New Thoughts on Supporting New Faculty

Academic Leader

Too often, faculty development occurs in isolation, with a focus on the individual's interests and needs. New faculty are particularly vulnerable to this isolated form of professional development, as they are frequently left to their own devices to learn the nuances of academia, how to negotiate the culture, and how to meet the ensuing expectations. Many institutions address this need with orientation sessions and/or faculty mentor programs, where tenured faculty members are paired with new faculty to provide individual support. In these situations, however, the support provided by the mentor can be inconsistent, based on the motivation, personality, and knowledge of the mentor assigned. In addition, when there is a sizable increase in new faculty hires, the challenge and opportunities of acculturating a large group of new faculty requires a more systematic approach.

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