Advice for New College Instructors

What Award Winning Instructors Have to Say to New Faculty Members

I began reading a book I purchased in 2008.  (Memo to self: Next week stop procrastinating.  😉 )  Any way, in their book “Practical Magic” (2003) Roueche, Milliron & Roueche report on a study of “excellent” award winning full-time community college instructors, but the advice applies to part-time instructors as well.  When asked the most important advice they would give a beginning instructor their responses were (in rank order):

  1. Focus on your students,
  2. Put forth the effort necessary to be effective,
  3. Find a mentor,
  4. Be positive,
  5. Set high standards for self and students,
  6. Be open and honest,
  7. Explore and utilize a range of teaching techniques,
  8. Embrace teaching life,
  9. Strive for balance,
  10. Value student contributions,
  11. Be flexible,
  12. Value intrinsic rewards,
  13. Orient yourself to the community college context and your college in particular, and
  14. Get involved in college activities.

Therefore, my advice would be read this book, and then if it ain’t in your heart, if it no longer excites you, find something else to do.

© 2010 Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

Revised June 26, 2010

About Dr. Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

My name is Paul Hummel, and I often introduce myself to others as a recovering engineer. If you are familiar with the Dilbert cartoons, let me simply say that I lived all of that. I started my college saga at Illinois Institute of Technology. Eventually, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management. I worked for many years in industry, and during this time I did some college adjunct teaching. During my career I held several managerial positions in industry, the last as Director of Technology of a division of a Fortune 500 corporation. Then, in 1996, with minimal planning or forethought, I found myself working as a manufacturing consultant on behalf of Elgin Community College (ECC). My career in higher education began to take shape. I fell in love with ECC and with the mission of community colleges in general. I worked fulltime and occasionally taught college courses for my institution and two other colleges. After a couple years I set a goal to move over to the “credit side of the college” and eventually become a college administrator. In 2006, having earned my doctorate in education, I achieved that goal. I was hired by Waubonsee Community College as Dean for Technology, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. I have had the great fortune of working at two excellent colleges. The insights I want to share are drawn from the various college positions I have held. At ECC, in addition to my consulting role, I coordinated non-credit professional development training programs for three years and spent four years advising students in the TRiO Student Support Services program. That position helped me understand college education from the perspective of today’s college students. After seven years at Waubonsee, I retired April 30, 2013. I now devote my knowledge and skills to upgrading and expanding the websites I created beginning with Adjunct Assistance. I have three other websites: College Teaching Tips, Keys for College Success and Lighthouse for Learning. A lot of work lies ahead for me in terms of upgrading and expanding each of these websites, but I could not be more excited about fulfilling the vision I have for helping college instructors and their students succeed.

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