UND Today

University of North Dakota's Official News Source

New faculty forge ties to each other and UND

Orientation session welcomes new faculty to campus

President Armacost visits with new members of the University community at New Faculty Orientation. Photo by Jan Orvik/UND Today.

New Faculty Orientation was Grace Karikari’s first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began. She was delighted to be there – and at UND.

“I joined UND at the peak of COVID, when everything was online,” said the teaching assistant professor for population and public health at the School of Medicine & Health Sciences. “The reception and collegiality in my department has been wonderful. Dr. Warne (director of Indians Into Medicine and the MPH programs) met with me weekly via zoom, offering the needed mentoring and support as I transitioned to my new role. I greatly appreciate his role in my smooth transition to UND and the MPH program.”

Caring for faculty, students and people was the theme of New Faculty Orientation, which was held Aug. 19 on campus and online. Hosted by the Teaching Transformation and Development Academy in a newly remodeled area of O’Kelly Hall, it was an information-filled day that introduced about 50 new faculty to the UND community and culture.

“Welcome to UND,” said President Andy Armacost as he kicked off the day. “We’re coming together as a community. We haven’t done this for more than a year, and we want to offer you a warm welcome.”

“We are so glad to have you here on campus,” said Provost Eric Link. “This is a special day which has been 18 months in the making, and we embrace the opportunity to reopen campus and welcome students back. This is an impactful day, a day about opportunity, and we’re hoping you’ll walk away with a sense of the tools available to help you be successful in the classroom and beyond. We are all dedicated to help you succeed.”

Cindy Juntunen, dean of the College of Education & Human Development, introduces new faculty from her college. Photo by Jan Orvik/UND Today.

Philosophy of leadership

Armacost focused on his five-point philosophy of leadership during his talk.

“First, love your people,” he said. “Secondly, we’re here for our students. We should never forget that UND has a proud history of being a very student-focused university.”

Third, Armacost said, is to ensure that every member of the community is treated with kindness, dignity, and respect.

“We’re all coming from different backgrounds and different perspectives,” Armacost said. “I think it’s imperative that we get to know each other as individuals and appreciate the backgrounds that we all come from.”

Fourth, “We should look for every opportunity to learn. Many of us have Ph.D.s, and we’ve learned a lot within our disciplines. That doesn’t mean we’ve learned everything. Your scholarship is essential, and we should learn about things we’ve never delved into before. With that learning comes a sense of humility as we appreciate other perspectives.

“Finally, I have a firm belief that everybody is great at something,” Armacost said. “It’s up to us, as educators, as human beings, to tap that greatness in others, whether they’re colleagues or our students.”

Armacost concluded: “I hope you find that same sense of commitment to others, that same sense of community, and the opportunity, as we educate our students and ourselves, and develop into great citizens and contributors to the state of North Dakota and the nation.”

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs meets new faculty. Photo by Jan Orvik/UND Today.

A day of opportunity

“This is a day about opportunity,” said Link, who joined UND on July 1 and noted that he is also new to campus. “I hope you are as honored and full of pride as I am to be here. I think this is an outstanding university. There’s a lot of construction going on, and I take that as a sign of growth. We are dedicated to building the kind of university that, not just physically, but intellectually and socially, will represent you and the rest of campus, as well as the state of North Dakota, with a great deal of pride.”

“What we are hoping to achieve today is that you walk away with a sense of the resources and the support mechanisms available so that you can succeed in the classroom, the laboratory, and beyond. Today you’ll meet great people and great support staff, all dedicated to one main purpose, and that is to help you be successful on campus.”

Faculty spent the rest of the day listening to brief overviews of more than a dozen resources and tools that included support and engagement, library resources, technology, and much more.

“We don’t expect you to remember everything,” Link said. “We hope you’ll walk away with an idea of the tools available to help you succeed in the classroom and beyond.”

UND welcomed about 50 new faculty, some of whom took part online, at the orientation event. Photo by Jan Orvik/UND Today.

Sense of belonging

Faculty attending the orientation session seemed pleased to be on campus and part of UND.

“The climate seems to be one with a lot of expectations,” said Jocelyn Gutierrez, clinical assistant professor of education, health, & behavior studies. “I get a sense that UND is on the cusp of something big, especially with Space Force and other things that are happening.”

Francisco Del Canto Viterale, assistant professor of space studies, echoed that sentiment. “It’s been a really good experience in the Space Studies department. I really enjoy it – my colleagues are great.”

“I’m happy to be here,” said Joseph Jochman, teaching assistant professor of sociology. “It’s been outstanding. The faculty are great, and the resources are useful.”

“It feels like home,” said Michelle Novak, clinical assistant professor of communication sciences & disorders. “People are welcoming and helpful, and I’m ready to get started teaching.”

“I’m excited to be here,” said Patrick Reading, teaching assistant professor of theatre arts. “Everyone has been great to work with.”

“This is a great campus,” said Jane Weiss, clinical associate professor of accounting. “We rode our bikes around, and it’s beautiful. Grand Forks has been a pleasant surprise, and seems to be focused on community.”

“This is a good place to live for children and families,” said Ediz Polat, instructor of electrical engineering & computer science. “It’s a great campus, and great to be here.”

“I really enjoyed my seven years of master’s and doctoral work at UND,” said Jared Marquis, assistant professor of atmospheric sciences. “I’m excited for the next step with a university who really advocates for their faculty and students.”