When a new faculty member prepares to begin work, there’s already the challenge of teaching at a new campus. When you add to that mix the need for more online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, the learning curve intensifies. To support its faculty, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Teaching and Learning Innovation (TLI) is providing virtual resources to help smooth the transition.
“Sometimes faculty can feel like they’re on an island, especially when they’re new,” says Alissa Sommerfeldt, communications specialist at TLI. “They need to know how they’re supported as teachers.”
The New Faculty Teaching Institute (NFTI) is designed to connect participants of any experience level with teaching strategies and support resources. Faculty will find sessions to help expand their skills in socially distanced classrooms, hybrid courses, inclusive course development, and other focus areas.
NFTI hosts include a collection of campus partners from the Division of Student Success, the Office of Information Technology, the UT Libraries, and TLI itself. Sessions are available on Zoom through August 10. New faculty can sign up on the NFTI Canvas site.
“NFTI also allows new faculty to engage with each other and meet their UT colleagues,” says Jennifer Gramling, director of online programs at TLI.
Participation has grown to 80–90 new faculty members a year. Organizers expect to welcome even more participants this year.
“One of our most popular sessions each year is the faculty panel, and this year it will be hosted by some of the Faculty Fellows for Technology Enhanced Teaching,” Gramling says. “This is a great opportunity for new faculty to ask some of our most experienced instructors to share their knowledge and advice.”