As their name suggests, school teachers tend to concentrate on teaching and educating students. They might spend a large part of their working day in the classroom engaging with students, and they are generally accessible during (and sometimes after) school hours. The many tasks they do outside the classroom - like preparing and planning lessons or marking work - are often focused around teaching and learning.
But at uni, lecturers must do more than teach students. Teaching is only one of a broad range of responsibilities your lecturers have (see the list of what lecturers do in the right-hand column). So, if your lecturer is not in her or his office when you drop in, it's not because they are avoiding students.
Uni lecturers don't tell you everything you need to know. In lectures especially, their role is to provide the basic framework of information/ knowledge that you need in order to discover things for yourself.
Most lecturers or tutors have consultation hours during which they are available to students (they are usually stipulated in course outlines). If you want to speak to your tutors or lecturers, either make an appointment or visit them during these consultation times. If you turn up outside these hours, your lecturer or tutor may not be there, or may not be able to speak with you.
If you are able to contact your lecturer or tutor by email, be aware that they may not respond outside working hours or on weekends.
What do lecturers do?
* undertake the research their academic position requires
* publish articles in academic journals
* publish books
* supervise the research of honours/ masters/ PhD students
* referee articles submitted for publication to academic journals
* write and deliver lectures
* prepare and conduct tutorials
* prepare course materials
* administer online learning environments
* develop new programs
* develop IT literacy
* student advocacy
* administer courses
* mark assignments
* consult with individual students
* lead field trips
* sit on various uni and professional committees
* collaborate with outside bodies & institutions
* give guest lectures at other universities
* attend/organise conferences
* advise government and business
* undertake overseas study trips
* apply for grants and fellowships
* give expert opinions to the media