A Resource Guide for New and Early Career Faculty Members
Welcome to the University of Iowa!
New faculty members often face challenges in their first months – and these can occur in the areas of teaching, scholarship, service, career development and the balancing of home and work life. The university has many resources and networks to help you meet these challenges and thrive in your new position. “Getting Off to a Good Start” introduces you to resources and provides general tips for new faculty. The sections address activities through your first year in these important areas:
- Career Development
The goal is to help you achieve both career and personal success. If you have a question and can't find the answer, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A staff member in the Office of the Provost will respond and direct you to useful resources.
- Familiarize yourself with ICON (Iowa Courses Online), the course management system at the University of Iowa. On-line tutorials are available and the Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology (OTLT) staff are ready to support you. Instructional Services has a unique program known as SITA (Student Instructional Technology Assistant) which is designed to support faculty, graduate students, and staff using instructional technology at the University of Iowa. Additional teaching tips can be found through the UI Graduate College and the UI Center for Teaching’s Handbook for Teaching Excellence.
- If you are assigned to teach a large lecture class, you may find the OTLT Center for Teaching an excellent resource. The Center offers support and resources for all new faculty, and there is the Early Career Faculty Academy for first-year, tenure track faculty.
- Refer to collegiate policies and requirements when creating your syllabus. Ask your department for previous syllabi, if they exist, and specific collegiate and departmental language required for your syllabus.
- Familiarize yourself with resources for students who may need a disability accommodation. Campus disability resources include the Student Disability Services.
- Ensure that the research support and facilities promised to you in your offer letter are available. If not, contact your department chair to develop a timeline for completion.
- Meet with your graduate assistant, if you have one. Begin building a relationship and clarifying your expectations for their work.
- If you are transferring a grant to UI, please contact the Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP, 319.335.2123) to ensure that all administrative details have been handled.
- Contact the Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) if you plan to apply for a grant within the first three months on campus.
- Check the Office of Vice President for Research website for resources to assist in grant preparation.
- Attend New Faculty Orientation programs. Several orientations occur in August, including those hosted by the Office of the Provost, UI Human Resources, and your respective college and/or department. Orientation sessions are an important opportunity to learn more about the university and available resources. Here is more information about the Office of the Provost Iowa New Faculty Orientation.
- The Center for Teaching offers workshops during the first week of the Fall semester.
- Introduce yourself to the faculty and staff in your department. Begin to develop collegial relationships and networks. Get to know the departmental staff who are valuable and critical colleagues for supporting your career.
- Familiarize yourself with the software on your computer and other technological tools that might be of use. For information or training, see the listing of UI Information Technology Services workshops, or on-line courses available to UI faculty, staff and students through e-Learning resources.
- Look for upcoming faculty development workshops and place the dates on your calendar now. Your department and college may also offer programs tailored specifically to your discipline.
- As you set up your office, build in “Green” habits to integrate recycling and sustainability into your workplace. See the Office of Sustainability to learn more about UI sustainability strategies, including initiatives such as Energy, Food, Recycling & Waste Reduction, and Biking.
- Settle in to your new community. For information about the local area, including relocation and housing, children & family resources, schools, transportation, diversity and inclusion, etc., check out the UI Build a Career | Build a Life website. For a basic overview of the University of Iowa, including campus maps, see the University of Iowa Facts at a Glance or the Campus Maps & Tours website.
- Arrange your transportation to/from campus and, if needed, secure your parking permit. The University of Iowa Parking and Transportation department and Commuter Programs offer useful information, including a bus pass program for UI faculty and staff and information about biking to/on campus.
- Include your family in learning about UI resources and benefits, including childcare and eldercare resources offered through UI Family Services, family-friendly policies including domestic partner benefits and faculty-related policies such as the tenure-clock extension policy, and wide-ranging community discounts available through UI Employee Discount programs.
- If your spouse/partner is seeking employment in the Iowa City area, the UI Dual Career Services may be a helpful resource. The DCS staff has extensive experience in all areas of the job search process and provides a full range of services to the spouses/partners of UI faculty and staff. The DCS tailors its programs to your needs and maintains an extensive network of approximately 500+ business contacts throughout the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids Corridor.
