Should academics use smileys ☺in their communications (in different contexts)?

Monday 11 June 2018
Ben Marder; Senior Lecturer; University of Edinburgh Business School


As University staff, we use smileys (☺) in communications with our friends and family but generally not when communicating with students as this is generally viewed as not professional. This seminar presents recent research conducted by Dr Ben Marder from the Business School to understand the implications of smiley usage in communication with students (i.e. impressions they form of the sender, teacher evaluations, response to invited behaviours). The research involves six separate studies, five experiments and a qualitative verification phase, together which explore smiley usage by different types of University staff (i.e. job title, age, prestige of institutions) in different contexts (e.g. general email, dissertation supervision and electronic feedback).

The research concludes it is time for us to ‘get down with the kids’ and smile in our communications ☺.