As any good college informer will say, Reed does not have any student teaching assistants; a professor (almost always with a doctorate in his or her possession) leads every lecture, conference discussion, and seminar. However, what often gets overlooked in an analysis of Reed is our penchant for first names. Our professors are not simply professors: They are Pancho, Natalia, Steve, Bill, and a slew of other friendly-faced first names. All students agree that before they are scholars and instructors, professors are friends and educators. At Reed, no professor is an ivory tower; every person who educates at Reed College works to further the comprehension of any student in need. Accordingly, each professor devotes numerous hours each day to aiding students that require assistance.
As an academic institution, Reed revolves around the concept of the conference system. Each class runs in a conference setting, in which a minimal number of students (10 to 25) and a professor critically discuss the subject of the class. In the conference setting, most Reed professors attempt to guide the conference of students without dominating the discussion. Although some professors may stray from the conference style by either over-guiding or under-guiding a conference, most Reed professors genuinely want to discuss what students think. In the end, Reed professors are no different from Reed students—they simply want to pursue knowledge with the help of others.