Program at ARC brings new faculty into a “wolf pack”

Heidi Fuller is talking to the new staff at the NFA meeting. Fuller is the new coordinator for the NFA program in September 2015. (Photo by Emily Thompson)

American River College has welcomed 29 new faculty members, the largest amount in years. The New Faculty Academy (NFA) program plans to meet every Friday morning to provide faculty with relevant and meaningful group activities to prepare members for the years ahead.

This year-long program incorporates teaching strategies and offers support designed to enhance student learning as well as facilitate faculty transition into their new role.

The meetings started for a way to help the new faculty interact with different departments on campus, by using team building exercises, introduce resources ARC has to offer, and thus lead to teacher/student success.

The group believes being able to build healthy relationships across disciplines is key to overall collaboration and will lead to student success.

The NFA program has been around for a couple of years, but has gained more traction this year with the enthusiasm of a new coordinator Business Technology professor Heidi Fuller.

Fuller is very enthusiastic about the year ahead and the new group’s energy.

“I am proud to be a part of an institution that is willing to invest in professional development for meaningful and long-term institutional impact,” said Fuller.

“As an educator with 28 years of teaching experience, I take great pleasure in the collaborative process where I am able to incorporate my extensive background and innovative spirit to merge understanding.”

Aug. 28 was the program’s first meeting of the year as a school. A great turnout of faculty, counselors, librarians, and teachers showed up. They discussed what their goals are and what led them here to ARC.

Necole McRae, a student speaker at the meeting, used communication skills to break timid teachers out of their shell.

“They are very nervous. Just like students on the first day of school,” said McRae.

“I used communication and conversation pieces in which only some of the teachers could talk and the others had to listen, then later switch off. At first the teachers seemed nervous, but once they got a conversation flowing between them that’s when I started to see a change. They started to realize how their experiences matched up with those of others.”

Open group discussions and activities are what the program hopes to bring the faculty closer as a unit, who they are and what they value are important concepts that power the minds of these new members.

Bill Lester, a new Humanities professor here at ARC said “Meeting the new faculty was fun, they are a very “optimistic wolf pack. Before I was a lone wolf but now I am part of something, a wolf pack!”

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