Ask any faculty development professional about the beginning of a new school year, and four out of five will talk about New Faculty Orientation. (The other one will wonder how on earth New Yorkers are able to take vacations in August.)
As they say on Twitter: same.
At BMCC our NFO was a day and a half, which allowed for a good amount of time for the group (around 2 dozen) to interact with each other and with our staff. Our first day was just the afternoon, followed by a reception on the 13th floor terrace of Fiterman Hall, a space that not many people get to see very often.
We reduced the amount of time people came to “inform” our new colleagues about programs and services, and instead used active learning techniques to talk about common issues that might arise and what services were available to faculty and students to address those. Early feedback indicates that the time together was appreciated.
The orientation came two days before the start of the semester, so new faculty had time to get IDs and meet with department colleagues if they had not already done so.
The orientation continues throughout the fall. We’re piloting some short-term mentoring opportunities this year: engaging subsets of the new faculty group with three mentors from the faculty. The cohorts will meet four times and the whole group is scheduled to meet three more times in fall.
Finally, we’ve added a Blackboard “community” to the orientation that will last throughout the fall. The community is run like an online course, and we have more resources and activities posted there that include issues of tenure and promotion, research and scholarly activities, and of course teaching.
Here’s a piece our public affairs department posted about some of our new colleagues: Read More.