Faculty mentor new faculty

New students at Lone Star College-CyFair aren’t the only ones feeling a little nervous the first day, week or semester of school, so a meet and greet luncheon in mid-August matched new full-time faculty with LSC-CyFair faculty mentors.

“The first week is always hectic negotiating and remembering things in new institutions, but my mentor has really helped to make the transition into LSC-CyFair much easier!” said Will Deese, a new full-time ESOL faculty member on the Barker Cypress campus. “Rebecca Royer has been a wealth of information regarding location of campus facilities, contact numbers and names.”

Deese has been teaching secondary education for the past 10 years including at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, Houston Community College and Miami Dade College’s InterAmerican Campus in Miami’s “Little Havana.”

Associate Professor of Biology Clay White is mentoring Associate Professor of Biology Jessica Armenta. New faculty members know their disciplines and how to deliver that material, said White, but it’s with the policies, procedures and people in a new location that can make life a bit stressful.

“Those of us who have struggled with those areas in the past are delighted to help our colleagues avoid the confusion,” he said. “As a mentor I feel it is my responsibility to take the wrinkles out of the everyday dilemmas.”

Associate Professor of Political Science Heidi Jo Green, who is a new mentor, said it’s a pleasure to help a newcomer like Associate Professor of Political Science Alex Hogan. And being paired with someone from her discipline, she can help him with the ins and outs of the campus and the department.

“It’s so nice to reciprocate the hospitality, helpfulness and genuineness I received when I started during the fall 2006,” said Green. “The mentor-mentee relationship is a two-way street as I have learned equally as much from Alexander Hogan as I hope he has from me. We are both Midwesterners so that connection is an added bonus.” 

Denise Berkey, new Assistant Professor of Nursing, previously worked in general and critical care nursing continuing education for Memorial Hermann and held various RN staff positions in the medical center. She is paired with Associate Professor of Sociology, Idolina Hernandez, who is also an LSC-CyFair founding faculty member and Faculty Senate president.

“I feel like Idolina’s involved in everything!  I've seen her name a lot of places and I’m sure she knows the answers if I have a question,” said Berkey. “I appreciate knowing that I have a great resource.” 

The mentors, as well as the college’s Faculty Staff Excellence Center, will continue to be a resource throughout the semester for mentees. Regular meetings are encouraged to discuss strategies for student retention, test construction and instructional techniques as well as classroom management issues, concerns and successes. The pairs are also encouraged to visit and observe each other’s classes. And as the semester’s end nears, they will meet to review faculty and student evaluation processes as well as grading policies and procedures.

Offering these suggestions and recommendations for the approximately 15 mentors and 15 mentees participating in the Faculty Mentor Program, were Dean of New Programs and Organizational Development Abdul Tamimi and Director of Professional Development Melissa Rotholz, luncheon co-hosts.