I will try to keep the situation short, but I am currently not on the best of terms with a graduate school professor.

The term is over now and I have been on good terms with her until today. As part of this course, students must attend an extra set of lectures outside of class and write a very brief report (mainly as proof we had actually attended and analyzed the topic). There was one lecture I was unable to attend due to a conflict with a class and thus informed my professor (in person) on two occasions. She had told me that she would upload the transcript for the presentation online. Yesterday, I had read the transcript and submitted my brief report.

However, she soon contacted me via email and requested I call her. During the phone conversation, she had accused my of deceiving her by pretending I had attended the lecture. I had explained to her that I had read what she posted online as I was unable to attend it. She said that, since I had not explained this in my email, she does not believe me. I do not think our phone conversation ended very well.

This is a very "subjective" course in that her opinion determines our grades. I am wondering if it would be wise to send her an apology email clarifying that it was simply miscommunication on my part?

  • 7
    Is it possible for you to meet with her? This sounds like something better discussed in person, because there dies appear to be a communication issue. Also, is there another faculty member you're on good terms with who also knows her, that you might approach for advice?
    – Jeff
    Dec 2, 2016 at 4:59
  • Unfortunately, I do not know any faculty member that know her. She does not come into school very often at all. Now that class is done for the year, I doubt she will be at school for the remainder of the year. She has had an experience with a student decieving her in the past, which I think may have made her look for it.
    – mp1994
    Dec 2, 2016 at 5:12
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    Then it seems like the best you can do is email that apology. Make sure you're not defensive, and that you acknowledge a mistake, even though deception wasn't your intent.
    – Jeff
    Dec 2, 2016 at 5:17
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    Can you get the other class's professor to write a short note that yes, there was a conflict and that you attended the class that day?
    – mkennedy
    Dec 2, 2016 at 19:18
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    By the way -it isn't uncommon for professors (or anyone) to have a hard time remembering what students 'tell' them in passing in the hall, or in classroom (when they are busy trying to get lecture going or packing up). While it may seem more respectful to 'tell' the faculty in person, the respectful thing to do is to talk to them when they have their 'calendar', 'to-do' list, note-taking handy (i.e., talk to them when they are in their office so that something in writing can be generated - or mention it in class, but do a followup email that they can have for later).
    – Carol
    Apr 17, 2019 at 22:43

2 Answers 2


Whether you can meet with her or not -- and I suggest you try, even if it were via Skype -- I would recommend sending her an email laying out your side. If you do receive a poor grade and you need to seek redress through some formal process, email is evidence that you attempted some explanation. The merit in your explanation is, of course, quite another matter.

Good luck.

  • 1
    My professor is in her mid-80s, and rarely uses the technology we do (besides email and a cell-phone). I doubt she has Skype and I can imagine it's fairly difficult physically for her to get to campus (which is why she only comes here once a week during the semester). But thank you, I will send her an email... hoping she understands (she is quite stubborn as well).
    – mp1994
    Dec 2, 2016 at 14:54
  • @mp1994 - How about a fax or a letter? Dec 3, 2016 at 3:09

Since the term is over now, you can indicate the issue as a concern through the department. You can tell them about your situation which makes you uncomfortable, and recommend them to avoid issues to other students in the future.

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