As a new professor, joining the ranks of an institution as large and well-known as the University of California, Irvine (UCI) can be a challenge. Even for faculty who have extensive teaching experience, a refresh on the latest tips and tricks for instruction can be most welcome. This is why the Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation (DTEI) offers a summer program to assist incoming faculty as they adapt to UCI’s instructional landscape.
The New Faculty Teaching Academy (NFTA) was established to offer new faculty an introduction to teaching at UCI and to provide opportunities for them to connect with other faculty members. The NFTA also introduces faculty to the various resources and services available through the DTEI.
Led by Andrea Aebersold, Director of Faculty Instructional Development at the DTEI, the program consists of a series of modules that faculty can sign up for depending on their needs. Module topics include how to design effective courses, available instructional tools and technologies, and best practices for teaching at UCI. The NFTA also hosts sections with other DTEI directors and the classroom technology team to share all resources that the DTEI can offer. This year, the NFTA will offer a module on trauma-informed teaching to prepare faculty to support students that may need extra help as they transition to the next stage in the pandemic.
The NFTA offers practical, hands-on training to prepare them for the start of the academic year. The program even gives faculty the option to design a complete syllabus for their courses. NFTA participants will also receive a Certificate of Participation to add to their tenure and promotion files. While the program targets new professors with limited teaching experience, more experienced faculty who are new to UCI are welcome to participate.
Speaking on the NFTA’s goals, Aebersold emphasizes the importance of creating an inclusive campus environment for faculty and upholding UCI’s standards of educational excellence:
“Ultimately, the NFTA’s purpose is to welcome new faculty members and let them know that they have a network of support that they can rely on. When faculty feel included and are aware of the tools and resources at their disposal, they have an easier time adapting to our campus. Additionally, having a program that covers the basics of designing effective courses helps faculty maintain UCI’s high level of teaching.”