Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Welcome, New Faculty!

by Sarah Kain Gutowski, Chair, New Member Mentoring Program

The rose bush next to my office window blooms in August.
Welcome to SCCC, new members! 

I'm sorry that I missed meeting most of you at Orientation on Friday. Hopefully, once the relevant and necessary forms were filled out, you learned some useful and interesting facts about life at the college and ended the day feeling excited and energized about your future at Suffolk.

But if you didn't, don't fret. It's completely normal to have felt a little overwhelmed -- after all, there's a lot of information at Orientation that's thrown at you all at once and it can be really difficult to keep track of all the names and faces you meet during the day.

That's one of the reasons the Faculty Association started our New Member Mentoring Program. We recognize how difficult it can be to acclimate to any new job, let alone at a college, where the infrastructure can be complex and more often than not, a little confusing. Having a peer mentor, someone familiar with the college environment and its policies and procedures, not to mention its diverse student body with varying needs, can really make a world of difference in the transition to your new role as faculty, librarian, specialist, or professional assistant at SCCC.

Over the next two weeks, the campus coordinators for the New Member Mentoring Program will be working closely with me to pair you with a mentor. You'll receive an email notifying you of that person's name and contact information, and then shortly after you'll receive an email, office visit, or phone call from your mentor.

Your mentoring experience will last for the entire 2016-2017 academic year. (This is also true for those of you who arrived in the spring but weren't paired with a mentor yet -- you still receive a full year of mentoring!) You'll receive, on a regular basis, information through the official New Member Mentoring Program blog, The Undercurrent. Each new post from the blog will be sent to your school email address, along with a hyperlinked archive of past posts from the year. For the most part, I'll be writing these pieces, but they'll also feature voices from guest writers across our three campuses.

In late September or early October, you'll be invited to a Bagel Brunch on your campus, where our FA officers and your campus coordinator will give you a special white promotion folder (the biggest asset, some argue, when planning and preparing for your promotions) as well as more information about how the college runs and what to expect in the upcoming weeks and months. It's also a really good opportunity for us to check in with you, see how things are going, and help you troubleshoot any problems if, of course, you have them.

During the fall semester your mentor will check in with you periodically, and at one point you will arrange a date and time to go out to lunch -- on the FA. This off-campus, one-on-one opportunity is your chance to get to know a little of the landscape surrounding your campus (like, where the good diners and coffee shops are) as well as to speak frankly and openly about your experience at SCCC in a less formal setting.

In November, you should make a sincere attempt to attend In Hindsight: What You Can Learn from My First Year, the first event of the newly revamped FA Discussion Series, and a panel discussion featuring faculty who began their careers at SCCC -- and went through this same mentoring program -- just last year. (Save the date: November 18 from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. on the Ammerman Campus, in the Mildred Green Room, Babylon Student Center). Also, you'll receive an electronic copy of The Word, our FA newsletter, and you'll learn the date and time of our annual Holiday Party. You are encouraged to attend this celebratory and social event, and bring a spouse or partner as well -- your own ticket to the party is free, courtesy of the FA.

When we return from the winter break to begin the spring semester, your mentor will again check in, see how things are going, and take you out to lunch before the academic year ends. Additionally, there will be two more FA Discussion Series events to attend (one in February and one in April)

Your first academic year at SCCC and your time in the New Member Mentoring Program will close with an appreciation dinner and social gathering in late May or early June, where the FA will officially thank all of the members who work tirelessly on behalf of the union's efforts, like your mentors, and congratulate all of its newest members on successfully completing their first full-time year at Suffolk.

Should you have any pressing questions or concerns before you're officially assigned your mentor, please feel free to contact your New Member Mentoring Program campus coordinator via email or phone:

Grant Campus

Pete DiGregorio
Sagtikos 108
peterd _ at _
digregp _ at _

Ammerman Campus

Jonathan Brockman
Life Science 230
jonathanb _ at _
brockmj _ at _

Eastern Campus

Nina Acquavita
Orient 220
ninaa _ at _
acquavn _ at _

You should also feel free to contact me directly:

College-Wide Chair of the New Member Mentoring Program

Sarah Kain Gutowski
Orient 123
sarahg _ at _
gutowss _ at _

That's it for now -- best of luck with your first week of the academic year! Be on the lookout for an email about your mentor pairing soon . . .  
From left: Jonathan Brockman (Ammerman Campus); Nina Acquavita (Eastern Campus); Sarah Kain Gutowski (College-wide Chair); and Pete DiGregorio (Grant Campus)