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:
- Human Resources, the New Faculty Orientation Fair, Jumpstart Program, Faculty Fellows Program and OAI D2L staff/admin persons are “awesome.”
- Faculty enjoy working with PSU’s diverse students and the quality they bring to the classroom and curriculum.
- Faculty are able to explore research interests and get great support from the Office of Research and Strategic Partnerships.
- The university values teaching.
- The Library holds a breadth of resources for students and faculty, and the staff are extremely helpful.
We also heard:
- There are departmental differences in how welcoming climate and culture is.
- It is difficult to find people who can answer questions and/or explain resources.
- There are limited opportunities for faculty to discuss and share information within and across colleges regarding projects, research, and resources.
- Lack of research and grant writing time due to other demands.
- Departmental committee and service demands are high in the first year.
- University business processes can be time-consuming and difficult; assistance requires patience and persistence.
Faculty who attended the lunch or responded to the survey did provide suggestions on how we can improve the first-year experience for faculty at PSU:
- More communication and information from the college beyond the contract letter.
- New faculty should receive an email list of University resources with web links and contact information.
- Travel grants should change to be awarded at the college level and used for more than one conference and over more than one year.
- More programming is needed on work-life balance, and writing and professional development in relation to promotion and tenure.
- Individual consultation opportunities are needed to understand the tenure-review process.
We have shared a more detailed list of comments with the President’s Executive Committee, the Academic Leadership Team, associate deans, and department chairs and directors. It behooves all of us to understand what we can do to make all faculty feel welcome, supported and successful.
Here are a few resources that respond to concerns voiced by our new faculty about connecting to colleagues and learning about resources. Those who have been at PSU for some time might also find these resources of value.
- Second Thursday Social Club
- The President’s Open Office Hours at the Benson House
- Provost Drop-in Conversation
- The PSU Currently
- RSP Quarterly Review
- Office of Academic Innovation
- PSU’s Faculty Mentoring Program
I welcome hearing about experiences and suggestions from all faculty on how we as a university can continue to improve and make PSU a great place to work.