Our newest faculty colleagues at Franklin & Marshall College, both visitors and tenure track, meet together at a day long Orientation session near the end of August before classes begin. Faculty are introduced and welcomed by President Porterfield, the Provost, Associate Deans and Faculty Center staff. The event is shaped by our sense that faculty at Franklin & Marshall College have joined a distinguished profession and are now part of the Academy; the community of scholars that reaches back through history and values the life of the mind. The day's focus is to give incoming faculty a sense of the Franklin & Marshall College culture, concrete information to help them get off to a strong start in the classroom, and faces to go with names of college administrators and staff they will need or want to interact with throughout the coming year. This event includes a lunch where faculty can get to know each other and begin to build ties as a professional cohort.
Each month throughout the ensuing academic year new faculty meet for our Ongoing New Faculty Orientation sessions. Every session has a focus or theme that we anticipate will be relevant and timely for where faculty are in terms of issues that they are dealing with or thinking about. For example, the September session is devoted to classroom-related topics such as the F&M Writing Center and how it can help faculty with their goals of encouraging excellence in student's written work. The College's Dean of the College, Student Deans, the medical doctor and counseling Director all come to give the faculty specific information about how to handle student-related issues that commonly come up during the semester.
There is a New Faculty Orientation session devoted to pedagogy, including ideas about how to initiate and sustain classroom discussions, the value of lecturing, small group work, and so forth. Another session is devoted to scholarship, with experienced faculty sharing their strategies for maintaining a strong research program throughout the academic year.
Members of the Office of College Grants come to speak to new faculty about how to obtain funding, both internally and externally, to support their scholarly work. There is a session dealing with how to understand and respond to student course evaluations, and how to plan for summer research opportunities.
New Faculty Orientation at Franklin & Marshall College is a very important aspect of our year-long welcome to our new colleagues. Each session is thoughtfully designed to provide useful, concrete, and timely information to assist faculty in their teaching and scholarly pursuits. Throughout the year, the sessions convey a sense of what it means to be on the faculty at a liberal arts college in terms of our highest goals and loftiest ambitions, for ourselves, for our students, and for the institution.