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Faculty Orientation

Rogan Kersh

Dear New Faculty Member,

Welcome to Wake Forest!  We’re delighted to have you join our thriving community of teacher-scholars (and, of course, students, staff, and alumni) during an especially promising time here on campus.  Even as storms buffet higher education nationally, we continue to build—and win national attention for—our ‘collegiate university’ model, dedicated to deeply engaged teaching and scholarship/creative work designed for meaningful impact across society and academic fields alike. We welcome this year one of our academically strongest as well as most diverse classes, across undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, in WFU history.  The undergraduate class of 2020 is our largest incoming group ever, even as our acceptance rate has reached historic lows.  We are confident that your arrival will help us make this great institution even stronger.

I write to inform you of our New Faculty Orientation program, scheduled for August 17-19, 2016.  Orientation is one of the many ways that Wake Forest invests in the professional development and success of our faculty members across their careers.  The orientation sessions will introduce you (in lively fashion; we keep speechifying to a minimum!) to campus ways as well as to various sources of support for your vital research/creative work and teaching.  You will also learn more about our close-knit WFU community; meet new and veteran faculty and administrative colleagues; and, if experience is any guide, begin to develop new friendships.

New Faculty Orientation runs across three days, beginning on Wednesday, August 17, at 8:00 AM with a light breakfast and welcome followed by a campus tour specially designed for new faculty; be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Prior to the tour, our award-winning University photographer, Ken Bennett, will be taking ‘official’ faculty head shots; jackets are recommended for men and sleeves are recommended for women. A detailed schedule for all three days is attached: below are a few particulars worth noting.

Wednesday’s activities will conclude with a Family Cookout on Hearn Plaza (“The Quad”), beginning at 6:00 PM. Dinner and drinks will be provided, and various WFU’ers will attend. We hope also to greet and host any family members joining you in Winston-Salem.  On Thursday we’ll gather for breakfast at 8:15 AM, preceding a signature of our orientation, “Blazing the Trail” — a scavenger hunt throughout campus so comfortable shoes encouraged here, as well. This will be followed by a light-hearted discussion centered on keys for success as a WFU faculty member.  We conclude our day with lunch; you will be free from around 1:30 PM until Friday morning. On Friday—our final day of orientation—you will attend a session specific to your school.

A pair of additional scheduling details: first, please plan to attend a required ThinkPad Orientation session (College faculty only); because these laptops, loaded with an unusually broad suite of educational software, are used widely by students, faculty, and staff alike, past new faculty have found those discussions invaluable. Details on how to sign up for one of these two sessions are included in the attached agenda.  We also ask you to attend a “Fostering Faculty Inclusive Excellence” workshop, a road-tested means of enhancing inclusion and engagement across our entire constituency. Your session is scheduled for Tuesday, August 23, from 8:30 am – 2:00 pm in the Lower Auditorium of Wingate Hall.

We recommend that you arrive in Winston-Salem by early August so that you can participate fully in our orientation program. Wake Forest’s vibrant academic community is distinguished by our collective strength and depth of care for one another.  We’re eager to ensure that, as a new community member, you have the requisite information and familiarity with campus to make a comfortable transition into your WFU faculty role. We are eager to support your success: as a first step, I look forward to your participation in New Faculty Orientation. If you have any questions, please contact me at

Warmest regards,

Rogan Kersh

Provost and Professor, Politics & International Affairs