New Faculty Orientation Done Right!

Concurrent Session 2
Equity and Inclusion

Brief Abstract

Participants will discover a unique approach to faculty training that integrates the following: immersive student and faculty experience, active LMS engagement, personalized support, and opportunities to demonstrate effective and inclusive practices that align with the university’s values and initiatives. Participants will leave with ideas to implement at their learning institutions.


Melissa West is a Senior Faculty Support Agent (FSA) with the Office of Teaching and Learning Excellence (OTLE) at Walden University. In her role, she supports faculty digital fluency needs through live sessions and webinars as well as by developing job aids, video tutorials, and other faculty resources. Melissa began supporting Walden faculty as a Graduate Assistant before transitioning to the FSA role. Melissa is pursuing her PhD in Forensic Psychology. She completed her M.S. in Forensic Psychology at Walden University and B.S. in Human Services at SUNY Empire State College.

Extended Abstract

New Faculty Orientation Done Right! In this session, presenters will share how they have been onboarding, training, and developing online faculty for their roles in an inclusive learning environment for over 10 years. Participants will have the opportunity to participate in a live 3-week instructor-led course in Canvas that prepares new faculty to explore the university’s history, mission, vision, values, and goals, explain the roles and responsibilities of online instructors, create an inclusive learning environment for a diverse student population that supports a community of care, and incorporate accessible learning tools that supports students’ knowledge, skills, and experiences. Participants will also discover how faculty are enrolled in two classrooms, one as a student and one as an instructor. The dual experience allows faculty to become immersed in understanding how to begin their role and demonstrate key instructor responsibilities and KPIs. This also allows training facilitators to model a community of care approach that focuses on engagement, positive growth mindset, inclusivity, and social change which/to effectively reflect the university values and initiatives.  

To ensure our training meets new faculty, academic leadership, and university needs, we implement a regular review process and collaborate closely with university stakeholders and support teams. Faculty have access to personalized, 1:1 support during and after their training through a team of Faculty Support Agents who provide valuable technical and hands on training, as well as Faculty Coaching, which provides beneficial practical reviews and suggestions for andragogical approaches.  

Our Instructional Design team is an integral partner in developing the content assigned within the course. Our designers are skilled in a variety of authoring tools and work with faculty as subject matter experts to ensure the content is as relevant and effective as possible. Products are revised and enhanced as needed to ensure course content is current and accurate. Our Faculty Support Agents are critical in ensuring faculty are enrolled in their training and receive individualized assistance to support their instructional technology, teaching, and learning needs. Our team provides both synchronous and asynchronous support, including live support sessions and just-in-time resources tailored to meet the unique needs of online faculty. New faculty are offered continued support through faculty coaching, which takes place in either individual or group sessions. Faculty coaching provides a tailored approach in supporting faculty members’ needs. In addition to faculty coaching professional development sessions are offered that provide ongoing support. Many of our professional development sessions are based on requests for topics from our faculty, as the university values the faculty voice to ensure the best experience for all stakeholders. 

Participants will leave with resources to organize initial steps, brainstorm ideas, and ask questions so they can develop dynamic and effective training to meet their faculty needs.