Veteran IU faculty members offer advice for new class of faculty

Catherine Sherwood-LaughlinView print quality image

Catherine Sherwood-Laughlin, clinical professor in the School of Public Health, IU Bloomington

"Ask your colleagues to take you to department, campus and university-level meetings so you can learn about the diversity of experiences which exist in the areas of teaching, research, creative activities and service. Take the time to find out what will support your goals to become a well-rounded faculty member at IU. And just as important, in order to take care of you, become involved in your community by taking advantage of the recreational and social resources available in Bloomington and the surrounding areas."

Robert RebeinView print quality image

Robert Rebein, professor and chair of the Department of English, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

"My number one piece of advice to new faculty is to make a firm commitment to write for a set amount of time each and every day, even if it's only 20 or 30 minutes. Too often, faculty think of writing as an end-game to research or as some dread chore they are required to perform. But that's counterproductive. Make time for writing, prioritize it in your day, and you'll soon find yourself looking forward to it, and all of those projects you keep telling yourself you ought to be working on will get done as a matter of course."

Susan ZinnerView print quality image

Susan Zinner, professor of public and environmental affairs and president of the Faculty Organization, IU Northwest

"I did not know how important it was to attend the Faculty Organization meetings and (insert embarrassed face here) did not attend any of those meetings my entire first year! Now I realize how much important information is provided at this meeting, and that it is an opportunity to meet colleagues from other departments. So my advice? Attend Faculty Org!"

Jerry Hinnefeld View print quality image

Jerry Hinnefeld, professor of physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, IU South Bend

"Don't be afraid of serving on committees. Yes, it takes time away from your core responsibilities of teaching and research; but it is also a good way to get to know colleagues outside your own department, and for them to get to know you. If you're a responsible and effective committee member, your colleagues will take note of it and it will serve you well in the long run."

Tonya BreymierView print quality image

Tonya Breymier, associate dean and assistant professor of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, IU East

"The best advice I can give to new faculty is to keep an open mind, manage your time and hold on to your mentor. Academia is a total shift from our practice arenas, but it is an environment that I love to work in. You will probably have more flexibility than you are used to; time management is of the essence. Don't be afraid to write everything down on your calendar. Keep an open mind and be respectful, embrace the diversity of thought that you will encounter from your colleagues and students. Such openness will carry through to your courses and teaching, and you will be amazed at how much you learn from your own students when you keep an open mind. "Lastly, your mentor. You have many things to learn; your mentor will be there for you. Take each day as a new beginning full of new adjustments. Remember that your mentor was in your shoes at one time; ask them to share their first-year experience. Your mentor will eventually become a valuable colleague that will one day approach you for advice. Best wishes and welcome to the IU family!"

Julie Goodspeed-ChadwickView print quality image

Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick, professor of English and the director of the Office of Student Research, Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus

"Choose the mentor you want and emulate the faculty member you want to be (ideally, these would be the same). You may be assigned a mentor, and that's great! (The more mentors the merrier.) And yet, if there's someone who is accomplishing what you want to accomplish and is someone you admire personally and professionally also, you can approach that person and ask if she/he/they are able to mentor you. The second piece of advice I have is one that I gleaned years ago from two books (Boice's "Advice for New Faculty Members" and Perlmutter's "Promotion and Tenure Confidential"): Time will not manifest itself in abundance for you. You'll need to build in time for what is important in your faculty work. Lastly, seek out opportunities that invigorate your work: IU offers so many across its campuses. It's such a privilege to be a faculty member and to work within the IU system; keeping in mind why you do what you do will help you find the satisfaction and joy in faculty life."

Christina DowneyView print quality image

Christina Downey, associate professor of psychology and assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs and student success, IU Kokomo

"Much of what students show you in the classroom reflects their sense of confidence and effectiveness in your class, in college in general and in life. A study I did last year showed that nearly 60 percent of our first-year students reported feeling stressed on at least a regular basis by their sense of self-esteem or self-concept. That is, they were so concerned about whether they had what it takes to succeed that they were feeling stressed about it on a regular basis. Out of 14 life stressors I measured, self-concept actually came up as the second most frequent stressor, only behind educational stress (and ahead of financial stress, work stress, family stress or relationship stress). So when students appear disengaged, unmotivated or overly anxious, don't ignore or discount it; reach out to that student, build a relationship with him or her, and help that student understand the specific things they need to do to be successful."

David EplionView print quality image

David Eplion, associate professor of management and dean of the School of Business, IU Southeast

"While getting your research published is always a top priority, don't neglect the social aspect of the job. Get out of your office occasionally and make a point to stop by and talk with your colleagues. Ask about their research, discuss teaching strategies, learn about their hobbies and outside interests. Invite them to lunch. Doing so offers several potential benefits. One, it can help you establish a network of mentors. They can be invaluable when it comes to avoiding political pitfalls and improving your research and teaching. It can also help keep you in the loop about all that is happening within your school; it is tough to take advantage of opportunities if you don't know they exist. Finally, it can help people get to know and like you. While you won't get tenure just because people like you, your colleagues are far more likely to help someone they know and whose company they enjoy than they are to help a stranger."