Editor's Note: Later today, we'll hold the third event in this year's New Member Discussion Series program, titled “Taking Your Show on the Road: How to Participate in Scholarship while Teaching at a Two-Year School” (Mildred Green Room, Babylon Student Center, 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.). I hope to see many of you at this event: while continued professional development and scholarship is not only something many of us are interested in personally, it's also a requirement for promotion. This event aims to share some excellent advice on ways to engage in scholarship in a way that doesn't threaten or impede your regular duties at the college. (ALSO: Stay around the Mildred Green Room from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. for The Write Time -- another way to work some scholarship into your busy schedule, and there's coffee courtesy of the Faculty Association!)
Last semester, we began the New Member Discussion series with an event titled, "Hindsight: What You Can Learn from My First Year." The following is Jared Dowd's paper on the topic.
See you soon!
Hindsight: What You Can Learn from My First Year
by Jared Dowd, Counselor, Financial Aid
In starting any new job there is a tendency, as a new hire, to shy away from asking questions and acting as though you know it all. Do yourself a favor and utilize your relationships with your colleagues. Bridging a line of communication with those around you engenders trust and enables you to improve on your skills and shows you want to do your job to the best of your ability. Reach out beyond the larger community. Knowing all the avenues your students can take advantage of makes you a better advisor to your students. Plus, it also helps you whenever you are trying to get something done yourself.
Although I have been with the college since 2010, prior to my current position as the Campus Coordinator for TRIO: Student Support Services, I have always found this to be helpful. In my first semester I took advantage of the veteran counselors around me at the Eastern Campus One Stop Shop. Through expanding my knowledge base on how the campus operated, I built relationships with each branch of student services. It allowed for my contemporaries to learn from me as well, knowing they could count on me for help and advice. I am privileged to have such a supportive group of colleagues.
|Jared Dowd presenting at the NMDS in September 2015|
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WHAT SUFFOLK HAS TO OFFER
Each semester Suffolk Community College runs many workshops and professional development opportunities for you to learn and expand your knowledge base. I also found the Faculty Association's New Member emails, and the Office of Faculty and Professional Advancement's Monday Morning Mentor emails, started my weeks off on the right foot.
You can also get involved with advising a club on your campus or becoming part of a committee. At the end of my first semester I was approached to be a co-advisor for the Students Against Depression Club. Twice a month I would sit down with the club's president and discuss their plans for the semester. They do a lot of positive work on campus.
These occasions are also a great place to meet some of your peers, build relationships, and enrich your own education.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH MENTORS
Prior to coming to the Eastern Campus, Lorianne Lueders-Yanotti, director of Student Support Services, was my professional guide and mentor in higher education. During my years working at Ammerman, she helped cultivate my understanding of higher education and always encouraged me to keep an open mind. I was always willing to take on new challenges. She taught me the proper way to handle myself at this level. Her guidance has helped me become the professional I am today.
In my first year at the Riverhead Campus, Matthew Okerblom was my Faculty Association mentor. He actually held my position in years prior, so knew the workload I had to deal with and helped my transition immensely. Throughout my first semester I feel as though I thanked him on a daily basis for clarity on an array of issues and for giving me advice on navigating my journey at Suffolk Community College. He recently became the assistant dean of Curriculum, yet I know I can always go to him for advice. (The free lunches didn’t hurt, either. I am now a fan of Turkish cuisine.)
Dr. Martinez, the Assistant Dean of Student Services, provided me with many one-on-ones throughout my first year. In our meetings I was able to bounce any issue off of him and get his insight. He was a big proponent of encouraging me to become more involved in campus and taking advantage of professional development when I could. I feel fortunate to have him advising me and his encouragement to make the most of my time with the college.
I was lucky enough to already know one of the mentors for the Faculty Association, Terri Morales. I knew her through my work with Student Support Services and EOP. She was my go-to for any questions regarding benefits, bereavement, vacation, and was an integral part of me becoming an adjunct professor in my first semester. She helped me figure out my syllabus and class lessons as I was appointed a COL 105 class 10 days before it began. I highly suggest contacting your Faculty Association Mentor on your campus at the start of the semester and getting to know them. They provide a wealth of knowledge.
THE ART OF KINDLY SAYING NO
When beginning any new position you want to make an impact. Your intent is to show your colleagues that you have what it takes to be amongst them and excel. In some cases, people get themselves in trouble because they don’t know the power of the word "no."
Obviously, being put in a situation to take on more work, or being asked to do something beyond your job description is hard as the new person on campus. In my first year, it was frequently acknowledged that I should get involved with a campus committee. I intend to sometime this year, but last year it was very important for me to be my 110% best at my current position as the Campus Coordinator of Student Support Services. When the issue of committees was brought up, my reply was simply, “At this point, I want to be the best counselor for the program I am serving. Perhaps later in the year, once I have everything in place, I will begin to seek out getting more involved in that way.” I think any colleague would respect this approach and still think highly of you, regardless.