Faculty Handbook 2023-2024

I.4.g. Preparing for the arrival of a new faculty member

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.

Helping your new colleague right after hiring

  • Get 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.
  • Find 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.
  • Foster 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 and opportunities.
  • Let the students know about them. Promote their classes with your advisees, and encourage colleagues to do the same.

Helping your new colleague over the summer

  • Help 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 option.
  • Help 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.
  • Monitor 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.
  • Welcome 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.
  • Foster 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.
  • Be 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.