Supporting our students is extremely important to me. I am more than happy to write a letter of recommendation for students who meet the following criteria:

•   You should have fully completed at least one class with me. I cannot write a letter for a current first-time student, as I won’t have an adequate sense of your academic abilities before you complete the term. Two or more classes are ideal, so I can speak to your consistent performance across classes and time.

•   You should have earned a grade of an A (ideally) or B (acceptable) in my classes. High grades in my classes indicates that I can endorse your academic skills, which makes for a stronger letter on my part. If you earned lower than a B, it’s probably not a good idea to get a letter from me and you should find an instructor for whom you were a high performer.

•   I must have a sense of the person that you are beyond your academics. Ask yourself the following: Did you actively engage in discussion and ask questions in class? Did you come and make use of my office hours? Were there other ways you left a lasting, positive impression?

•   By asking me for a letter, you are giving me consent to discuss your performance and my experience with you, quantitatively and qualitatively, in my courses and to provide the third party with an honest accounting of your academic abilities and your prospects for success in the future.

•   IMPORTANT: I need your request in an email, and at least two weeks to craft and send your letter. Tenure-line faculty schedules are busy with responsibilities of instruction, research, and service. Also, in my case, there’s coordination of the photojournalism sequence. Given all of that, the required time is imperative in order to remain effective and serve everyone’s needs.  I need as much lead time as possible. Two weeks is the minimum amount of time for me to consider writing for you.

•   Don’t ask for a recommendation letter unless you’re absolutely positive that you’re going to follow through with your application. Do as much homework as necessary to make sure that you are committed to pursuit of the opportunity enough to warrant an application, as writing support letters takes considerable time and effort by faculty.

If I am to write a recommendation, I need a few things from you:

•   Organize all of your important information together, including key points and qualities you’d hope I’d discuss.

•   I need to know the nature of your application – include a description of the organization/scholarship/program to which you are applying.

•   Include the deadline for the letter to be postmarked/received, method by which I am to submit the letter.

•   If you are applying to more than one program at a time, you should give me a detailed, organized list of all the program sites to which you are applying.