Over 50 new tenured, tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty members attended the September 16 orientation kick-off lunch. They were joined by President Wiewel, the deans, vice provosts and me. President Wiewel shared information about PSU’s current strategic planning effort, facts about the university, and accomplishments of the past year. I spoke about how we all support our new faculty, the resources available, challenges we face, and academic goals for the coming year. During the Q&A, our new faculty asked about our commitment to research, how our budget model works, and how earthquake resistant our buildings are.
The luncheon was an opportunity for new faculty to meet colleagues from their own department and from other departments. We helped “break the ice” with an activity I learned from CUPA Professor Margaret Neal. Faculty took a penny from a pile on the table and shared with their tablemates something that happened to them the year the penny was minted. We learned a lot about each other in a short amount of time. There was also some humor at my table when a new faculty member drew a penny minted in 1964–before they were born!
An Information Fair followed the lunch. New faculty had the chance to interact with colleagues from 17 campus offices/groups; each having representatives at tables sharing information and answering questions. Our new faculty so appreciated the interactive format and a chance to have meaningful conversations. I want to thank the following offices and groups for taking the time to be there:
- Advising and Career Services
- Disability Resource Center and Testing Center
- Enrollment Management and Student Affairs
- Faculty Senate
- Human Resources
- Institute for Sustainable Solutions
- Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion
- Office of Graduate Studies
- Office of Information Technology
- Office of International Affairs
- PSU Foundation
- Research and Strategic Partnerships
- Office of Academic Innovation
- University Library
Prizes at Information Fair
Faculty attending the Information Fair got a star in their “passport” for each table they visited. Anyone who had 12 or more stars in their passport was eligible for prizes in a drawing. The organizer of the event, Donna Bergh, post her retirement, generously handed out stars to anyone who fell short to make sure all new faculty were eligible for the drawing. Prizes included tickets donated by the College of the Arts to any event, football tickets donated by Athletics (go Viks!), book store gift cards, t-shirts from the Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion, lunch with the President, and breakfast, lunch or drinks with me. Moreover, all new faculty left with a coupon for a free drink at Starbucks.
By no means does the brief orientation session we provided to full-time faculty, or the one PSUFA provided to part-time faculty, fulfill all our faculty members’ needs to be successful at PSU. They are just a start. Our faculty are the greatest asset we have at PSU and every single one of us has an obligation to make sure our new faculty are welcomed, supported, included, know all the resources available, and provided the space to ask questions. Feel free to share the ways you and your departments are supporting our new faculty on this blog space.