New to UMass
Enhancing Your Teaching
Enhancing Your Research
Enhancing Your Mentoring
NEW TO UMASS - KEY STEPS
There are three critical steps to take, preferably before your arrival on campus (or in the earliest days of your employment at UMass Amherst). Attending to these steps as soon as possible will ensure a smooth transition to our community.
Click the steps below to view the information.
The first step is to confirm that youâ€™re scheduled to attend a New Employee Information Program hosted by the Office of Human Resources.
Confirm that you registered for New Faculty Orientation and other events for new full-time faculty.
- The date of New Faculty Orientation 2015, co-sponsored by the Provostâ€™s Office and Center for Teaching & Faculty Development, is Tuesday, September 1 from 9 AM to 3:30 PM. Due to space limitations, pre-registration for this event is required. New tenure-system faculty members and full-time (100%) lecturers/instructors will receive email instructions on how to register for New Faculty Orientation in the summer. If you have any questions about this event, please contact Jung Yun, Director of New Faculty Initiatives, at 413-545-1699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Please note that the New EMPLOYEE Information Program (described in Step One), which is often referred to as â€śNew Employee Orientation,â€ť focuses on payroll and benefits, while New FACULTY Orientation focuses on resources to support your teaching, research, work-life balance, and mentoring needs as newcomers to the UMass Amherst community.
- In addition to the campus-wide orientation, many departments and some schools/colleges sponsor orientation events for their new faculty. Ask your department chair or departmental administrator if such programming exists.
Get your Office of Information Technologies (OIT) Account NetID and password and use them to access important campus resources.
- We recommend that you get started on this step at least four weeks before the start of the semester. Most of this can be done before you arrive on campus. Your OIT Account NetID and password give you access to SPIRE, the student records system, Moodle, our Learning Management System, email, Library resources, free and discounted software, Internet access, and much more. If you have not yet received your NetID, please contact the OIT Help Center (413-545-9400, A109 Lederle Graduate Research Center (LGRC) Lowrise, M - F, 9:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.).
- Once you have your NetID, you should first log in to SPIRE, the University's secure student records system. You will use SPIRE to post basic course information (e.g., required textbooks), access class rosters, and submit grades; request a Moodle course, class email list, blog, or online storage space for your courses; manage your personal information. If you are teaching in the upcoming semester, check to be sure that your courses are listed in your Faculty Center.
- A comprehensive technology checklist is available from the Office of Information Technologies.
- Once you have your NetID you can also:
- Get your campus ID (UCard). Go to the UCard Office, 168 Whitmore Administrative Building (M-F, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.) They will take your picture and give you your card.
- Activate your Library access to check out physical materials and access online resources. Go to the Circulation Desk on the Lower Level of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library (the tallest building on campus) to get registered into the library system. Library hours vary â€“ please check the schedule online. Bring your UCard and a copy of your employment contract.
NEW TO UMASS - FAQ
Below, weâ€™ve organized some answers to frequently asked questions about the greater Amherst area and the University.
Click the questions below to view the information.
Where should I live?
The University of Massachusetts is located in Amherst, Massachusetts, which is a part of the Pioneer Valley. Although a large number of our faculty live in Amherst itself, others have chosen to live in such nearby towns as Belchertown, Easthampton, Hadley, and Northampton. In deciding where you and your family will live, and whether you will rent or buy, you may wish to consult UMass Amherstâ€™s Commuter Services and Housing Resource Center, a searchable database of house, condo, and apartment rentals and sales; Craiglist.org, a frequently updated listing of rentals by owner; SabbaticalHomes.com, a listing of short- and long-term rentals and housing swap opportunities; Realtor.com, a searchable national database for buyers and sellers of real estate; and the following web pages for individual towns/villages:
How do I get a Massachusetts drivers' license and register my car?
The Pioneer Valley has a very well-developed public transportation system, the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, which services the UMass Amherst campus and several nearby communities. For those of you who prefer to drive, one of your immediate needs will be securing a Massachusetts driver’s license and getting your car registered.
If you’ve moved from out-of-state, contact a branch office of the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles (the closest branch offices are in Easthampton, Greenfield, Holyoke, & Springfield) for instructions on obtaining a Massachusetts driver’s license. When you visit your local branch office, be sure to bring (1) your Social Security Card or a current U.S. or non-U.S. passport; and (2) your out-of-state license.
