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Since graduating I have maintained contact with a number of professors at my university and have gone back on recruiting trips. I check in on the courses being offered from time to time and have noticed several have changed.

Can asking for information or syllabi on classes be rude or inappropriate now that I am formally recruiting at the university in a professional setting?

EDIT: To clarify, I am not recruiting for the University, I am recruiting for a private company at the University's career fairs, etc.

  • When I was a student I didn't have any trouble getting a syllabus from an instructor when I was in the process of deciding whether to take a course. But recently, helping my son choose courses, I've noticed that it is getting harder to get syllabi. I got the impression there is a growing trend to keep the syllabus close to one's chest. Which seems ridiculous to me -- but you may want to take this into account. – aparente001 Aug 29 '15 at 0:54
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I don't see why it would be an issue.

I've been in a similar position in the past - recruiting at the university that I graduated from. On every trip, I made it a point to visit the department office to catch up with the department chair (who was a professor when I was there), the academic advisers, and the professors. I never asked for a syllabus for courses, but I did make it a point to talk about changes to course content. I felt that doing this would help me stay closer to the department and college, but also would make me better at recruiting and interviewing since I would have a better understanding of what the students were learning in the classroom.

I would encourage you to, somehow, stay in touch with changes to the classes that are core in the departments that you recruit from so you can be a better interviewer. I would also encourage you to share this information with HR and hiring managers so they know the capabilities. If there are new courses or new content, it could make the hiring process for interns or new graduates easier.

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    As far as it goes, this is a reasonable answer. However it's unlikely you want to limit yourself to having access to only the professors and syllabi for classes you personally took. In most hiring situations, you'd want more than just that. – Joe Strazzere Aug 26 '15 at 17:30
  • @JoeStrazzere The question asks if it's OK to ask a subset of people. Should you limit yourself to the professors that you took courses from? No, probably not. But is it OK to ask for information from them if you've maintained contact with them? Absolutely, and it should be encouraged. – Thomas Owens Aug 26 '15 at 18:37
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Can asking for information or syllabi on classes be rude or inappropriate now that I am formally recruiting at the university in a professional setting?

In most universities in my part of the world (the US), there is a recruitment/placement/career fair office. That should be your first stop, rather than going directly to the professors themselves.

These are the folks who can get you the information you need, or can tell you how to get it, without bothering the professors themselves unless necessary.

  • This may be good in general, but this is about the specific case where the asker attended the university and continued to be in contact with professors following graduation. If you have that close contact in your network, you should use it. – Thomas Owens Aug 26 '15 at 17:24
  • @ThomasOwens - my suggestion is still to learn about and work with the placement offices of the university - perhaps in addition to the personal contacts with friendly professors. These offices are professionals, they are there to help students, and are there to help you. They can open doors for you in many cases. Avoiding them would be a mistake, IMHO. – Joe Strazzere Aug 26 '15 at 17:28
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    I agree that you shouldn't avoid them. But your first stop should be people that you personally or professionally know. They could make the appropriate introduction or point you to the right people in other groups if you ask them for some help. – Thomas Owens Aug 26 '15 at 18:38
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If you are recruiting for the University, it would appear to me that asking this question is appropriate to your job and position within the University. Ask away.

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    Thanks very much for your response -- I've added a clarifying edit which may change your answer. I apologize for the ambiguity – mkemp6 Aug 26 '15 at 16:52

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