Friday, February 19, 2016

NMDS Archive: Hindsight: What You Can Learn from My First Year, Part I (2015 edition)

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! 

-- SKG

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


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.


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. 


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.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Practical Matters: How to Stay Current in Your Field Without Breaking the Bank, Part II: Faculty Retraining and Development Fund

by Sarah Kain Gutowski, Chair, New Member Program

Greetings, new members! I hope you managed to survive the snowfall of this weekend without any traffic accidents or lack of electricity, and that today your classes and meetings and daily tasks are comfortably back on schedule. 

Remember our last blog post, when I wrote about Conference Reimbursement? I just want to emphasize how fortunate we are to have a faculty union that negotiated, and continues to protect, our right to funding for professional development. $1700 per person, particularly when multiplied by our membership, seems like a lot of money, doesn't it? And, of course, it is -- but we have to remember that $1700 is intended to stretch across two years. If you're familiar with the rising cost of airfare -- and/or the astronomical costs of staying in "the" conference hotel for the duration of a conference -- you'll know that this $1700 is not going to last beyond, well, one or two conferences (depending, of course, on how long you stay and how far away the conference is located). 
Winter sun. It likes to hide.

In your first years as a tenure-track faculty member, you'll be expected to stay current in your field by attending relevant local and/or regional conferences. There's no magic number -- although I'd suggest that a minimum of one per year demonstrates a comfortable commitment to one's professional development. With each subsequent promotion, however, and as with most aspects of your career, the stakes are raised the higher you climb toward full Professor or PA 2 or Specialist 2. You'll be expected to attend -- and eventually present at -- larger, more widely-recognized events on a national scale.

This, of course, will take money. My trip to LA in March, for instance, to attend the annual conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, will cost well over $1700. Such is life -- it's the premier conference in my field and I'm presenting on a panel, so I've said "bye-bye" pretty swiftly to my conference allowance, haven't I? (Yes. Yes I have.)

SO: if I want to attend the annual Southampton Writers' Conference this summer I'm out of luck, then, right? And I shouldn't even dream about AWP in 2017!

Not necessarily. Because, well, I'm a planner by nature, I anticipated having all of my conference money sucked away by this AWP visit in March. ALSO, I anticipated wanting to attend the Southampton Writers' Conference and finally (FINALLY) finishing the play I've been tooling away at for almost ten years. And yes, I'll probably be attending AWP next year.

The catch is that I had to anticipate most of this almost a year ago -- in April of 2015 to be precise. You see, the Faculty Association has ALSO negotiated an additional amount of money for faculty development and retraining: $30,000 per year, to be exact. Assistance for the next academic period is awarded to faculty who apply by April 15 of each year. The committee that oversees these applications will award funds first and foremost to faculty who require retraining. Then, after retraining needs have been met, those faculty who have applied for assistance for faculty development (like my attendance at the summer writers' conference) are awarded based on the strength of a faculty member's application and the amount of money still available in the fund.

So if you anticipate attending a conference or two next year -- and if you suspect you'll use your entire $1700 conference allowance pretty early, like yours truly -- you should consider applying for Faculty Retraining and Development assistance this spring. One way to make sure you understand the process and follow it correctly is to attend a Faculty Retraining and Development workshop one of our three campuses this semester, held by FA Secretary Marie Hanna (who is also a member of the Faculty Retraining and Development Committee -- so she knows what she's talking about).

The Ammerman Campus workshop was last week -- but that doesn't mean you can't attend on a different campus if you're interested in learning more. The dates for the remaining workshops, held during common hour (11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.) are as follows:

Wednesday, February 10 (tomorrow!) on the Grant Campus in Sagtikos 221.

Wednesday, February 17 (next week!) on the Eastern Campus in Corchaug 18.

Of course, if you can't make either of these workshops, simply email Marie Hanna with your concerns at marie [at] She'll be happy to help. Or ask your mentor, who may be able to answer your questions after having gone through the process him or herself. 

(And if you are interested in attending one of these workshops, give Marie a heads up by registering here.)

p.s. Want to learn more about how to balance professional development and scholarship with your regular job duties? Make sure you attend next Friday's New Member Discussion Series Event:

Friday, February 19: “Taking Your Show on the Road: How to Participate in Scholarship while Teaching at a Two-Year School” Faculty from various departments and disciplines re­flect on finding time for writing, research, and other forms of scholarship at an institution where teaching is the focus. While describing their own personal paths to publication and conference presentations, panelists will offer advice and share resources for new hires looking to balance their day to day duties with professional and scholarly concerns. Mildred Green Room, BSC, Ammerman Campus, 11:00-12:15 p.m.