- Partners/spouses looking for employment can also open a jobseeker account via the Central Midwest Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC). The HERC offers numerous resources for dual-career couples, including an online job board supported by numerous local employers.
- Make a plan to care for your physical health and fitness. LiveWELL and Recreational Services websites provide many excellent campus and local resources to assist you in taking care of yourself.
- As an employee of the University of Iowa, UI Human Resources may be able to answer specific questions related to University Payroll or University Benefits. You will have an opportunity to discuss these issues at the Iowa New Faculty Orientation, but specific questions may be answered by consulting these websites in advance.
- Schedule specific times for office hours and advising sessions with students. Check with your department and college to learn of any specific policies or recommendations regarding office hours.
- Become familiar with on-campus student support services such as Student Disability Services, University Counseling Services, Center for Diversity and Enrichment, Academic Advising, Pomerantz Career Center, Office of Assessment, College Success Initiatives, and the Women’s Resource and Action Center. Know how these resources can be of service to you and your students, and be prepared to refer your students to the appropriate offices.
- Review the Center for Teaching website for resources and upcoming workshops, including training sessions for teaching technologies (ICON, lecture capture, etc.).
- Complete the required online FERPA training module and quiz.
- Familiarize yourself with your particular rights and responsibilities when teaching at a public university. The Office of the Provost has developed Guidelines Regarding Political Activity by Faculty of the University of Iowa to provide general guidance to campus.
- Ensure that the research support and facilities promised to you in your offer letter are available. If not, contact your department chair to develop a timeline for completion.
- Don’t make any commitments this first month; wait until you settle in and know the general rhythm that your career will take on before committing yourself.
- Attend social and departmental functions in your department. Integrating yourself in department functions will give you the information you need to provide input and leadership, relevant to your career stage. Isolation can be a common problem for new faculty, so be an active and connected participant.
- Ask questions and seek out resources. If you have a question and don’t know who to ask, send an email to email@example.com and a staff member in the Office of the Provost will offer suggestions.
- Familiarize yourself with the university’s policies on areas such as human rights, diversity, and discrimination. Understand your role and responsibilities as a faculty member in upholding the policies.
- Complete any required compliance trainings for your position. Consult with your departmental office to determine the specific requirements. For example, all new UI employees with greater than 50% appointments must complete a Harassment Prevention Education course within the first months of employment and all new instructors must complete an online FERPA training program.
- Activate a UI-sponsored individual membership in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD). The institutional membership allows all UI employees free access to the NCFDD tele-workshops, e-newsletter with faculty success tips, facilitated learning communities, resources and tools.
- Get out of your office. Participate in at least one faculty development workshop and/or campus forum. Check your college, department, Office of the Provost, and the Office of Teaching, Learning, & Technology websites for events.
- Invite a new faculty member to lunch or coffee whom you met during the Iowa New Faculty orientation.
- Make sure your gym membership is activated.
- Engage in a local event sponsored by the city.
- International faculty members and those interested in international programs should become familiar with the support and resources provided by the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) and Faculty and Staff Immigration Services. Learn about upcoming programs and events through the International Programs e-newsletter or connecting via other forms of social media.
- Invite a faculty colleague or staff member of the Center for Teaching to observe one of your classes and provide feedback on your teaching. Request permission to observe the classroom of a senior faculty member known for their exceptional teaching.
- It is recommended that new faculty members limit classroom preparation to a maximum of two hours per hour of lecture. Early career faculty members over-prepare for lectures, leaving less time for research, writing, and networking. Seek out suggestions for developing teaching strategies that provide the necessary content and engage students in active learning, while not over-preparing to the detriment of your research and writing.
- Use the resources available through OTLT or contact the ITS Help Desk - 319.384.HELP (4357) | firstname.lastname@example.org, as you continue to creatively use technology in your instruction.
- Check the Research Development Office website for educational resources to support your research agenda.
- The Division of Sponsored Programs offers training and resources on grant-writing and funding opportunities through the Grant Bulletin.
- The Human Subjects Office and the Institutional Review Board host regular workshops for faculty conducting human subject research.
- If you are the Principal Investigator on a grant, check out the online Researcher Handbook for key information in managing research staff.
