Tips on Getting Off to a Good Start at Armstrong
During your first month:
- Introduce yourself to the faculty and staff in your department.
- Participate in at least one faculty forum or workshop.
- Invite to lunch one new faculty member whom you met during orientation.
- Don't hesitate to ask questions - of anyone.
- For each course that you teach, prepare a syllabus that clearly and specifically identifies course objectives, methods, assignments, and policies: provide sufficient detail so that students aren't left guessing as to what you expect of them.
- If you have been assigned to teach a large lecture class, put extra effort into careful planning and organization.
- Make sure that your students are familiar with and understand Armstrong's Honor Code and Code of Conduct.
- Become familiar with such student support services as Disability Services, Counseling Services, and Career Services - and be prepared to direct your students to the appropriate offices.
- Even if you're not teaching online or hybrid-online classes, develop a simple web site with contact information for students and pdf copies of your syllabi.
- If you're not familiar with all of the software on your computer, take advantage of the training sessions offered by IT Services.
- Begin drafting a research plan, setting a timeline and establishing clear goals.
- Get out of your office now and then: visit the Writing Center, the Advisement Center, and the Teaching & Learning Center.
- Consider this bit of advice from Robert Boice's The New Faculty Member (2000): "Moderate over attachment and overreaction: learn to seek out and learn from criticism while reacting less emotionally to it."
- Above all else, maintain your sense of humor.
During your first semester:
- Schedule specific times during the week for research.
- Schedule specific times during the week for conferences and advisement sessions with students.
- Although you won't be invited to serve on any university-wide committees until your second year as a full-time faculty member, fulfill your service requirement on one or two departmental committees.
- Attend a grant-writing workshop, and consider applying for an internal grant.
- Maintain a teaching portfolio with all class materials, assignments, syllabi, and exams.
- Attend an advisement workshop even if you haven't yet been assigned any advisees.
- Arrange a meeting with your department head to discuss requirements and procedures for promotion and tenure.
- Invite a colleague to visit one of your classes and comment on your teaching.
- Save supportive e-mails and letters of thanks from students and colleagues.
- Attend the end-of-term dinner hosted by the Faculty Development Committee, and exchange a few war stories about your first hundred days at Armstrong.