Greetings, new Seahawk faculty member! My goal is for you to have a proactive, successful transition to UNCW. The more you know and do before you arrive, the better your first year will be.
This guide contains a set of concrete steps for you to take. I’ve also created a custom Google Map that highlights the places named in this guide.
Let’s get started!
You’ve accepted the verbal offer. What happens next?
Congratulations! There are several more steps before you are officially hired. The general process is:
- Your department chairperson recommends you to the Dean, who will send you an official Confirmation of Intent to Hire.
- Paperwork time! You will need to provide information to assist in your academic credentialing, including your transcripts. Work with your admin to get this done.
- Once all of your documents are in and your background check is complete, your hire goes through several more levels of approval, culminating at a monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees.
- You will finally receive your written offer letter from the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources. Sign and return. Now, you are hired!
Stay in touch with your department admin to see what they need from you. Other than giving the necessary credentialing information, this process is largely out of your hands.
Phase I – Getting on board
How do you get an email address, office, parking pass and all that? The first thing you need is an “850 number”. The 850 number is your university id number, a.k.a., your “Banner ID”. Every employee and student receives an 850 number.
How do you get an 850 number? Two things must happen:
- Your department admin needs to complete some forms.
- You must complete the federal I-9 form in person with original supporting documents.
Where do you complete the I-9 form? Visit the helpful folks in Human Resources in the Friday Annex. You can park for free in the Visitor Lot, though the metered parking in Lot Q is much closer. You must bring original supporting documents. Complete the I-9 form as early as possible! Hopefully, you visited Human Resources during your interview process and already submitted the I-9 paperwork. If not, schedule an appointment while you are visiting Wilmington to search for housing. In the worst case, do it as soon as you arrive in Wilmington to start work.
Once you have completed these steps, your department admin can work with Human Resources to get your 850 number.
Once you have your 850 number, ask your department admin to request your UNCW computer account. This account will provide you access to university email and other IT systems. Now you can really start doing faculty things!
Phase II – Moving to Wilmington
Are you looking to rent? There are tons of commercial and private rental properties available that are listed on the major sites.
Are you looking to buy? You need a realtor. The Wilmington area has every conceivable locale: beachfront property, old fixer-uppers, downtown condominiums, brand new suburbs with all the amenities, and more. The housing market is fast-paced in Wilmington, so work with a professional familiar with the area.
Regardless of whether you are renting or buying, I recommend a few things:
- Visit to shop and do not buy sight unseen. You need to know your commute and to see the neighborhood.
- Try to be here no later than August 1 if starting in Fall, and no later than January 1 if starting in Spring. You will appreciate those few weeks to ramp up for the semester. The UNCW Academic Calendar has exact semester start dates.
Phase III – Time to get started!
The doors of UNCW are now open to you and your shiny new 850 number. What should you do?
- Get your UNCW computer account if you have not already done so. Your department admin can request this for you. Nothing makes you official like an official email address.
- Your first stop should be to visit Auxiliary Services. Park in the Visitor Lot and walk to Warwick Center. You will accomplish a few things here that must be done in person:
- Get your UNCW One Card. This is your photo ID card and plastic key. This card will unlock buildings, classrooms, and parking gates. You can also use it as a debit card for meals around campus.
- Get a parking permit. You must pay for it, but the cost can be deducted from your paycheck. Once your parking request is processed, you can use your One Card to open the gates to all Faculty/Staff parking lots. Hooray!
- Consider signing up for a faculty meal plan. My favorite is the “Faculty/Staff Meal Swipe” plan for $100 + $7 in tax. You get 20 swipes redeemable at Wagoner Dining Hall and Dub Cafe, where each visit is all-you-can-eat. The meal plans are tremendous value, never expire, and can be deducted from your paycheck.
- Get your keys. Visit your department! Department admins and chairpersons are full-time employees and will be around during summer, excepting holidays and personal vacation. Stop by and say hello, then make sure that your admin has registered you for One Card access to your building so that you can get in any time you want. Your department admin will also be able to get your office keys and access to classrooms, labs, or other spaces you will need.
- Consider having your official faculty portrait taken. You can also wait until the New Faculty Orientation to do this (see below).
- Think about the resources you will need to run your classes. Are you going to have a textbook? Do you need lab equipment? Will you be delivering your content online? Communicate with your department chair to make sure that you will have everything you need. You don’t want to be dealing with this the week before class.
- Explore online resources. Your jumping off point should be the mySeaport Faculty/Staff portal. UNCW uses the Canvas learning management system for computer-assisted course delivery and management.
Phase IV – The semester approaches
You’ve made it to Wilmington, hopefully with some time to spare. Check the UNCW Academic Calendar to see exactly when the semester begins and when classes start. Here are some things to do:
- Attend New Faculty Orientation – this is a priority! You will receive an invitation via email, and if not, contact the Center for Teaching Excellence who hosts the event. New faculty orientation is usually held the week before classes start each Fall. You will connect with new faculty, meet important officials, receive an overview of your employment benefits, and see the buffet of resources available to you as an academic at UNCW. You will also have your official faculty portrait taken, the opportunity to sign up for parking, and complete HR forms (e.g., payroll) at this time.
- Plan to be on campus once the academic semester begins. The academic semester officially begins a week before class, and there will likely be department meetings and other events in the quiet time before classes start. View the UNCW Academic Calendar to see the semester start date.
- Finish your payroll forms. You want to get paid, right? Visit human resources in the Friday Annex to take care of this if you haven’t yet.
- Make an appointment with your Faculty HR benefits counselor. You will be required to make some important decisions regarding your retirement benefits and health insurance options within your first month of employment. Your retirement choices are permanent. Make sure that you are informed by talking to the people who can give you the best information in person.
- Make your syllabi. You must have a syllabus for each course, and you are required to include certain content such as attendance policy and grade distribution. Review the UNCW Center for Teaching Excellence’s Best Practices for Syllabus Construction. Rely on the experience of your new colleagues who have gone before you – ask for a copy of their syllabus and modify it to suit your needs.
- Create your first 1-3 classes in detail. Are you going to teach new content the first day, or review the syllabus and set class expectations? Do you need to prepare slides? Handouts? Do not underestimate the amount of prep required to create new course content. Having those first few lectures pre-made will be an enormous relief once classes begin.
- Visit your classrooms. How do you get there? Do you have keys to get in? Do you know how to work the A/V equipment? Can you log into the computer? Are the lights burnt out? Check it out yourself and avoid any surprises.
- Find the food. The most disciplined among us cave to Chik-Fil-A or Starbucks now and then. Find the local grub and caffeine. The Campus Dining website has a list of all locations, but the main points of interest are Wagoner Dining Hall (big cafeteria), commercial sources in the Fisher Student Center and University Union, and the Dub Cafe in Warwick Center.
Phase V – Classes begin!
It’s time to go! No worries, because you have followed this guide and are well prepared. Remember, your students are more scared of you than you are of them. You’ll be fine. Get into the flow of things and ride the lightning. It will be final exams before you know it!
Request a department mentor from your chair who can answer every trivial question you have. Read the Faculty Handbook when you get the chance and ask your department chair for a copy of your department’s policies and procedures. First and foremost, UNCW is a community of faculty who are here to teach. Do not be afraid to ask questions. No one will think the less of you. Senior faculty want you to succeed, otherwise, they wouldn’t have hired you. Reach out, ask for advice, and take it to heart.
Good luck and wings up!