What Faculty Have to Say About PSU Experiences

faculty-experiencesIn late January, I held an annual brown bag lunch for second and third year, full-time faculty to learn about their experiences at PSU. We followed up with a survey for those unable to attend.

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:

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.

Suggestions
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.

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.

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2 thoughts on “What Faculty Have to Say About PSU Experiences

  1. I think the most effective way to orient new faculty is to assign mentors from within the same department. I wonder how consistently we do this across units.

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