But there have been some negative reactions to the program. Davis said some people are worried the program singles out students.

Tietz said she wished she could take every student out, but in a class of 300 students it just isn’t possible.

“I feel bad I can’t take out every student,” Tietz said. “But on the one hand, isn’t it better to get to know some students?”

On the flipside of the Take Your Student to Lunch program there is the Take Your Professor to Lunch program.

Any freshman can go to the Undergraduate Studies office and sign up to take a professor to lunch. Capellman said anyone who’s interested needs to fill out a short application to become eligible for a free gift card. Once the gift card is issued, the student and professor can have lunch at any restaurant that accepts FlashCash. Capellmen said about 10 applications have already been picked up, but no one has returned them to the Undergraduate Studies Office.

Contact undergraduate offices and graduate affairs reporter Michelle Bender at [email protected].