- If publishing a book is required for tenure in your department, consult with the University of Iowa Press and/or attend a workshop on book publishing.
- Write down your research and writing goals for the semester. Do a quick reality check: Are these goals realistic for one semester? Map your goals onto your calendar by week. Print your goals and hang them in your main workspace.
- Connect with diverse campus communities to network with people outside your department.
- Develop a standard statement to use when asked to serve on committees or commit to other forms of service. For example, "That sounds really interesting, and my department chair asked me to talk with them before taking on any committee assignments." This provides you with time to consult with a senior-level faculty member who can then assist you in determining the relevance of the request to your career goals.
- Arrange a meeting with the chair of your department to discuss requirements and procedures for promotion and/or tenure review. Inform yourself about the University of Iowa’s Promotion Procedures for all regular-track faculty and adjuncts.
- Create a Career Development Plan that includes the following faculty success factors:
- Set a goal of limiting classroom preparation time by the second semester to a maximum of two hours per hour of lecture. While it may be extremely difficult those who manage to achieve it find that they can still cover what they want to cover, appear more relaxed to their students, and are better able to maintain a pace that encourages active student involvement in class. One of the biggest mistakes of early career teachers was over-preparing for lectures, providing too much material with too little time for student engagement with the material. The time spent over-preparing was also detrimental to the other areas of their faculty portfolio, particularly research and writing.
- Spend [at least] 30-60 minutes each day on scholarly writing. Research has shown that writing for a set time each day (as little as 15 minutes per day) leads to increased productivity and fewer feelings of anxiety over failure to meet scholarly productivity expectations.
- Spend at least 2 hours a week on discussions with colleagues focused on teaching and research. It is difficult for most new faculty members to meet this commitment but doing so pays big dividends. Good contacts provide ideas and sometimes tangible assistance in getting a research program off the ground and/or improving teaching success.
- Keep daily records of work- time expenditure. Recording their time commitments helps early career faculty self-monitor how well they are meeting the first three commitments listed.
- Integrate research interests into lectures. Doing so leads to greater enthusiasm for teaching as well as recruitment of students as research assistants.
- If you haven’t done so yet, activate a UI-sponsored individual membership in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD). The UI has an institutional membership which allows all UI employees free access to the NCFDD tele-workshops, e-newsletter with faculty success tips, facilitated learning communities, resources and tools.
- Develop a career advisory network of peers, internal departmental mentors, and external mentors. The NCFDD has developed a tool to help you think through “Your Mentoring Network.”
- Sign up with an on-line academic career development network. These networks vary in their support, but many send regular reminders that support you in your research and teaching agendas. Examples of useful on-line networks include: SuccessfulAcademic.com, National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, Tomorrow’s Professor.
- Create a “positive feedback” file, which includes supportive e-mails and letters of thanks from students and colleagues.
- Familiarize yourself with the organizational structure of your department and the campus community.
- Get to know the Iowa City/Coralville community through the following websites: UI Build a Career | Build a Life, Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau and Iowa City Downtown District.
- Learn about the history of the University of Iowa and the State of Iowa through the Old Capitol Museum.
- Revisit the list above and make time to do the activities that you didn’t have time to do in your first semester, and that you continue to believe will benefit you and your family.
- Maintaining work/life boundaries is easier if you have a clear focus and sense of purpose guiding your activities. If you haven’t yet, write a personal mission statement that includes all your life roles (e.g., professor, spouse/partner, parent, son/daughter). Clarify your goals within each role and plan your time accordingly.
- Maintain a teaching portfolio with all class materials, assignments, syllabi, and exams. See the UI Center for Teaching for Teaching Portfolio resources.
- Discuss your teaching load with your department chair and avoid, if possible, excessive new preps, large class sizes (without teaching assistants), and hectic teaching schedules.
- Revisit and revise your writing goals and career development plan. Are you staying on track? If not, explore and address the barriers to productivity.
- Work with mentors to develop a plan to submit proposals and papers to significant national and international conferences and journals in your field.
- Investigate types and deadlines for various UI faculty awards and funding opportunities. Consult your department for collegiate opportunities. See the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice President for Research for Internal Funding Initiatives, and the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies for campus-wide faculty opportunities.
