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How to Help New Faculty

Research and teaching suffer when colleges and universities fail to properly “socialize” junior faculty, according to Promotion and Tenure: Community and Socialization in Academe by William G. Tierney and Estela M. Bensimon.

Here are some basic – but frequently overlooked – steps for helping new professors flourish in a department or institution:

* Establish ongoing forums for new faculty to seek advice and discuss their needs.

* Have the dean (or chairman) meet with each candidate every year to discuss problems and propose remedies.

* Establish a clear process for how often and by what means faculty members’ teaching will be observed in the classroom.

* Provide incentives for senior faculty to serve as mentors and consider how their performance in this capacity might be evaluated.

* Understand that individuals from underrepresented groups may be called on frequently to serve as role models – counseling minority and women students and serving on committees – so take care not to overburden them with extraneous assignments.

* Explain what the institution and department can do to help find employment for faculty members’ partners, since accepting a teaching position often involves relocating.

* Offer information about housing, schools and day care.

* Provide sample syllabi for courses taught by faculty.

* Complement formal and written tenure information with informal communication.

* Introduce new faculty to others with similar research interests.

* Establish a friendly, open atmosphere in the department.

* Invite new faculty members to lunch, since women and minorities often get left out of informal social circles.

How to Help New Faculty

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