Supporting Your New Faculty
Every August, all new faculty members participate in an orientation program through the Office of the Provost. You may also want to offer a more specialized orientation within the department or unit.
At the general sessions, new faculty members get acquainted with Mason, meet their colleagues, and hear critical information about their roles as scholars, teachers, and mentors. These sessions focus on such topics as:
- Teaching. The essentials of creating a class syllabus, hands-on training to build a Blackboard course site, and the roles, responsibilities, and resources of working with students.
- Human Resources. What the department does and can do for faculty.
- Research. As a Carnegie-ranked R-1 university, we provide the resources needed to conduct in-depth research. We also have a session on how faculty can mentor students in their research.
- Grant writing. Our Office of Sponsored Programs can help walk faculty through the proposal process.
Building on the information offered at the general orientation, you can highlight and expand on what's important to their success in your department.
Creating a Welcoming Environment
Some units have extensive, multi-day orientation sessions, while others follow a more compressed schedule. Whichever you choose, your new faculty members will need to hear what's expected of them and what responsibilities they face.
When you're planning your unit orientation sessions, consider:
- Feedback from current faculty members. Talk to them about what they wish they'd heard when they first arrived. Each department has its own way of doing certain things. If we share this information with new hires, it'll make things easier for them and for us.
- Feedback from peers and colleagues. If you know of a unit in which the new faculty seems to have an easier transition than most, find out what that department is doing, and see if you can adapt those strategies to work for you.
- Joint sessions. Several colleges coordinate workshops for new faculty members. Take a look at the issues, topics, and concerns they discuss, and see if they'd also work for your unit.
- Year-long support. New hires can be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information they receive on arrival. Think about holding monthly brown bag lunches, one-on-one mentoring, or January retreats and workshops as alternative ways to educate faculty.
- Faculty Resources page on your website. This information is good to have as a reference for everyone, not just new hires.
Each semester, Mason schedules a day-long orientation session for new adjunct faculty. Visit For New Faculty for information on dates, registration, and more.
Graduate Teaching Assistants
If your department uses graduate teaching assistants, you might want to set up an orientation or workshop session for them. If you're unsure how to do that, contact the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning for help.