You and your department
colleagues will feel great relief when you successfully conclude a search, but
for the person you’ve just hired, the transition and new challenges have just
begun. You can do a number of things to smooth the transition and ensure a successful
first semester at Hendrix. Mostly, you should stay in contact with new hire, as
they prepare to relocate and start teaching in your department. The first order
of business is determining which courses they will teach and getting them on
the schedule for the coming year. After that, you can help them with any number
of logistical matters during the summer, such as shipping, moving, getting them
settled into an office and lab, and helping them to navigate campus services.
You might also keep them posted about relevant college programming, such as
Fall Faculty Conference and new faculty orientation.
Employee Action Form (EAF)
These forms are the way that new hires get assigned an
office, keys, a computer, an email address, etc. When Academic Affairs sends an
appointment to a new hire (full-time as well as adjuncts), an EAF is begun by
Academic Affairs and sent to the academic affairs administrative assistant who
consults the department chair about office space, computer needs, specialized
software needs, and keys. The completed form should be sent back to Academic
Affairs. Keys, telephone number, email address, and computer are made available
during the summer months.
your new colleague right after hiring
in touch personally. Call them to express your excitement
about hiring them and, more practically, to discuss which courses they will
teach in the coming year. This conversation could follow previous discussions
of their teaching interests and proposed courses during the interview.
a good office. While chairs do not have authority
in assigning offices, consult with Academic Affairs to find the right office
and lab space (if needed) for the new hire. Try to orient them close to the
“center of gravity” within the department, near to the Chair or Administrative
Assistant, if possible.
the transition when hiring an existing colleague into a new position. In
the case of a term faculty member to a tenure-track position, discuss the
transition from one role to the other, articulating their new responsibilities
the students know about them. Promote their classes with your
advisees, and encourage colleagues to do the same.
your new colleague over the summer
with logistics. Stay in touch, assisting them, if
necessary and within reason, with the logistics of shipping and moving. This
could involve helping to move books or equipment into a new office or lab, or
making sure they are working with Human Resources to find the right housing
with campus services. Attend to the small but important
details such as office keys, identification cards, computer and network
services, and access to teams. Since
your Administrative Assistant is only available for limited hours in the
summer, make sure to touch base with Academic Affairs if you need help with any
of the onboarding issues. While other staff members will handle these things
directly, you can help your new colleague stay on top of them and smooth any
glitches that occur.
enrollment in your new colleague’s classes. A new
professor can represent an unknown quantity to students, leading to a
reluctance to enroll. Make adjustments to the schedule if necessary.
them personally. After their arrival, treat them to
an informal lunch with you and, possibly, other members of the department. See
if they need help with anything and ease their transition from job candidate to
colleague. Let them know what they can expect from new faculty orientation and
their arrival in the department. Help them learn about Arkansas by telling them
about interesting things to do in the area.
social interactions. Use social occasions, within and
outside the college, to introduce your new colleague to members of other
departments and programs and college staff.
conscious of the line between smoothing their transition and hand-holding?
Take your cue from your new colleague. Offer your help. If
they need it, they’ll take you up. If not, they won’t. At the same time, if
they fail to respond to crucial emails or phone calls from the administration,
particularly about important matters like their teaching schedule, you should
reach out to them more aggressively. Remind them that getting a good start
depends on quickly responding to communication.