In redesigning the orientation program, I am struggling to envision from a new faculty’s perspective, how to decipher our university’s distinct student bodies, our students’ role models for successful attitudes and behaviors, their unique challenges on their time, their preconceptions of what it means to learn, their preconceptions for what it means to teach, their expectations for their courses and professors, their reasoning for choosing their majors, their thoughts and emotions when they no longer can progress in their majors, their potential for isolation from the campus and its opportunities, the factors that impact their opportunities when they graduate, …. and how the university operates as a system to improve the likelihood of student success.
Here are some of the campus-led program topics I’m imagining:
- student demographics and their retention and graduation rates
- teaching students with different at-risk characteristics
- classroom management strategies for diverse student bodies
- how to structurally prevent the likelihood of academic dishonesty
- how to leverage the course-management system for student success
- collecting course data for more effective changes
- how to interpret student evaluations
- student pathways, bottlenecks, and the system of student movement
- the philosophic trajectory of academic advising: where we are heading
- how and why the university connects with the community
- RTP as a tool for student, faculty, and institutional success
- campus as a collaborative community with a shared purpose: student success
- emotional intelligence and conflict management with colleagues
- retention to the second year and beyond
I’m also hoping to brand each year with, for instance, an “Incoming Class of 2014” T-shirt. Depending on the number of new faculty, perhaps we can provide them with individual teaching consultations.
We’re still early in the design process, and a lot of people will play a role in the program’s ultimate shape, but I truly believe we can orient new faculty to a systems-thinking paradigm that will help the institution stay proactive and innovative in fostering student success, while bolstering faculty retention and success.