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October 7, 2022

Jarrett Shares How Students Can Build Connections With Faculty

Economics Professor Featured in "According to Faculty" Series
Jarrett Shares How Students Can Build Connections With Faculty
Uchechukwu Jarrett, associate professor of practice in economics, shares his thoughts on finding common ground with students, the real-world applications of coursework and Star Trek.

Former College of Business Excellence in Teaching Award winner Uchechukwu Jarrett, associate professor of practice in economics, was featured on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Medium in their According to Faculty blog series. Jarrett, who also searched as a Seacrest Teaching Fellow between 2018-20, shared how students can build connections with Nebraska faculty.

Building connections with faculty members can be an incredibly valuable part of your college experience. Yes, they’re experts in their fields, but they’re also endlessly great resources for real-world connections, internships, mentoring and so much more.

And at Nebraska, we have some of the best.

We’ve spoken to a handful of Nebraska faculty members about best practices for building student-faculty relationships and why you should seek them out — even if their class isn’t your favorite.

Next in our ongoing According to Faculty series is Uchechukwu Jarrett. This semester Jarrett is teaching ECON 215 (Statistics), ECON 321 (Introduction to International Economics) and ECON 423 (Economics of Less Developed Countries). Read on for his insights into connecting with faculty through shared love of popular culture, talking about your backgrounds, and using Star Trek to give career advice.

On building connections through shared interests (that don’t have to do with school)
“I typically try to connect with students by sharing my background as someone who was born and grew up outside of the United States. I also love to talk about my pop-culture interests — specifically all things sci-fi, all things Marvel, my love of the original Matrix movie and complete disdain for the other Matrix movies. Students often find common ground with me and other faculty through shared interests, or by trying to understand my affinity for things with which they have no familiarity!”

A conversation about Star Trek could change your life
“My greatest accomplishment as a teacher (yes — I stand by that) was inspiring a student to watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and asking them to come discuss it with me in the office. Our discussion — which was intended to just be about Star Trek — led to others regarding future courses they might like. I was even able to offer them some career advice stemming from our conversation.

“I find my openness about the things I enjoy allows students the freedom to discuss whatever is on their minds, and this can lead us to connect on different levels that can ultimately help me better understand and support students.”

If you’re interested in what a faculty member is teaching, let them know!
“Apart from discussing movies and pop culture, I have often had students reach out to me to ask deeper questions about the real-world applications of what they learn in class. I have always found this to be a great way to form a relationship with faculty as we want to help students succeed both within and beyond the classroom.”