When Department of Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Management faculty Maryam Tabibzadeh completed California State University, Northridge’s New Faculty Orientation (NFO) last week, she felt like she was part of a family.
“One of the most helpful parts of attending the New Faculty Orientation program for me was providing me with a feeling of becoming a family member in a community,” said Tabibzadeh, a new tenure-track professor. “This expanded the network of people I know and gave me this feeling that I know colleagues who are in a similar status, situation and have been dealing with similar challenges and excitements to me in other departments and colleges.”
Tabibzadeh was one of dozens of new faculty who attended the orientation Aug. 19 and 20. Her sentiments are just what the staff in the Office of Faculty Development were hoping attendees would takeaway from the event, along with tools—ranging from tips on creating a syllabus to helpful technology to icebreakers for getting to know their students.
“You cannot underestimate the power of these connections,” said Greg Knotts, director of the New Faculty Orientation program, professor in the Department of Elementary Education and coordinator of CSUN’s Queer Studies Program. He encouraged the new faculty to find “cross pollination” between them and faculty in other disciplines and develop working relationships.
“NFO manages to get the needed bureaucratic tasks accomplished while new faculty meet veteran faculty, have some fun and learn about the campus community,” Knotts said.
Nearly all of the 86 new tenure-track faculty hired for the 2015-16 academic year attended the annual event, which was held in the Oviatt Library’s Jack and Florence Ferman Presentation Room.
“I walked away from the orientation having bonded with other new faculty,” said Shu-Sha Angie Guan, new faculty in the Department of Child and Adolescent Development. She said the information provided including campus expectations, standards and teaching strategies were “super helpful.”
The program included presentations by the Office of Human Resources, the Division of Information Technology, the Division of Student Affairs and the Oviatt Library. In addition, members of the women’s soccer team, student orientation leaders and students from the Department of Kinesiology led an exercise break. Members of a CSUN student a cappella vocal group serenaded the new faculty, and President Dianne F. Harrison hosted a special reception for new faculty at her home on Aug. 20.