Adjunct Faculty: A Department Chair’s Guide to Orienting New Instructors

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Department chairs are busy people, and hiring and onboarding adjunct faculty is just one of many tasks on their plate (sometimes right before the start of a new semester). To make it easier, here is a checklist of essential information that chairs should share with new adjunct faculty when hiring them, including course syllabi, textbooks, learning outcomes, encouraged pedagogical approaches, grading philosophy, and where adjunct faculty can go on campus for other resources.

by Teresa Focarile, Boise State University

As a department chair you have a lot of responsibilities, and hiring and onboarding adjunct faculty is just one of them. Introducing these new instructors to their courses, as well as to department and university culture and resources, can be a big task, particularly if your institution does not have a robust new adjunct faculty orientation program. Adding to the challenge is the fact that adjunct faculty don’t all have the same level of experience in the classroom, or the same history with your institution, so it’s not always possible to have a one-size-fits-all process for getting them ready to teach.

That said, there are a few key points that are important to cover in an orientation session that will be helpful for all incoming adjunct faculty. What follows is a list of those steps, with different levels of depth at which they could be accomplished. If you can already check off the base level for all of these steps, great! You could then choose to take on the Level 2 or Level 3 options under each step to create more in-depth preparation for your adjunct faculty - which could lead to more meaningful learning for your students.

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