Getting the most out of your induction
Beginning a new job at a new institution can be a disorienting process whether you’re becoming a lecturer for the first time or are further on in your career. Most institutions have a robust induction process for new staff and it’s recommended that you take advantage of this.
University –wide induction
Hopefully you will be offered this near the start of your employment because this is when it is most useful. Sometimes new staff are not offered induction immediately, so if you feel that you have been overlooked, contact your HR department and find out when the next induction session will be.
Induction is most useful for orienting yourself in your new surroundings. You should be given a history of the institution and practical help in navigating the campus. Questions about transport, car parking and other practical arrangements are often answered here.
Every university is run in a slightly different way, and even though you think it won’t matter to you what the managerial structure looks like, it is as well to inform yourself about this. You want to know who is making decisions on your behalf!
Network! This is also a great opportunity to meet members of the senior team and introduce yourself to them. But also you might get the opportunity to meet other new colleagues in your department, faculty or school.
A more personal introduction should be offered by your department. This may be a formal induction process, or an informal ‘meet and greet’. It is during this time that you will find out who to contact if you have a question. Your line manager should be available to answer many queries but sometimes other colleagues, for example those teaching in a similar subject area to you, will be useful for advice. Also make sure that the admin staff and secretaries know who you are and establish a good relationship from the start.
You may be assigned a mentor from within your department. If so, develop this relationship as it will be invaluable to you, not only at the start of your term of employment but throughout your time there. Ask for a mentor if one is not assigned to you. Mentoring may take place as part of a personal development review process. This will involve annual meetings with a senior colleague who will allow you to discuss career development options.
Those in the early career stage have particular challenges when starting a new job. Most institutions require that they undertake a teaching practice qualification as part of their probation. This can be incredibly time consuming just at the time when you are busy trying to settle in to new work patterns. It can also seem irrelevant because it is not subject specific. However, you may find that some of the themes discussed on your course are useful later on. There may be specific other requirements of probation at your institution to do with publications or funding bids for example, so read the small print of your contract.