Dean's Program to Introduce New Faculty to the College

Because they will provide information and perspectives to help you in your work as teachers, scholars, and members of the Amherst community, we expect that new members of the faculty will attend each of these events. If for any reason you must miss one, please contact Austin Sarat.

Beneske Museum of Natural History

Tuesday, August 30, 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Dean’s Welcome Barbecue with Dinosaurs and Friends

Location:  Amherst College Beneski Museum of Natural History

All new faculty members and their families, as well as their department chairs, are invited to a barbecue and introduction to the Beneski Museum of Natural History (which dinosaur lovers young and old particularly enjoy). Information will be provided about teaching using the museum’s collections.

Wednesday, August 31, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Luncheon Discussion for New Faculty: Meeting Members of the Community

Location:  Amherst College Alumni House

This event offers an opportunity to learn about the early weeks of the semester, to discuss registration practices, to ask questions, and to meet the librarian of the college; the directors of the Mead Art Museum, Beneski Museum of Natural History, Emily Dickinson Museum, Athletics, Grants Office, Human Resources, Information Technology, the Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Counseling Center, Instructional and Curricular Design Services, and Center for Community Engagement; the registrar; administrators from the Office of Student Affairs; the chief policy officer and general counsel; the Title IX coordinator; the ombudsperson; members of the Office of the Dean of the Faculty; and other administrators.

Thursday, September 1, 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Learn about the Library

Location:  Frost Library Periodicals Room

Join colleagues at Frost Library for food, wine, and conversation. Learn how to develop the library’s collection in your research area, collaborate with librarians and archivists on teaching the research process, place items for your courses on reserve, and find what you need on the library’s website.

Monday, September 5, 5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. 

First Faculty Meeting

Location:  Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall

Preceding convocation, there will be a short faculty meeting to introduce new and returning colleagues and approve some new courses. After the meeting, everyone is invited to a light supper in Converse lobby until 7:00 p.m., allowing time to put on regalia for convocation.



Monday, September 5, 7:30 p.m.


Location:  Johnson Chapel

Please plan to attend convocation. Faculty and administrators who participate wear academic regalia. If you need to rent regalia, early notice is essential. Please contact Paula Mieczkowski for rental information. Paula can also help with purchasing regalia at any time during the year. Please place your order as soon as possible, and definitely by early July, to avoid high shipping fees.

Thursday, September 8, 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Meet at the Mead Art Museum

Join David E. Little, the Mead Art Museum's director and chief curator, and Pamela Russell, head of education and Andrew W. Mellon curator of academic programs, for refreshments and a tour of the Mead's newly reimagined galleries and state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and storage. The museum, which houses the college’s renowned 20,000-object art collection representing virtually every national school and historical era, offers many exciting resources and programs to support the faculty’s teaching and research. The evening will include a visit to the Russian Center Gallery to explore the current exhibition, Journeys in Space and Memory: Urban Scenes and Landscapes by Russian Artists. Find out how encounters with original works of art can enhance every course, from chemistry to classics, from geology to gender studies. Meet new colleagues over wine, beer, sushi, and more!

Tuesday, September 13, 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Title IX Training for New Faculty with Laurie Frankl

Location:  Mullins-Faerber Rooms, Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons, Valentine Hall

Amherst's Title IX coordinator will provide an overview of Title IX, covering topics that include the college's response to reports of sexual misconduct; faculty members' role as mandated reporters of information related to sexual misconduct; resources available to students; and strategies for managing difficult conversations.

Tuesday, September 27, 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 

Lunch Discussion for New Faculty: Student Rights/Student Problems—Faculty Responsibilities

Location:  Mullins-Faerber Rooms, Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons, Valentine Hall

Colleges are now facing the convergence of a generation of students who arrive on campus with serious problems and, at the same time, a more rigorous legal and regulatory climate. Areas of prime concern include disabilities (ADA), privacy (FERPA), and reporting of infractions (Clery Act). We, as teachers, may wonder how our role with students is changing and how the college is working to assure the rights and intellectual freedom of all parties. As informants we have invited Suzanne Coffey, chief student affairs officer; Alex Vasquez, dean of students; Jodi Foley, accessibility services manager; and Lisa Rutherford, chief policy officer and general counsel. 

Tuesday, October 18, 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Lunch Discussion for New Faculty: Teaching at Amherst, Observations on Local Culture and Expectations

Location:  Mullins-Faerber Rooms, Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons, Valentine Hall

During this lunch, we will discuss what Amherst students want/expect in their classroom experiences. What kinds of workload and writing/testing works well? What are the expectations/conventions regarding grading? When/how is authority in the classroom established/challenged?

Tuesday, November 8, 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

For Visiting Faculty Members: How to Get the Most Out of Your Time at Amherst (for visiting faculty members only)

Location: Mullins-Faerber Rooms, Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons, Valentine Hall

Being a visiting faculty member at Amherst can be a very rewarding and exciting experience. In this session, colleagues who have been/are visiting faculty members will reflect on their experiences as visitors. What worked for them in helping to get the most out of being at Amherst? What pitfalls can be anticipated and avoided?

Tuesday, November 29, 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Lunch Discussion for New Faculty: Let's Talk Athletics

Location: Friends Room, Alumni Gym

An opportunity to meet Director of Athletics Don Faulstick and coaches to discuss the role of athletics at the college.

Tuesday, December 13, 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Lunch Discussion for New Faculty: Faculty Governance

Location: Mullins-Faerber Rooms, Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons, Valentine Hall

Amherst prides itself on its tradition of faculty governance. This conversation will focus on the roles that faculty members play in setting policy and making decisions at the college. We will discuss the faculty meeting and its norms, as well as the roles and responsibilities of two major college committees—the Committee of Six (the executive committee of the faculty) and the Committee on Educational Policy (CEP).

Tuesday, January 31, 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Book Discussion: The Black Academic's Guide to Winning Tenure—without Losing Your Soul, by Kerry Ann Rockquemore and Tracey Laszloffy.  The book will be provided.

Location: Mullins-Faerber Rooms, Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons, Valentine Hall

Tuesday, February 14, 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Reading/Interpreting Teaching Evaluations

Location: Mullins-Faerber Rooms, Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons, Valentine Hall

This conversation, which will take place after new faculty receive their first Amherst teaching evaluations, will focus on how to interpret the evaluations and, for those on the tenure track, how they are used in the reappointment and tenure processes. Senior faculty will offer their perspectives.

Tuesday, March 7, 11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m. 

Well-Being and Student Learning: Jackie Alvarez

Location: Mullins-Faerber Rooms, Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons, Valentine Hall

Associate Dean of Students Jackie Alvarez, director of Amherst's counseling center, will discuss the ways in which students' well-being may affect their ability to learn. She will offer advice to faculty about how they can help students deal with stress and other factors that can have an impact on student learning.

Tuesday, April 11, 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Imagining Pedagogical Possibilities

Location: Mullins-Faerber Rooms, Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons, Valentine Hall

A discussion of pedagogical possibilities ranging from active learning approaches, community-based teaching, and strategies to foster effective student research. We will be joined by the director of Amherst's Center for Community Engagement, Sarah Barr; the college's instructional designer/technologist, hari stephen kumar; and the library's head of research and instruction, Missy Roser.

Monday, May 8, 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Lunch Discussion for New Faculty: Reflections and Plans Going Forward

Location: Mullins-Faerber Rooms, Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons, Valentine Hall

New faculty will offer their impressions of their first year at Amherst and discuss their experiences, while also looking ahead to the future.