Voices of early career faculty at PSU

listening 2In March, President Wim Wiewel, Vice President Jon Fink, Vice Provost Shelly Chabon and I held a brown bag lunch for full-time faculty to celebrate their first or second year anniversary at PSU.

What we asked:

  • What went well your first/second year at PSU?
  • What did not go so well your first/second year at PSU?
  • What suggestions do you have for how we can make improvements for new faculty at PSU?

What we learned:
The discussion group format provided lively conversations and ideas flowed freely. We learned a lot about the experiences of new faculty. Some common themes that emerged:

  • Orientation/Welcome/Mentoring (university, college and departmental): These are very good at times, but more is needed, especially in the area of mentoring.
  • Connections: Meaningful relationships with colleagues (both faculty and staff) are greatly needed and appreciated.
  • Community Engagement/Sustainability: These are recognized as effective magnets for students and bridges to community and other faculty.
  • Library: Recognition of high-quality service, but holdings need to match scholarship and research goals.
  • Quality of Students: Recognition of the great students at Portland State.
  • Policies/Information: The need for establishing written policies and guidelines is important; existing guidelines should be clearer and often need updating.
  • Research/Scholarship: Early career faculty appreciate the helpful and effective administrative research support, but find it hard to balance research and teaching.
  • Support for My Work: A general need for more support for early career faculty.

Moving ahead
We have sent the full list of experiences and ideas generated from the event to all invitees, department chairs and the Academic Leadership Team (ALT).

Action has been taken to share with early career faculty a few of the valuable resources we already have on topics we heard about. These include opportunities through the Office of Academic Innovation, PDXScholar and PSU’s Faculty Mentoring Program.

The President, Vice President Fink, Vice Provost Chabon, ALT and I have started working on how we can better promote and foster interdisciplinary work, expand the mentoring program, improve and update policies and create more opportunities for social interactions. There is more work to do.

We want to hear from you
We welcome suggestions and experiences from all faculty, new and seasoned, on how we as a university can continue to improve and make PSU a great place to work.


One thought on “Voices of early career faculty at PSU

  1. What I did with my copy of “Brown Bag Anniversary Gathering of 2012-13 and 2013-14 New Faculty—March 2, 2015”

    Partly out of curiosity and with some trepidation I read over the Provost et al.’s list of themes, comments, and responses from 1st and 2nd year faculty. I wondered how closely or how much of it corresponded to the experience of one of the recent hires in our dept, esp. some of the entries in the “Other” category, e.g., “fear of SCH”. I felt that it would be a non-threatening way to get some feedback on the experience of starting at PSU. I also suggested her mentor might want to talk over the list with her.


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