- Explore external funding opportunities through the Division of Sponsored Program’s Grant Bulletin.
- Seek guidance from your department chair and mentors regarding importance/relevance of service requests and committee service, as they relate to tenure and/or promotion. Learn how to say “no” and when to say “yes.”
- Faculty of color and women faculty often have extra service requested of them as “solo” faculty. Be aware of the potential of this extra burden and seek support in prioritizing your pre-tenure service expectations as they relate to mentoring students, “diversifying” committees, and supporting institutional change initiatives.
- Learn about your department’s expectations for new faculty’s service requirements. Also ask about how those expectations change from pre/post tenure.
- Anticipate the natural rhythms of the academic year. Prepare for increased busy-ness during the spring semester - plan ahead and stay on track.
- Prepare for and make good use of your Annual Review. Refer to the university policies and procedures for Promotion and Tenure, as well as your collegiate policies, procedures, and resources for preparing review materials (e.g., the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences website, on Promotion and Tenure).
- Review the dossiers of other successful academicians.
- Familiarize yourself with institutional policies and procedures. Understand how your role as a faculty member supports the UI Student Success Team Initiatives.
- Attend a Faculty Senate meeting with a senior colleague to learn how faculty governance works.
- Become aware of the campus resources available to assist you should you experience personal or professional challenges. See the “Important University of Iowa Resources” section below for offices ready and willing to support you.
- Attend local events to balance your life. For on-campus art events, see the ArtsIowa calendar or for regional arts events see the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance. The University of Iowa Hawkeye Athletics Department offers numerous year-round sports events, and the University Lecture Committee brings a wide range of noted speakers to campus.
- Check out the UI Employee Discount Program. You’ll be surprised at the discounts offered on hotel rooms, food, and household goods and services.
- Don’t forget to exercise and care for your physical and mental health. Events and local resources to support you can be found on the liveWELL website.
In addition to collegiate resources, the following resources may be useful to understand your rights and responsibilities as a faculty member.
- Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, 2750 University Capitol Centre (UCC). Phone: 319.335.0124
- Division of Sponsored Programs, 2 Gilmore Hall (GH). Phone: 319.335.2123.
- Faculty and Staff Disability Services, 121-20 University Services Building (USB). Phone: 319.335.2660; TTY 319.335.3495.
- Faculty and Staff Services/Employee Assistance Program, 121-50 University Services Building (USB). Phone: 319.335.2085.
- Faculty Senate, 604 Jefferson Building (JB). Phone: 319.335.0617.
- Human Resources, 121-10 University Services Building (USB). Phone: 319.335.3558.
- Office of Institutional Equity, 202 Jessup Hall (JH). Phone: 319.335.0705.
- Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), 1111 University Capitol Center (UCC). Phone: 319.335.0335.
- Office of Teaching, Learning, & Technology, 2800 University Capitol Centre (UCC). Phone: 319.335.6048.
- Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, 111 Jessup Hall (JH). Phone: 319.335.3565.
- Office of the Ombudsperson, Third Floor of the Jefferson Building, 129 E Washington Street. Phone: 319.335.3608.
- Office of the Vice President for Research, 2660 University Capitol Centre (UCC). Phone: 319.335.2119.
- Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC), 230 N. Clinton St. Phone: 319.335.1486.
- UI Benefits, 120 University Services Building. (USB). Phone: 319.335.2676.
Sources Cited and Other New Faculty Resources
- Academic Ladder, The. Getting Help with the Climb. academicladder.com
- Feamster, N., Gray, A. Time Management Tactics for Academics. How to Do Great Research: greatresearch.org/2013/08/31/time-management-tactics-for-academics
- Mbuagbaw, L., Anderson, L.N., Lokker, C., Thabane, L. (2020). Advice for Junior Faculty Regarding Academic Promotion: What Not to Worry About, and What to Worry About. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S240056
- National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Information about UI Institutional Membership: provost.uiowa.edu/files/provost.uiowa.edu/files/ncfdd.pdf
- TOMORROW'S PROFESSORSM. Sponsored by the Stanford Center for Teaching and Learning: tomprof.stanford.edu/
- Tropp, L. Mama PhD: Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics blog. Inside Higher Ed: insidehighered.com/blogs/mama-phd