Starting a new teaching position can be challenging, but your mentor will help you to settle in and find your path. In addition to the invaluable guidance you’ll receive, we have some advice to help you hit the ground running:
Contact your mentor as often as you would like. It’s probably never as much as you think.
Ask all the questions you want. It’s better to be informed than to blunder.
Don’t limit your questions to your assigned mentor. A chair, another junior colleague, a colleague from another department, a dean: whoever you feel comfortable with.
Don’t take on too much at once. While committee and department work are important for your tenure file, and excellent ways to meet colleagues, take it a little at a time.
Learn to say no. You might get quite a few requests from faculty and from students to get involved in various campus activities. If you feel this would in any way overstretch you, it’s all right to say no. Your mentor or chair can help you achieve a good balance.
Be clear on deadlines and other important dates, and give yourself a little lead time for everything.
If you find that you cannot, for any reason at all, work with your Mentor, don’t hesitate to contact your Chair or Dean, who will assign a new one.
Keep a record of all your accomplishments in teaching, scholarship, and service. Put everything in a file right away, and this will make your task easier when you prepare for your reappointment.
Get to know colleagues in your department and outside. When you can, take advantage of lectures, exhibits, and performances, as well as the activities specifically planned for new faculty. Be careful, however, not to fall in to the black hole of chronic event-going, to the detriment of teaching, scholarship, and life in general.
Get to know other first-year faculty.
Watch someone else teach. The Committee on Teaching and Advisement has a list of faculty members willing to have colleagues come in. Even if you feel your teaching is fine, it’s always useful to see how someone else does it.
Ask a colleague to observe one of your classes. No matter how long you’ve been teaching, it’s good to get feedback.
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