The Early Career Faculty Community of Practice

Traci Wessel & Rita Gura, Co-facilitators of the Early Career Faculty CoP

Submitted by Rita Gura, Physical Therapy and Traci Wessel, Dietetic Technician

The Early Career Faculty Community of Practice was formed in Spring 2018 for non-tenured faculty members with the goal of enhancing the initial years on campus through a supportive cohort experience. We have aligned our strategic goals with the formal faculty assessment process to complete activities that promote instructional, institutional, and community service as well as promote professional development. To accomplish these goals, we provide non-tenured faculty with educational resources that improve the understanding of the operations of the college, social activities that improve connectedness to campus and enhance networking opportunities, and wellness activities that allow for a smooth transition into academics.

The Early Career Faculty CoP is open to new faculty once they complete the new faculty course in the fall. We plan two social events per semester, one wellness activity per semester, one professional development event per year and one community volunteer event per year. This year, the members of the CoP collaborated to create a “Who’s Who and What’s What Quick Reference Guide for New Faculty” intended to assist new faculty with navigating their first semester, hosted two networking events, “Coffee and Conversation Bar” and “Tea and Treats” to connect with other faculty, including leaders from the faculty senate, to discuss questions about processes such as completing the Form 1 document. Early Career Faculty CoP members also decorated each of the new faculty members’ office doors during Thanksgiving week to make them aware of how thankful we are to have them at Harper! In the spring, the CoP will be hosting a wellness and professional development event, completing two additional social/networking events, as well as participating in a group community service event.

The CoP will be sending formal invites to the new faculty who just completed their first semester to invite them to join the CoP in January. All non-tenured faculty are welcome to join us at any time as it is a cohort-based CoP without a membership cap. Additionally, faculty do not have to be members of the CoP to utilize resources and participate in events we develop to support new faculty. The group meets one time per month during the school year and typically once or twice over the summer. We look forward to welcoming the 2018-2019 new faculty to our Community of Practice and continuing to support their journeys here at Harper.