Faculty Advice

Advice to New Faculty from Recently New Faculty

The following advice was provided by the School of IAS. If you would like to add to the list, please email uwbtlc@uw.edu.

About UWB Students

  • Our students are non-traditional for the most part. The majority have jobs and a great many family responsibilities, and this means they have to intentionally shift into college mode when they walk onto our campus, away from whatever other huge life area they were attending to before. Most of them do not have the luxury of dedicating themselves full time to study.
  • Our students have a lot in their lives. Some of us end up hearing about a lot of trauma and hardship. Seek support from our counseling resources and the Care Team (and I sometimes call the Seattle campus for guidance if I can't get our folks on the phone). Reach out to colleagues if you need to process. And just remember you are not responsible for making them well or solving all their problems. Figure out boundaries that work for you and refer often!

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About Teaching

  • Your first classes will not go as planned. In fact, you may think you failed your students. You didn't! You're still learning about our students and campus. It's ok. Grab a drink with a colleague and chat about it!
  • Trying something new in class? Let your students know. If it fails, they'll forgive you. If it works, you'll seem brilliant.
  • Did you get poor student evaluations? Yup. We all have. Don't take it personally. Even the really bad ones. We've all been called names and had evals that are pretty nasty. Don't take it personal...if they hate you that much, you likely won't see them again in your classes. Learn from the bad ones, and allow the good ones inspire you.
  • Speaking of classes, if you want any sort of life your first year, simplify your courses. Only try ONE new thing per quarter for a class. Don't do it all at once. Experiment a little at a time. It's a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Given the many directions in which our students are pulled, treat the syllabus & calendar like a contract. No readings or assignments TBD - lay it all out, and to the best of your ability, stick to it (if anything: drop, don't add work as the quarter goes on). Students will plan work and childcare around major assignments.
  • Add/drop period extends through week 2, which is a not-insignificant percentage of the (very, very) short quarter. Consider ahead of time how you will on-board students who add in the 2nd week.
  • Be prepared to throw out some of your pedagogical strategies. Our students are unique and will require rethinking your methods.
  • If you are new to the quarter system, just know it goes fast. Really fast.
  • End-of-quarter evaluations are online so you might want to consider holding class time for students to complete them so that you hear from more of your students. You should also do mid-quarter evaluations. (Try the SGIDs offered by the TLC).
  • It takes time to learn how to teach in the experiential, process-centered way that is a hallmark of UWB. Be patient with yourself and observe your peers when you can.
  • Consider collaborating with staff members and support centers as you design your classes. Some of the richest and most delightful co-teaching I have engaged in has been with non-faculty members.

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About Campus

  • Some meetings and events will reference the Rose Room and it took some searching online for me to figure out where that was the first time. The Rose Room is UW1-280.
  • You can use your ID card to open campus buildings and School offices as long as you have your School Coordinator help set that up for you.
  • You need to go to the IT office in the library to get printing capabilities set up on you new computer.
  • The Beardslee Building and Beardslee Crossing Buildings are north of campus and they are different buildings.
  • Eat at the food trucks by the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC)! But beware, gyro meat has gluten in it.
  • There are very few on-campus food options. Bringing lunch/dinner is common but venture out too; the food trucks are a great place to talk to students and staff from across campus, and downtown Bothell is about an 8 to 10 min walk away.
  • I have found parking really, really challenging between about 10:00 and­ 1:30.
  • There is a shortcut walk from campus to Bothell (by way of the graveyard, west of UW2 up the hill).
  • The Sammamish River Trail is near campus and a good place to get some fresh air between classes.
  • Make sure you read the destination of the buses at the bus circle. They go in both directions from the stop, and woe is that tired professor who gets on in the wrong direction after a long day.

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About Managing Time and Stress

  • Be nice to yourself. If you feel unsure or like you didn't do something as well as you hoped, then reflect on it. Plan for a different outcome. And then let it go.
  • Self-care. Self-care. Self-care.
  • Try not to stress...you're figuring it out!
  • Don't understand something (e.g. how to use the printer, where to get your mail, how to order books, etc.)? It's ok. Ask your School Coordinator, a colleague, or your suite neighbor.
  • Finding it difficult to get research done your first quarter? First year? Yup. It's ok. Welcome to the club.
  • Don't understand some obscure acronym that EVERYONE seems to be using? Yeah, they don't either...they're just trying to look cool. Ask someone what it means.
  • You should feel comfortable asking colleagues to share their examples of what a Goals and Objectives statement or a Third Year review package looks like.
  • Reach out across, but also within your rank. While we work as a unified faculty, there are particularities to serving as a Lecturer or Assistant Professor, etc., and it can be useful and supporting to talk with others in the same structural position within your School and the University.
  • Find out exactly what’s expected of you in terms of service for your first year and know that is it absolutely fine for you to say no to anything beyond this baseline expectation. Also know that you will be asked to take part in projects or join committees that sound truly engaging or even exciting. Be careful of agreeing to even these things your first year; you can easily over-commit and then it can be difficult to back-peddle. Just do not underestimate the amount of energy it takes to adjust to a new institution and new colleagues. That said, you might start to explore projects, initiatives and/or committees this year for potential future service. But try to think of it as just an exploration. Know yourself and what you need to feel connected and start thriving.
  • If you are asked to serve or join or whatever, and you are tempted, talk it through with at least three other faculty who have been here for 2+ years.
  • Have fun! If this is your first job post grad school, you have a little money now. Enjoy that. Talk with your students. Try new things. Experiment. Talk to your colleagues.
  • Take walks. With a colleague or alone. But allow yourself time to breathe. Even if you feel like you don't have the time to.

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