Academia Role-Play:

Conference with a Professor


Bruce Patton

Two-party short awareness-building exercise in which student and professor meeting regarding problems arising from a borrowed manuscript and the student's research aspirations


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.


A law student has an appointment with the only professor who has given the student an A+. The student has two objectives for the meeting–getting a recommendation and a research assistant-ship with the professor. The professor is currently writing a book on copyright law and computer software, a subject of great interest to the student, who in fact borrowed the professor's manuscript, and has kept it longer than agreed. The professor does not know why the appointment was made, but remembers the student as being intelligent and personable, and thinks that perhaps it is the same student who borrowed the missing manuscript. A search for this draft manuscript was initiated sometime ago. Since that time, the professor has had to rewrite many portions from scratch.



The two parties meet for approximately 5-15 minutes. Either party can be given additional role instructions about the kind of person to play. Videotaping is helpful for review. The exercise can be run twice, with the parties switching roles in the second round.



  • This exercise focuses on interpersonal skills and psychological awareness. How do different individuals approach each role? What does that suggest about their psychological interests? Are they effective? Why or why not?
  • There is also a clear opportunity and considerable incentive for misrepresentation by the student. How do different people handle this, and what consequences does misrepresentation have in their verbal and nonverbal behavior?
  • This exercise presents a challenge worthy of a skilled negotiator: to tell the truth in a way that strengthens the relationship and allows the other issues to be dealt with positively, each on merits.



Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for the:

  • Professor
  • Student



Agenda control; Apologies; Communication; Credibility; Emotions; Ethics; Fairness; Information exchange; Interpersonal skills; Issue control; Misrepresentation; Nonverbal communication; Personality; Power imbalance; Psychological games; Relationship; Risk aversion; Separating the people from the problem

Conference with a Professor Attributes

Time required: 30 minutes - 1 hour
Number of participants: 2
Teams involved: No
Agent present: None
Neutral third party present: None
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: No
Non-English version available: German