Instructions on registering your car can be found on the State web page. Prior to registering your car in Massachusetts, you’ll need to secure a Massachusetts auto insurance policy. Because auto insurance is regulated differently in Massachusetts than in many states, you may find that your current insurance carrier does not service this area. Local insurance agencies can be found in the paper or online Yellow Pages and the State maintains an auto insurance premium comparison file for carriers in Massachusetts.
How do I establish residency and register to vote in Massachusetts?
The Secretary of State has a welcome page for new residents, which offers tips and links on many important issues, including establishing residency in the state, registering to vote, learning about state taxes, etc.
How do I get the keys to my office?
In order to get keys for your building and/or office, make sure your department administrative staff has completed and submitted a Physical Plant key request for you.
Youâ€™ll be notified when the key is ready to be picked up, which you must do in person (i.e., you canâ€™t send someone on your behalf). Bring your driverâ€™s license or UCard for identification. The temporary key pick-up location is in Room 1 on the ground floor of Dickinson Hall, near the Recreation Center and Parks Band Building. Please use the west side building entrance.
How do I get the keys to the audio-visual equipment in my classroom?
To access audio-visual (AV) cabinets in auditoria and technology-enhanced classrooms, instructors now use lock combinations instead of physical AV keys. Lock combinations are available in SPIRE to those instructors teaching in classrooms equipped with AV cabinets. To obtain your combination, log in to SPIRE, go to "Faculty Home" and then "Classroom Locks". If you are teaching in a classroom equipped with an AV cabinet, a code will be listed.
How do I get a parking sticker and lot assignment?
The Parking Office is open Monday through Friday from 7:45 AM - 4:45 PM, and has two locations: 51 Forestry Way and Level Two of the Campus Center Parking Garage.
You must bring your driver’s license and car registration.
Prior to visiting the office, you may wish to view the online interactive parking guide (viewed by scrolling down to the bottom of the Parking Office’s homepage) to familiarize yourself with the parking maps on campus. Be prepared; many lots, particularly small or centrally located lots, are full. If this happens, the Parking staff will most likely put you on a waiting list and give you short term status elsewhere.
Important notes: If you are not yet in the payroll system, you will be given a month-long temporary parking permit. You can download your parking application form and fill it out in advance. However, do not fill in your preferred lot number until you go to the Parking Office and find out which lots are available.
What if I have questions about my benefits (e.g., health insurance)?
New incoming faculty with questions about their benefits are encouraged to contact one of the benefits specialists listed below in the Human Resources Office.
- Kelly Pleasant, Benefits Supervisor, 413-545-1478,
- Beth Ives, Insurance Specialist, 413-545-6115,
- Kris Moriarty, Employee Service Specialist, 413-545-4549,
What resources and organizations are available to support and promote diversity?
UMass Amherst has had a long commitment to building a racially and ethnically diverse campus community of faculty, staff, and students. Below are just a few of the many programs, initiatives, and organizations that support and encourage our diverse community. Click the categories to open or close.
If I’m an international scholar, where can I get help with any VISA issues I might have?
The International Programs Office serves as a resource to all international students and scholars. They offer advice on immigration matters and issue visa documents. They also provide information and guidance on issues such as employment, health insurance, language courses, programs for spouses, and general information about UMass and the Amherst area.
What organizations offer faculty a voice in the governance and operation of the University?
The Faculty Senate is a representative body that is responsible for faculty participation in university planning and governance. The Senate has numerous standing and ad hoc councils and committees whose members include faculty members, staff, administrators, and undergraduate and graduate students. Faculty membership on councils and committees is open to all faculty members, not only elected Senators, and full Senate meetings are open to the public.
The Massachusetts Society of Professors (“MSP”) is a local union affiliated with the Massachusetts Teachers Association on the state level and with the National Education Association on the national level. The union provides security and stability for faculty and librarians, and assures them a voice in the operation of the University. All faculty and librarians are covered by the contract negotiated between the MSP and the University, and MSP members are available to answer questions about the benefits of membership.
How does UMass Amherst support a healthy work/life balance?
For a list of personal and family resources, including information about tuition waivers, adoption, stopping the "tenure clock," dual-career couples, and more, please visit our Work/Life page.
Does UMass have a rideshare program?
Yes! For details on the UMass Amherst Rideshare Program, please see here. Alternately, faculty and staff may want to check out RideBuzz , a non-profit service.
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