Supporting New Tenure System Faculty
Funding to initiate a new faculty member’s academic career and begin or establish scholarly research is negotiated between the candidate and the university at the time of appointment. These funds are called “start up funds” and are intended to support the “starting up” of a tenure system faculty member’s research, and they have an expiration date. See New Faculty Start-up for more details.
Be sure that you have the newly hired faculty member’s contact information for the summer, as information will be sent to the individual from various offices. The Dean’s Office will contact (or designate the department chair to contact) the new tenure-stream faculty member to discuss computer needs, and confirm the date for the New Faculty Orientation, which is stated in the offer letter. You should work with the Dean’s office to confirm what office space the new faculty member will use and ensure it is readied at the time of the faculty member’s arrival on campus.
You will also need to discuss course assignments and descriptions, technology needs in the classroom, or other matters that demand attention. While it is best not to overburden the new faculty member with emails or phone calls, as s/he might be finishing a dissertation, completing another job, or preparing to move, it is imperative that you impress upon the new hire the importance of getting all of the paperwork submitted as soon as possible so that the faculty member can get a UMass Boston employee ID number assigned. Without the ID the faculty member will not be able to get services essential to start planning courses.
Therefore, plan your communications with the new hire so that they are substantive and necessary, not distracting. On the other hand, let new faculty know that you are available to them if they need questions answered or doubts clarified.
Campus-wide New Faculty Orientations and Assistance
The Office for Faculty Development holds a university-wide new faculty orientation for tenure-stream faculty each August. Faculty will have the opportunity to meet with their academic Dean, the Provost, the Chancellor, the University Librarian, and many other key people of interest to new faculty.
Each month, Human Resources (HR) holds several benefits workshops for all new benefitted employees (the schedule is available on the HR website and new employees can also consult their quick guide for information on enrolling for benefits and they might want to view Benefits at a Glance and some of the other benefit plan descriptions on the HR page before the workshop. For new benefitted employees, there is a 60-day waiting period for health coverage from the Group Insurance Commission. (Note: tenure-system faculty who need coverage during their first two months of employment can ask HR about assistance in covering the gap during the waiting period.)
New faculty will receive assistance with the following, but chairs should check to ensure that these processes are proceeding. Often, particularly for IDs and Email, the process breaks down and new faculty are not able to get IDs and email accounts as soon as they should, making their first few weeks of the semester particularly stressful.
- ID: Once HR has assigned an employee ID number, faculty may obtain their UMass Boston ID at the ID Office. Faculty will be able to obtain an ID at New Faculty Orientation IF they have an employee ID number.
- UMass Boston Email Account: Getting email at UMass Boston is a process that involves HR, IT, your Dean’s Office, the Office of the Provost and your department. It is important that you ensure that this process is progressing. Your department must request an email account for new faculty. This form should be sent to new faculty with the New Hire Forms. It must be signed by the new faculty member and you. Faculty must also obtain an employee ID number (assigned by HR once all paperwork is complete) in order to set up the account. Information on how to set up email can be found on the Getting Started page of the IT website.
- Keys: New faculty members will need to fill out a Key Request form to get keys to their assigned office, the building, and to other locked resources, such as technology cabinets. Your department’s administrative assistant or office manager will be able to help with these matters.
- Phone: Professional calls may be charged via an assigned, individualized telephone authorization code. Here, too, the department’s office manager can help initiate the process.
- Office supplies: Let them know what they can expect from the department and what they will need to bring or supply on their own.
- Photocopying: Inform them of departmental policy regarding photocopying and give them access codes, if applicable, to department copy machines and materials.
- Computers: For help on anything regarding computing or setting up instructional technology, the faculty member may start by visiting the Getting Services page of the UMass Boston website or calling the IT Help Desk, x7-5220.
- Blackboard and Educational Technology: A letter will go out from the faculty liaison to new tenure-stream faculty regarding how to set up Blackboard and other educational technologies. This letter should also be forwarded from the Chair to NTT faculty since Ed Tech will not have access to their contact information. If faculty aren’t entered in the UMass Boston system (i.e. if they do not have an ID), their may be delays in getting Blackboard set up in time for their first semester.
Other things to do to help new faculty learn about UMass Boston and your department
Making new faculty feel welcome as integral members of the department conveys to them that you want them to succeed. New faculty members’ level of satisfaction and comfort with the university is almost always a direct reflection of how they feel about their departmental home. An effective department chair will
- Encourage faculty to attend the Chancellor’s dinner/event for new faculty in the fall semester (usually in October).
- Show new faculty the faculty/staff “landing page” on the UMass Boston website; this page serves as a gateway to much information that new faculty will want access to https://www.umb.edu/faculty_staff/
- Give them the names and contact information for all other members of their department, pointing out persons who are also new or recent hires to help develop connections and ease their way.
- Show them how to access the AV equipment in the classrooms they will use and/or how to contact Media Services for assistance.
- Share documents that will help the new person learn about the make-up, concerns, and plans of the department (e.g., any recent curriculum proposals or a recent AQUAD report). Explain the structure of the curriculum and how this new faculty member's courses fit into that structure.
- In the first departmental meeting or two, explain some things during the meeting (who's who, etc.). Take some time to de-brief afterwards: this is a good opportunity to give some institutional history that will explain the things that may happen at department meetings.
- Discuss expectations one might have for students (and what students expect of us).
- Talk about grading practices, and the University policy on incompletes and academic standards.
- If you are comfortable doing so, invite the new person to sit in on your courses (and/or those of other members of the department, once you have secured the consent of these members). Remind them that they may invite you to sit in on their course as well.
- Check in with some regularity to see how things are going and to give the new person a chance to ask questions. Encourage other members of the department to do the same.
Other recent hires in your area will be a good source of information about what was mysterious to them. Delegate to other members of the department any of the above that you don't have time for, or if you think someone other than you could be more effective.