New faculty gathered at the Bean Broker for the final meeting of the New Faculty Orientation (NFO). Tracy Nobiling, NFO facilitator, led a discussion with the now not-so-new faculty to identify what they considered most useful and least useful aspects of this year’s program experience. The new faculty members shared their perspectives and offered suggestions for ways to improve the program for next year’s new faculty cohort.
The discussion expanded upon feedback the NFO participants submitted via an anonymous, online evaluation of the program’s full-day orientation held prior to the start of fall semester and the hour-length, bi-monthly meetings scheduled during the fall and spring semesters. Points taken from the survey framed the candid discussion.
Survey responses and the subsequent conversation suggest that new faculty have many things in common, that they appreciate and benefit from having structured, collegial opportunities to meet with each other, and that the program is not perceived as overly time-consuming.
Faculty expressed general agreement that the most useful meetings are those focused on explaining college planning, policies, processes, and
procedures as well as those which identify resources (individuals and offices) that support students.
Opinion was split on the value of meetings focused on teaching-related topics. Given the varied levels of new faculty teaching experience, these meetings were considered greatly beneficial to some, but less valuable to others.
The informal discussion underscored the challenges of providing the right balance of topics relevant to all new faculty while coordinating perfectly timed delivery of information just when faculty need it.
The group discussion prompted several suggestions to enhance future NFO experiences and/or CSC teaching overall. Some ideas proposed are:
- Add an agenda item to every meeting to increase time allotted to unstructured discussion and sharing of challenges and successes faculty are experiencing at the moment.
- Add a meeting or event in which a panel of experienced CSC faculty members address what to expect when teaching CSC students and how best to engage them.
- Schedule and promote a regularly scheduled “Teaching Table” to support both new and experienced faculty informal discussions regarding teaching strategies, ideas, and conundrums.
The NFO Program is designed to assist incoming faculty who are new to teaching and/or new to campus with just-in-time guidance and resources for getting settled on campus. Meeting topics aim to introduce new faculty to CSC and support them in navigating college processes, developing a support network, and fostering plans for improving teaching, scholarly and creative activities, and professional service.
One new faculty member expressed that the NFO experience was very helpful and provided some great information that could be used throughout the semesters.
“It was refreshing to be part of a group of faculty that was in the same boat as me, being in the first year of teaching here at CSC, and it helped provide a non-biased look at happenings around the campus. Often times, our views can be distorted and we can get cliqued into our own department and not have to travel outside of it. This was a nice way to branch out and meet new individuals and learn about campus.”