August 30, 2012
Writer: Hayden Coombs
The expectations for a new professor at BYU-Idaho are becoming increasingly different than those at any other university. Whether a professor is in their first year of teaching, or if they have taught for many years at another school, the adjustment can be overwhelming for new faculty members.
Recognizing these enormous expectations, the BYU-Idaho Instructional Development Office has instituted a program for the university's new faculty members. Through this program, BYU-Idaho hopes to have the new faculty fully integrated through a series of instructional-based orientations.
Two years ago, BYU-Idaho started extending the contracts of new faculty three weeks earlier than the rest of the faculty. Before the new faculty even step foot on campus, they are required to go through about 10-15 hours of online orientation. These short courses cover many of the basic elements of this university; such as the learning model, usage of available technology on campus, and successful teaching methods.
When the new faculty members finally arrive on campus, they have a rigorous first week of workshops that cover everything from course and syllabus design and properly using group work in the classroom, to the "Spirit of Ricks." At the conclusion of this first week, every new professor should have all the tools he or she needs to set up their classes.
Brother Devan Barker of the Instructional Development Office has not only developed most of this program, but also teaches many of the workshops. About this new program, he said, "With this new process, BYU-Idaho is showing a level of institutional commitment in supporting the faculty in their instructional efforts."