No Emails for Some College Students

It is pretty commonplace to see a spot on a college syllabus for the instructor’s email address and office hours, but apparently students at Salem College will be looking for that information for a long time.

Professor Spring-Serenity Duvall, the assistant professor of communications at Salem College says “For years, students emails have been an assault on the professors, sometimes with inappropriate informality, sometimes just simply not understanding that professors should not have to respond immediately.” She goes on to say in a blog post from last week “In a fit of self-preservation, I decided: no more. This is where I make my stand!”

Professor Duvall’s sentiments are shared by many in her position. Professors are often inundated with email after email with questions that have already been addressed in class and often times are in plain text in their books or on their syllabus. The emails still flood in regardless of those facts.

In order to spare herself of an exploding inbox, Duvall adopted a new policy. No emails…unless the student was going to schedule a meeting during her office hours.

Her goal was not to make herself less available to her students but rather the opposite. Her intention was twofold in reality. She hoped that her students would learn to be more autonomous and perhaps read assignments and the syllabus better. The other goal she had was to free up some time in class and during her office hours. She was hoping to develop a better relationship with her students that forced them to interact with each other face to face.

There has been a fair amount of success too. Duvall says that she does indeed spend less time emailing her students and more time actually interacting with them. Her students seem to be fans of the change as well and are consistently giving her better evaluations and even going so far as rating her “excellent” when asked how accessible she was.


Straumsheim, C. (2014, August 27). Don’t Email Me. Retrieved August 27, 2014, from

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