New Faculty Survival Guide

Introduction

Teaching and Learning

The importance of excellent instruction at CSU Stanislaus is reflected in the campus mission statement and in the commitment of its faculty and administration. In order to facilitate this effort, the university faculty and administration established the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in 1998. The Center, located in the new John Stuart Rogers Building, provides support for faculty in a range of areas, including teaching technology and professional development. Call Ext. 3216 for more information and specific services and programs. In addition, several other offices in the complex are dedicated to providing support for faculty wishing to integrate innovative teaching strategies into their courses, including: the Faculty Multimedia Lab at Ext. 3347 and the Service Learning Office at Ext. 3311, and the office of the Faculty Coordinator for the Assessment of Student Learning at Ext. 3289.

Faculty Development

Faculty development programs have been created on the CSU Stanislaus campus to support a climate that recognizes and values excellent instruction for a diverse student body. These programs support and encourage faculty to become even better teachers-teachers able to meet new challenges posed by changing students, changing demographics, changing societal needs and expectations, and changing technology. Furthermore, faculty development programs enable faculty to expand their intellectual, teaching, and scholarly horizons, helping them discover and apply for grants and other research-related assistance and initiate and complete scholarly, creative, and professional projects. In addition to the offices listed above, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, at Ext. 3449, is dedicated to assisting faculty members in finding the funding and support they need to carry out their research, scholarly, and creative activities. Departments, colleagues, and the university also offer a variety of faculty development opportunities from travel funds to sabbaticals. Many, though not all, of these are described in this guide.

Professional Competence

Faculty members are expected to remain abreast of developments in their disciplines and maintain a high level of competency in their perspective professional fields through means appropriate to each discipline. Faculty are encouraged to read departmental Retention, Promotion, and Tenure (RPT) elaborations and discuss specific department and university expectations with their chairs. Elaborations are University Retention, Promotion and Tenure Committee (URPTC) approved descriptions of the criteria departments use to determining retention, promotion, and tenure.

Professional Organizations

Most faculty belong to national and/or international professional organizations. But as members of a comprehensive state university, it is also appropriate and important to participate in local and regional professional societies.

Nature of Student Body

Teaching at CSU Stanislaus is exciting, rewarding, and challenging. Our student body, one of the most diverse in the nation, reflects the population of the Central Valley of California. Students come with a variety of backgrounds, expectations, and levels of preparation. Many are first-generation college students. The average age of our student population is 26. Sixty-five percent are women. Some students have learned English as a second language, and a cluster are international students. Because most students work at jobs on and off campus, the average class load of a CSU Stanislaus student is lower than on traditional campuses, and the resulting degree time is slightly longer. As a commuter campus, Stanislaus draws most of its students from the surrounding communities. The defined service area is a six-county area larger than the state of Vermont. In order to serve these outlying areas, CSU Stanislaus has a satellite campus in Stockton, televised distance-learning sites in Stockton and Merced, and encourages fully online, web-based courses.

Purpose of this Guide

This guide is designated to give new faculty an overview of their responsibilities and to provide answers to the questions that new faculty most frequently asks. We hope that you will find this guide a useful reference as you prepare and teach your classes, meet with students, and consider the various facets of your professional life.

This guide will help you with your everyday concerns as a university employee. We have included information on areas such as benefits, sabbaticals, instructional resources, and also on 'nuts and bolts? topics, such as parking and photocopying. The guide is intended to inform you of your roles and responsibilities as a faculty member in the CSU system and on the CSU Stanislaus campus. In writing this guide, the authors, considered the importance and significance of professional duties on a campus that values teaching within a diverse society. We provide strategies for successful planning and teaching a class, and for advising students on academic issues and areas outside the classroom. We summarize rules for dealing with sticky issues such as academic dishonesty, confidentiality, and grade disputes. And we conclude several of the chapters with pertinent questions and tips to help readers focus on key areas.

In short, the New Faculty Survival Guide is intended to be a helpful reference for everyday questions from faculty who are teaching, advising, conducting research, and participating in the community on and beyond this campus.

Sources for Official Information

A number of official documents govern faculty life in the CSU and at CSU Stanislaus. We strongly urge new faculty to familiarize themselves with these documents and consult with them whenever questions arise. In addition, the Office of Faculty Affairs at Ext. 3392, or email FAffairs@csustan.edu, is available for consultation and support on a range of professional and ethical issues.

Governing Documents

Additional Documents