Basic Information about Your College

by Karen Owen, Cynthia Scott and Sharon McConnell Gillins

If you are a first-time faculty member,  a few of your immediate concerns in preparing for a successful teaching experience are:

  •  developing course materials (course outlines, syllabi, lesson plans) 
  •  identifying resources you can use to support your teaching and professional teaching experience.  
  •  understanding the organizational structure, rules, policies and regulations that govern your college, district, and state.

    These topics are addressed in detail in later lessons. This section introduces immediate concerns related to who and where.

Ask Your Department Chair or Dean

The internet is a great source of general information about your college and district. college info link  But your Dean or Department Chair is the best source of the specific information you'll need as you orient yourself to the college and department.  Here's a list (checklist_dean_or_chair.pdf) of items and information that you will want to investigate;  your dean or department chair will be able to provide most of the information and direct your to appropriate resources.    

People, Places & Services

  • Books orders college info link
  • Campus phone book  my college link
  • Child Care Center: Some colleges offer child care services for children of staff, faculty or student/parents.  Most hold normal hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. but check for possible extended hours. There may be eligibility rules or space limitations, but all will require that the child be of good health. There may be fees involved while others provide free breakfast and lunch for qualifying parents.
  • Copies college info link
    • How and where to get copies made college info link
    • Copyright policies college info link
  • Computer resources for Faculty: Personal computers at departmental, library or staff development facilities may be available for your use. Many staff development departments hold regular computer training courses and/or provide staff support to configure your own PC and required software applications.  college info link
  • Email addresses for Faculty college info link
  • Human Resources dig deeper
  • Keys and codes to open classrooms college info link
  • Map of the Campus college info link
  • Mailboxes for Faculty college info link
  • Office Space: Adjunct faculty may not be assigned a specific room for their exclusive use. Colleges may provide a common work room with phones and computers. Some full time faculty are happy to share their offices. Most colleges encourage adjunct faculty to use computer labs, library facilities or staff development training areas.
  • Parking permits and lots for faculty college info link
  • Phone and voice mail hookups for faculty: college info link
  • Staff ID: Most schools issue Staff a picture ID. Some require that it be displayed while on campus. Staff ID may be used to open doors or use copy machines and other special equipment or for library privileges.  college info link
  • Student Services college info link
  • Supplies: Getting the supplies you need to function every day is unique to your college and your department. There might be a storeroom with supplies available to you or you may have a budget for supplies such as, paper, toner cartridges, classroom books, posters, white board markers, folders, etc. Find out:
    • where office supplies and other items are are stored;
    • the procedures for using them and how to buy more;
    • the appropriate budget codes for supplies;
    • where items are delivered and how to pick them up;
      procedures for reimbursement if you've purchased supplies with your money.

    Every college handles supplies a little differently, so if you have questions or need clarification on procedures, ask the department chair, department secretary or an experienced teacher to help you. Then, when it's your turn to help others, remember what it was like not to know and be sure to return the favor.  

  • Web Development: Creating and maintaining web pages containing course syllabi, outlines, weekly assignments or other course requirements may reduce student questions about basic course information.  College policies and support services differ significantly, but staff development courses in creating and maintaining web pages are common. college info link
  • Who’s Who on campus

Activities and Announcements

  • Calendar of Events: Most colleges send out Yearly or Monthly Calendar of Events covering sports events, meetings of important committees, theatre performances, seminars and conventions, special dinners for recognizing students or faculty, exhibitions and other campus social and cultural events. This publication may be sent to you by local campus mail or posted on the college web site. Other colleges send e-mail to all college personnel highlighting specific important events. college info link
  • Campus Newsletter: Some colleges have regular newsletters or bulletins published by a Public Relations or similar department. These cover significant events and personalities on the campus and accomplishments of anyone connected with the college. Often a Calendar of Events or announcements of important activities on campus is included. These may be delivered to your home address or campus mailbox. college info link

Policies and Procedures

  • Board Policies college info link
  • Classroom management policies and procedures (You may find it helpful to ask your department chair about informal application of these policies.)
    • Class Time/Break Policy or advisory college info link
    • Adds/wait lists/drops college info link
    • Campus Police telephone number college info link
    • Field Trip Policy college info link
    • Student Code of Conduct (disciplinary procedures) college info link
  • College Policy documents  
    • College Catalog college info link
    • Student Handbook college info link
    • CTA Contract college info link
    • Board of Trustees Policy Manual college info link
  • Emergency Policies college info link
  • Faculty Handbook and Policies: Some colleges issue a Faculty Handbook, Adjunct faculty Handbook, web-based guide, or rely on Handbooks often include phone and room numbers of campus offices and departments, academic calendar, important forms, policies and procedures on faculty and student relationships, curriculum and other important topics.  You may find it helpful to ask about formal and informal application of policies.
    • Online Faculty Handbook college info link
    • Confidentiality of student information college info link
  • Paycheck policies  college info link
  • Professional advancement college info link
    • Educational support/training/benefits (FLEX) college info link
    • Funds for conferences and travel
    • Salary Placement college info link
  • Attendance reporting procedures college info link