Retaining New Faculty

The effort expended in attracting and hiring the best faculty should be matched by equal efforts to retain them. Support in developing teaching skills, establishing a research program and generally 'fitting in' to a new workplace and often a new social environment are especially important for individuals in their first academic appointment. It is important to make a special effort to welcome new faculty members and to send a clear message that the unit and the University want them to stay and work as colleagues.

Orientation begins as soon as the new colleague is hired. Areas to be covered during orientation include:

  • allocation of work space and any relevant equipment
  • roles and responsibilities of various people in the unit
  • professional development
  • time tabling and course assignemtn and advice in ordering textbooks and perhaps in establishing course syllabi. 

​Make sure that the new faculty member receives a copy of the Collective Agreement [PDF] and any Faculty regulations and procedures regarding tenure and promotion (see Board/DFA Collective Agreement on, Tenure - Clause 15 and Promotion - Clause 16). Current faculty should be made aware of the areas of expertise and interests of the new faculty member.

Just before fall term begins, the Office of Instructional Development and Technology conducts an Orientation for New Faculty, which introduces new faculty to the people and services that support teaching and learning at Dalhousie. The session also informs new professors of the workshops and activities available through Talent Management throughout the year. New faculty should be encouraged to attend, and also made aware of other resources on campus.

Give special attention to ensure that new faculty are not inadvertently excluded from departmental meetings, social events, and so on.

Provide advice and guidance on balancing research duties with teaching and committee responsibilities. Recognize the additional work of counselling, mentoring and community responsibilities that designated group faculty may assume. Consider establishing an informal mentoring program, perhaps one in which the new colleague plays a part in selecting the mentor. The mentoring program should provide a supportive environment for a new colleague to ask questions and receive advice and feedback about the University and departmental expectations of faculty members.

It is important to recognize not only the systemic barriers to recruitment, but also the systemic barriers to the evaluation of performance within your department, particularly for designated group members. Departments need to be aware that faculty members from designated groups, particularly in disciplines where they are under-represented, or if they use different teaching styles, may be subject to more critical student evaluations. Promotion and tenure committees should question their processes of evaluation, examining areas such as quantity and quality of publications, and alternative teaching styles. Departments should also examine whether women and other designated group members are given equivalent access to opportunities for career development and fair evaluation. Some factors of consideration include:

  • opportunity to occupy positions or roles of responsibility;
  • opportunity to participate in and chair committees which play a significant role in the unit or Faculty;
  • equivalent access to budgetary, and other, resources, and space allocation.
  • Designated group members also may not receive recognition for their work as mentors or for their committee and community work. As in the process of recruitment and selection, the playing field must be levelled to ensure a fair tenure evaluation process.

Note: While it is stressed that women and designated group members be given equivalent opportunities for career development and fair evaluation, care must be taken to ensure that all new faculty members are not overloaded with too many tasks. New faculty members responsibilities should be gradually increased as they become accustomed to their positions to ensure fairness.