June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
New Engineering Educators
13.886.1 - 13.886.5
Meeting the Mentoring Needs of New Faculty: An Interdisciplinary Experience
Every new job presents its challenges, especially when an employee has the feeling of being isolated. This paper will describe how a campus-wide faculty mentoring and networking initiative evolved from a one-day new faculty orientation into a university-supported new faculty cohort program utilizing web resources, brown-bag lunch series, and faculty development workshops. This cohort is not limited to engineering, but is an interdisciplinary group spanning several colleges within the university. The cohort started with faculty who met at the orientation and scheduled monthly informal gatherings at which they discussed general first-year experience and acclimation issues. The group then expanded to include mentors, including the Faculty Senate President and colleagues of the initial members. The addition of the Faculty Senate President as a mentor to the new faculty cohort enabled visibility of these new faculty issues to the faculty at large as well as to the administration. The group now serves as an advisory group for the Faculty Development Senate Subcommittee. The concept of the evolution from an informal group gathering periodically to discuss new faculty issues to a university recognized association of new faculty and mentors is one of developing a centralized resource enabling the smooth transition of new faculty through self-help and the guidance and knowledge of seasoned faculty.
Background and Institutional Expectations
This effort began very casually, almost accidentally, when a group of newly hired faculty members met at the New Faculty Orientation provided by the university. [University Name] is a midsized regional university serving a largely rural community in [location]. The university is growing and has recently added its first doctorate degree, an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, as well as undergraduate degrees in engineering. As the university expands, so do the expectations placed on the faculty. [University Name] has traditionally been a teaching institution, but it is evolving into a teaching and research institution. Thus, the tenure and promotion standards of the university are requiring more emphasis in the area of research. Therefore, the expectations on the new faculty today are different from new faculty of 10 years ago. Another issue facing new faculty is the simple logistics of university operations and teaching/research efforts. Across the university, the level of administratively directed mentoring of new faculty varies greatly. For example, in the College of Education, mentors are formally assigned to new faculty members to help with day-to-day operational issues, whereas in other departments the faculty are simply handed the keys to their offices. Standard operational issues such as how to write a syllabus, how to submit grades, where to find research opportunities, how to incorporate technology into the classroom, where to find office supplies, are often not addressed by departmental administration. The establishment of an informal mentoring and networking group helps fill the gaps that exist for many new faculty, and the interdisciplinary nature of the group provides a broader view of university operations and expectations.
Jones, B. E., & Martinez, D. (2008, June), Meeting The Mentoring Needs Of New Faculty: An Interdisciplinary Experience Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4176
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