The New(ish) Faculty List

WHAT IS THE NEW(ISH) FACULTY LIST?  It is a moderated email distribution list (not a Listserve) of first-year and "newish" Cal Poly faculty (and some staff). It serves as an informal social and informational network for relative newcomers to Cal Poly,  providing a virtual community for many of us well beyond our initial years of employment.  The List allows new(ish) faculty to network, post queries, organize and/or publicize get-togethers, announce campus or off-campus events, and to solicit advice from peers.  I also send on announcements of Cal Poly events, opportunities and deadlines of potential interest to new(ish) faculty.  Once added, members remain on the List until they request to be removed.  The list now numbers about 300 (including a cohort who have already received tenure, but choose to remain on the list for the socializing, the networking, and to offer newer colleagues the benefit of their collective wisdom and experience).

WHY AN EMAIL LIST?  Being a new Cal Poly faculty member can be an isolating experience. We have moved here from all parts of the country, leaving behind established networks of family and friends. We are faced with the challenges of learning a lot of things all at once: how to find our ways within a new town, a new university, and a new department.  Heavy teaching loads can leave limited time for socializing, and the lack of a Faculty Club or equivalent facility makes it difficult to meet people outside our own departments and colleges. The New(ish) Faculty List was created to serve as an informal social, information and support network for relative newcomers, creating a greater sense of a Cal Poly community.

HOW DOES THE LIST WORK? It is an e-mail distribution list of "new(ish)" faculty (whether tenure-track, lecturers or recently tenured).  It is a moderated list:  you will not receive random "spam," since all messages must be forwarded by me.  As a rule, I post only messages that are of potential interest to a cross-section of newer faculty (i.e. opportunities open to faculty in all disciplines, general-interest public lectures and cultural events, interdisciplinary activities, events or initiatives) and/or which provide a direct service to a list member (i.e. I will post a query for a list member looking for a referral to a local professional, needing a baby-sitter, or seeking an exercise partner, but I won't forward random "classified ad" type messages for non-list-members looking for a way of expanding their client base).  Posting a message to the list is easy:  simply e-mail it to me, and if it falls within these parameters, I will forward it to the list.  Be sure to include an e-mail address and/or phone number where others can answer your query.  (Contact information is important since all forwarded emails originate in my account, so using the "reply" key will only reach me, not the original sender of the message or the rest of the list.)

NETWORKING AND SOCIALIZING: The list can be a great way for newcomers to expand their social circle beyond their immediate departments.  Any list member can use the list to organize a social event open to other new(ish) faculty.  Thus far, happy hours, potlucks, parties, hikes, bike rides, week-end excursions, restaurant meals, theatre outings, movies, concerts, and musical salons have all been organized through the list.  Or use it to network with other people in the same "life stage."  If you are single, use the list to gather a congenial group to see that new movie or check out a local restaurant.  A runner can find a jogging partner.  Parents (or potential parents): organize a toddler's play-group, ask about pediatricians, solicit daycare recommendations or organize a baby-sitting co-op.

OPEN INVITATION: Please consider organizing and publicizing a gathering or event through the list. Your posting should include a brief description of the event   -- which can be just about anything you'd enjoy doing with company.  Specify the date, time, location, and cost if applicable.  (If tickets are involved, the organizer should specify if participants are to obtain them individually or if s/he plans to purchase a block of seats; for block tickets, the organizer should give a contact number and specify whether advance payment is required or whether people can reimburse him/her at the event.) People wishing to participate in an event will contact the organizer OFF LIST (by direct e-mail or phone), so please include contact information -- your preferred e-mail address and a phone number -- so that interested parties can reach you.  DON'T BE PUT OFF BY THE SIZE OF THE LIST: you will not get an overwhelming response to an invitation.  But you ARE likely to meet a few congenial souls whom you may not have met otherwise.

WHAT I DO: Post your announcements and queries to the list; add persons who request to be added; remove persons who request to be removed.  (A simple email to me will suffice.)  Organize and/or publicize New(ish) Faculty happy hours and other social events (e.g. the annual Halloween Party).  Forward information of potential interest to newcomers and to "new(ish)" faculty.

EVERYONE is encouraged to use the list to create a greater sense of community at Cal Poly.  Please send me your announcements of events and activities, as well as your questions and queries, to post to the list. Tap into our collective wisdom; it is considerable! And if you know other newcomers who would like to be added to the list, please send me their names, departments, and e-mail addresses.

HISTORICAL NOTE: HOW DID THE LIST START? In June, 1997, I was invited to a year-end picnic for first-year faculty organized by members of the Faculty Development Committee.  They asked us how they could help us improve our teaching. I was not surprised by the response: no one wanted to talk about instructional technique, but many spoke of the difficulty of being effective in the classroom while adjusting to a new job and community. This conversation convinced me that what newer Cal Poly faculty really needed was a way to connect with each other.  The result was the "New(ish) Faculty List." Starting with the twenty names on the picnic invitation, I sent out an e-mail inviting new(ish) faculty to a happy hour the day spring grades were due.  People came.  And they began sending me other names. Since 2000, the New(ish) Faculty List has been facilitated by the office of Academic Personnel, which each fall sends me the list of newly hired full-time faculty.  As a result, the list now numbers a healthy 300 (some now tenured!).  So remember:  you can opt out on request, but we encourage you to stay . . . you're as "new(ish)" as you feel!

Copyright Debora B. Schwartz, 1998-2004
Last updated 7/10/06