By Monica Chapman
Three years after graduation, Ohio University alumnus William Miller is coming home. He'll arrive in Athens full time this fall as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Political Science.
But, as Miller will attest, even the most longed-for reunions carry tension.
"Here I know people. There are expectations," he said. "The bar is set very high in my mind because I know how great class experiences were as a student. So I have to step up and continue that tradition on the other side of the desk now."
Miller is not alone. Nearly 90 new faculty members will join the Ohio University community in the 2009-10 academic year. Their transition will be aided by the New Faculty Welcome and Academic Orientation, a program designed to ensure a successful and enjoyable transition to a faculty career at Ohio University
This year's new faculty orientation will take place Sept. 2-3 in the Faculty Commons on the third floor of Alden Library. The program will introduce new faculty to other new and senior colleagues, provide information about key resources, and offer a series of workshops and discussion opportunities.
"We want new faculty to be able to walk in the door and feel comfortable with what they will be doing," said Laurie Hatch, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, whose office coordinates the orientation. "It's not a talking heads format. The program is discussion-oriented and encourages participation from everyone involved."
The new faculty orientation features a series of hands-on workshops with the aim of helping new faculty transition into their roles and responsibilities at Ohio University. Workshop titles include:
- Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment at Ohio University
- Developing/Fine-Tuning an Ohio University Course Syllabus
- Using Blackboard to Make Course Materials Accessible and Support Student Learning
In addition to these workshops, round table and panel discussions will be held on the first-year faculty experience; diversity, access and equity; research and creative activities; and the uniqueness of Ohio University from the perspective of invited student leaders.
According to Hatch, the new faculty orientation aims to incorporate all faculty groups from all campuses and will provide opportunities for interaction with current members of the Ohio University community. Presenters and discussion leaders include President Roderick J. McDavis, Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit, and Executive Dean of Regional Campuses Dan Evans, among others.
Following the orientation program, attendees are invited to mingle with colleagues from across the university during a New Faculty Welcome Reception, to be held Sept. 3 from 4:15 to 5 p.m. in the Faculty Commons.
"We're offering opportunities throughout the orientation to meet and interact with a mix of people -- seasoned colleagues as well as people who are relatively new to the university," Hatch said.
When Miller joins the campus community, he will be working alongside numerous former professors, many of whom influenced his career path into academia.
"It's exciting to be able to contribute back to the school in the same way that other faculty members --that I'm now colleagues with -- have done for me," he said.
"I wasn't actually looking (to relocate), but when I saw OU had an opening, I had to apply... The chance to go home is kind of hard to pass up."