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Learn how Queen's is planning for our safe return to campus.

Giving new faculty a helping hand

[New faculty orientation]
Monica Stewart, co-ordinator, Faculty Recruitment and Support Program, holds up a pamphlet as she explains some of the services available to new faculty during a recent orientation session. University Communications

Each new school year brings with it a sense of renewal.

However, the ‘fresh faces’ at Queen’s are not just those of students arriving for their first year of studies.

There’s also a new crop of faculty joining the Queen’s community and, just like students, they need support to ensure that their transition to the university and the community is as smooth as possible.

According to Monica Stewart, co-ordinator, Faculty Recruitment and Support Program, 74 faculty members were hired since the last orientation in August 2013, an increase of 10 from the year previous.

The orientation gives the new arrivals an opportunity for networking with their colleagues, and to better connect them with the resources and services at Queen’s as well as the people behind them.

The day’s events included a welcome from the Queen’s aboriginal community, a panel discussion covering a wide range of questions from accessibility and faculty responsibilities to something as simple as what is a Gael.

For Laura Wells, an assistant professor at the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, the orientation day was very helpful. 

“New faculty members rarely have the opportunity to have the ins and outs of their university explained to them,” she says. “This was that opportunity and it was a success. I think we all valued the effort to help guide us as we begin our new positions.”

Dr. Wells did have an advantage though – she completed her undergraduate studies at Queen’s in engineering chemistry.

The move to Queen’s can be much bigger for some but Ms. Stewart and the Faculty Recruitment and Support Program are there to help.

“The program offers the same services to someone who relocates from Singapore as to the person relocating  from Ottawa,” she says. “However, the nature of the relocation is a lot more complex when someone relocates from Singapore, so there is likely more extensive contact as more questions arise.”

Awet Weldemichael, who joins the Department of History as a Queen’s National Scholar, being a new arrival is nothing new. Born in Eritrea, he has taught at the University of Kentucky, UCLA and Trinity College, and spent three years of teaching and research in Europe at the universities in Bologna, Hamburg and Paris.

“The orientation was indeed worthwhile to me and I would recommend every new faculty to attend it. The first thing I learned was that Queen’s is a good place to work. Everyone exuded satisfaction with being here. Clearly articulated expectation for promotion and tenure was also reassuring,” says Dr. Weldemichael. “At a time when the administration and finance of higher education is fast changing, it was very informative to learn from early on how the two work at Queen’s and how they may or may not affect faculty. It is extremely helpful to know the resources, and the persons, available to me as a new faculty in terms of teaching, library and research resources on campus and beyond.”

This article is published in the Sept. 9 edition of the Gazette. Pick up your copy of the newspaper at one of the many locations around campus.