The university recently welcomed over 150 new faculty to campus this year. To begin their time on campus, new faculty participated in a week of onboarding activities, beginning with the new faculty orientation, hosted by the Office of Faculty Development.
New tenure track and non-tenure track faculty from across the nine colleges and 62 departments attended. The program’s purpose was for faculty to be able to “learn more about resources, your community and to get excited, ” described Wendy Varner, director of faculty development. The orientation event took place in the John W. Olver Design building.
John McCarthy, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, opened the program with welcoming remarks, highlighting the strength of UMass Amherst.
“You are joining our community at a very exciting time. We are on a steep upward trajectory. We are welcoming the largest first-year class in our history, at a time when many colleges are struggling to maintain enrollment,” McCarthy said. “Our retention and graduation rates have risen sharply. First to second year retention is about 91%, and our 6-year graduation rate is over 82%. We have set a new campus record in sponsored research, and we're third in Massachusetts (after Harvard and MIT) in both NSF CAREER awards to faculty and NSF Graduate Research Fellowships to graduate students.”
The faculty attendees were also able to choose between two break-out groups on research, teaching and service or inclusive, student-centered teaching.
Following a lively, lunch-time Pioneer Valley Bingo game, twenty administrative leaders joined the faculty to introduce the vast network of resources to help support their career. Among those support units presenting were the Center for Teaching and Learning; Office of Research Development; University Libraries; disability services; the instructional media lab; Office of Equity and Inclusion, Office of Student Success; and the Office of Research Engagement.