This Fall semester, all over the world enthusiastic young (or not so young) people start their first job as a faculty member. If you are one of them – congratulations! But also: beware, you are in for quite a ride… If you are welcoming new faculty in your department, you may want to use this post to give them some advice.
So what is it like to start as a new faculty member? Busy for sure. Chaotic at times as well. I remember it took so long when I started to get a computer and I had so many issues printing. It ‘s also lots of fun to finally be a professor and learn to teach, work with young people, and figure out which research you want to do.
Over the years, I’ve developed a few tips for new faculty members. These are:
- Develop a weekly template: Figure out when you will teach, prepare class, do research, write, reply emails, meet your graduate students etc on a weekly basis. Schedule appointments into your designated time blocks for these activities. I use my weekly template each and every semester, as a function of my responsibilities that semester.
- Track your time: Use your time tracking data to optimize how you plan your weeks, and to avoid committing to tasks you can’t fit into a normal workweek.
- Take good care of yourself: Reserve the time you need to sleep, eat, move, rest, play, have hobbies, hang out with friends, etc.
- Make time for others: Find time to meet colleagues. Explore collaborations – but without the immediate need to publish something or write a grant together.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself: It will take a few semesters before your class converges to something really good. There are times in the semester when everything is just very busy and you may drop the ball. Your papers and grants will be rejected. Be OK with that knowledge.
What is your best advice for new faculty members?