We're moving mid-to-late June.
I've already started prepping courses on a general level — selected texts, outlined syllabi, set up a few visiting speakers,etc.
The chair calls me about once every ten days to keep me informed of the goings on…and she writes me e-mails about once a week or more often if things come up.
I have absolutely no idea what to expect when I get to campus — I currently have tunnel vision toward my dissertation defense in two weeks, but as soon as that is over, I will be focusing on figuring out these details.
I have read the student handbook, but I can't find anything like a faculty handbook — but obtaining this is on my short list for the week.
Other advice and tips:
1. Look over the benefits very carefully.
2. Be extremely familiar with the faculty development options and deadlines for applying for these — this can run from summer grant money to travel money for conferences, to yearly reference text allottments — every school is different.
3. If you are the primary earner in your family, put a BIG life insurance policy on your short term goal list (this is actually Number One on my list…)
4. Obtain decent, but temporary, housing. Seems smarter to rent for a while until you get a feel for the areas and then buy in year 2.
5. I'm a bit neurotic in this way, but I've already set up a skeleton work week schedule, so that I can start to get a realistic idea of how much time I'll have to get some research done. I think this is actually extremely important because most people overestimate the amount of time they will have.
These are the guidelines that I use — perhaps unnecessarily detailed, but being realistic about time is crucial for getting research done:
For every hour you plan to lecture, plan on five hours of prep (at minimum) when developing a new course.
Add up those hours and add twenty percent — this is a reasonably accurate estimate of the amount of time you'll need to prep a new course. Of course there is a lot of variance here, and it depends on the type of job you have (I'm at a SLAC).
For every course you teach, plan on at least 2 hours of availability (not necessarily scheduled office hours) per week, on AVERAGE. So if you teach three courses, plan on having six hours a week open for students. Often times this will be zero (i.e., the beginning of classes when no one comes to see you) — and other times this will be double or tripled (i.e., around exam time and/or advising).
At my school, I will have advisees (about fifty) from the get-go, but I will not be asked to be on committees of any kind for at least the first year — I'm not sure yet how much time I will have to put aside for those, but I'm thinking it will be significant. By then, however, I'll have most of my courses prepped so I will have more time for these activities.
As for research - I'm bringing several projects with me, and am not planning on starting anything new my first year — this was a strategic decision because my teaching load is very high — but this will not work for more research oriented schools. After figuring out my current number of hours based on the items listed above, I looked at what was left and cut it down by fifty percent — and this is my estimate of the amount of time I'll have in the first two semesters to get research done…as I said before, I have multiple datasets that I will bring with me so this will be mostly time that I need to write. Just for reference, I don't think I can realistically plan on writing more than an hour a day for research…probably not for the first two years (during the semesters, that is — summer and winter breaks are heavy research times for me).
I agree with a previous poster about the need to pause to smell the roses. But I also think that whatever you can do to really prepare yourself for what is coming is in your best interest.
It sounds crazy, but i equate this preparation to the preparation I did for the arrival of my first child….and nothing, NOTHING could have prepared me for that! I am approaching this preparation with this in mind…adaptability is important.