Beginning Well: Advice for New Faculty Members

Are you teaching for the first time this fall semester? We’re glad to share our Beginning Well series for new faculty members. There’s so much good thinking and encouragement in all of these pieces, relevant in and out of changing times. Two pieces we especially love that seem particularly relevant these days are Dorothy Boorse’s exploration of why we chose the faculty life in the first place and Francis Su’s “Lesson of Grace in Teaching.” And, please be sure to check out resources for faculty from our friends at the Emerging Scholars Network. No matter where you are in your tenure, we hope these articles will encourage you in your calling to teaching and scholarship.

by Dorothy Boorse
"So in case you need to hear it, in graduate school or even in the middle of your career, here is my reminder of the reasons we choose the academic life."
by Jennifer L. Holberg
"We do not meet to do ordinary work when we come to the classroom. Instead, like every other square inch, it is holy, heaven-crammed ground." A professor reminds us of the holy quality inherent in the daily work of teaching students.
by Francis Su
The Well links to Francis Su's acceptance speech as he was awarded the Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished Teaching of Mathematics. Su says, “I want to talk about the biggest life lesson that I have learned, and that I continue to learn over and over again.  It is deep and profound.  It has changed the way I relate with people.  It has reshaped my academic life.  And it continually renovates the way I approach my students.”  
by Anne Pharr
"I hope to be newly equipped to fulfill my responsibilities as a faculty member in higher education, not as one who anxiously fears being 'found out' as an imposter, but as one who is willing to live — and at times talk about — my convictions with steady confidence and humility." English professor Anne Pharr considers the gifts and benefits of revealing one's religious convictions honestly — even in the face of scorn.
by Carmen Acevedo Butcher
"Worry and love fuel my prayers for each student. I pray, from my first years of teaching at The University of Georgia during grad school through my many years of teaching here at Shorter, that every class will become a learning community in which students see each other as fellow humans who experience difficulties, talents, struggles, and triumphs."
by Christine Jeske
“Humiliation is the dread of every scholar. As I start a new job as a professor, I’m finding that the best way to avoid humiliation isn’t what you’d expect...” One part of Chrissy Jeske's series on her experience as a new professor.
The Well's mentor team offer their best strategies for preparing to start a new school year.
I am deeply lonely. How can I connect authentically as an academic with women in my church?
There are so many travel options, but I have other responsibilities too. How do I choose?
Are there unique ways for a Christ-follower to deal with stress in the academy?
What are some best practices for establishing office hours as a female professor?

Dear Mentor: Finding Time for Friendships?
How can I make friends as a busy professor in a new community?
Mapping Your Academic Career: A must-read for new (and seasoned) professors
by Christine Jeske
"When I read Gary Burge’s book, Mapping Your Academic Career: Charting the Course of a Professor’s Life, I kept thinking, 'This person understands.' He understands why a new professor’s self-confidence can bounce like a slinky with a single word of affirmation or criticism from a colleague or teaching evaluation." Professor Christine Jeske shares some of the gifts she has gleaned from Gary Burge's recent book for faculty at every stage.
by Lisa Diller
"When I started my first job as a professor, I quickly realized that ten years of higher education had not fully prepared me for my day-to-day tasks. How was I expected to handle student complaints? When did people at my teaching institution make time for research?...Are you looking for a mentor? Here are the take-aways I see from my own experience."

Mentoring: Forming Your Crew
by Debbie Gin
How do you picture a mentor relationship? Debbie Gin offers a few different models to consider when investing time with a mentor. This is the first of a two-part series. 
by Patty Kirk
"Every semester, at this time, I reconsider this whole business of grading papers. On the one hand, despite all the scholarship to the contrary that one of my colleagues says proves that students never read what teachers write on their papers, I’m certain that the only way for them to improve their writing is to get an honest response."

Grading Angst
by Anna Moseley Gissing
"God calls me to teach faithfully, to invest in students, and to care about their writing competence, especially as it allows them to lean into their specific ministry callings. But my own worth and identity do not hinge on the work of my students." Anna Moseley Gissing explores the depths of our reactions to the process of giving out grades.
We asked Karen Swallow Prior to address the topic of plagiarism. She came back with this piece, instructive to writers and graders alike.

Also see our list of recommended articles for new faculty from the Emerging Scholars Network. To see our curated list of articles for new grad students, head over to Beginning Well: Advice for New Graduate Students Part 1 and Part 2.
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