Top Ten List for Being a Better Faculty Member

Just when I thought I was done with orientation sessions at UNT… I attended my OWN “new faculty” orientation.

welcome new faculty

{UPDATE: For those who are not aware, I finished my PhD this summer, graduated, and accepted a 9-month faculty appointment with the UNT College of Information as a Lecturer for the Department of Learning Technologies. Yay!}

During the day, information about the campus, expectations and advice was shared by a number of administrative leaders from the campus.

ten

One talk, from Dr. Warren Burggren, the Top 10 List for Being a Better Faculty Member, provided some sound advice, so I thought I would share this with you. I think it applies to new faculty, returning faculty, and others starting a new job in higher education.

10. Get to know the lay of the land. Beyond your office or workspace, get to know other locations on campus. Walk around and explore your college/university. Find out where buildings and resources are located.

9. Meet and greet in your department. Get to know fellow faculty members. Introduce yourself. Starting a new position is a great time to network and meet others in your department, on your campus, and in your discipline.

8. Know the rules… or ask about them. There are a lot of rules at every institution. Be sure to be informed, or know where to go for help or who to ask questions. Don’t be overwhelmed – just be smart.

7. Talk frequently to your chair. They are an ally and confident. Your chair will be there to support and guide your development within the department and your discipline. Set regular meetings/check-ins with your chair as their schedule allows.

6. Most of your frame of reference is still as a graduate student. Make the full transition to full time faculty. Please don’t feel like you need to socialize with your students – rather get social with your peer group. Get involved in faculty networking and social groups. Inappropriate interactions with students is something administration has to deal with, and they would prefer not to manage this.

5. Get a life. Even though you are working hard during your first faculty appointment, don’t forget to play hard as well. Take care of yourself. Find time to do things for you. #TreatYoSelf

4. Stay OR get organized. Don’t over commit. Manage your time effectively. Learn the ability to say no, and feel free to borrow the following phrase when asked to do something: “I would love to do ____ however; I don’t think I am being the best faculty member I can be.”

3. Teach and teach well. Focus on excellence in the classroom. Include solid bookends in your semester, i.e. the first and last lecture. Find something to talk to your students about during both classes. Make it experiential. Engage the students in the first lecture and final lecture. Be dynamic and encourage learners to want more.

2. Take pride in your university and community. Be part of the activities around the campus and city. There are a number of ways to be involved in the community and engage in school spirit. #GoMeanGreen.

1. Keep a sense of humor. The university is a complex hierarchical organization. You will want to take all things in stride. Be sure to laugh, and let things role off you.

Others offer advice for entering into academia here, herehere, here, and HERE. What advice would you give a to a new faculty member? Please share.

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