Celebrate Faculty at Thank a Professor Day

Published: February 15, 2022 | Author: Southern Utah University | Read Time: 3 minutes

Thank a Professor DayThe past few semesters have been rough on everyone. Dealing with an ongoing pandemic while attending or teaching classes has caused burnout amongst faculty, staff, and students at Southern Utah University. To recognize the constant effort of SUU’s faculty, the Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning (CETL) partnered with SUU’s Student Association (SUUSA) to show their appreciation for faculty by creating Thank A Professor Day!

According to one of the original trailblazers for the event and SUU professor, Dr. Lisa Arter, fall is a great time of year to hold Thank A Professor Day. People are feeling grateful from Thanksgiving and pulling together their remaining reserves of strength to push through the end of the semester. Everyone feels exhausted, but taking a moment to show gratitude towards a professor who has been an influence can give both parties an extra boost to help cross the finish line.

“We were all learning to do our jobs in an entirely new way while supporting students through a global pandemic,” Dr. Arter said. “Additionally, we were also scrambling for daycare or school issues for our own children, nursing some through COVID, healing from COVID ourselves, and many of us were also caring for elderly parents. Nursing three generations through such an illness, working, and supporting hundreds/thousands of students was draining us beyond belief.”

That’s when CETL came up with a plan in Fall 2020 to show faculty and staff how thankful they were for all they were doing for the students and the university at large. Dr. Arter’s original plan was to hold the first Thank A Professor Day two semesters ago, when the pandemic first rebounded; however, due to university COVID concerns, the event was postponed until Spring 2021.

“The response was so wonderful, and so many faculty and staff were encouraged by the cards, that I wanted to do it again this fall,” Dr. Arter said. “I reached out to SUUSA to partner with them as we'd like this to involve students at every level. They organized the locations and worked with clubs to get volunteers to watch the tables. I asked my students to help with collecting, sorting, and addressing the cards. Many of them stayed for hours that night to get the cards ready for delivery.”

Dr. Arter also expressed her enthusiasm to help make Thank A Professor Day a semesterly occurrence.

“It is amazing how much a ‘thank you’ can do to feed the soul,” Dr. Arter added. “Additionally, knowing a person took the time to put their gratitude in writing makes it extra special. Teachers save mementos from students. On bad days, we pull them out and re-read them, remembering that our ‘why’ we teach is about our students.”

If you are a student at SUU and didn’t take advantage of writing a note for Thank A Professor Day, there are plenty of ways you can still thank your professors. If you want to go the route of writing a note, you can hand deliver it, leave it in their mailbox or on their desk, send an email, or even slide it underneath their door! However, the spoken word doesn’t hurt either, so don’t hesitate to verbally thank a professor for the lesson or any impact they’ve had on your life.

If you want to help with Thank A Professor Day for next semester, be on the lookout for volunteer opportunities, and be sure to send in your own thank you notes. It is never too late to thank someone.

Tags: Student SUUSA Faculty

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