Harvard Macy Community Blog

Fostering the ongoing connectedness of health professions educators committed to transforming health care delivery and education.

Orienting New Faculty During the COVID-19 Pandemic


Fall semester is a time for new starts, new students, and new faculty. As we continue to navigate what we do to help our students learn in a virtual environment, how might you apply some of the same approaches to orient new faculty? Consider incorporating some of these ideas:

  • Consider a hybrid format for orientation—some people meeting in person and some online
  • Chunk information into smaller sessions to avoid overloading participants and to combat Zoom fatigue
  • Pre-record modules/podcasts containing orientation (evergreen) content for asynchronous access
  • Group new faculty into small groups/cohorts (6-8 people) for monthly virtual discussions around pre-recorded modules
  • Engage existing faculty members as leaders/co-leaders for each group to encourage introductions to local thought leaders as well as organize and facilitate virtual discussions
  • Create a landing page for all orientation information and faculty development contact information
  • Provide links to resources (pre-recorded modules, promotion/tenure goals worksheets, research plan templates, diversity/inclusion/equity best practices, wellness program information, and different department websites and contacts)
  • Use social media to connect people and communicate events
  • Coordinate large group virtual events/receptions with opportunities for smaller breakouts for people to network
  • Plan to orient faculty teaching right before they teach to help them apply what they are learning during orientation and to enable professional developers to pivot as the context changes
  • Offer practice virtual teaching sessions using the technology available at your institution for those new to online teaching
  • Encourage peer facilitation or session collaboration to manage technology, chats, and breakout rooms
  • Train new faculty on learner engagement tools (e.g. direct poll, forum discussions, google docs, or examination software)

What are you doing to help new faculty adjust to their roles at your institution this fall? Comment on the Harvard Macy Community Blog or share your experiences on Twitter using #MedEdPearls!


Special dedication: This MedEdPearl is dedicated to Megan Haak, MA, Program Manager II, at Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals, Inc., who passed away unexpectedly. She was a valued colleague, enthusiastic collaborator, and MedEdPearls contributor. She will be missed.


Author BIO 

Jean Bailey, PhD, is the Associate Dean for Faculty Development at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. She works with a variety of medical school faculty to provide training sessions focused on teaching and learning, scholarship, leadership, career advancement, and service.  Jean can be followed on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Saturday, 21 May 2022