Western University of Health Sciences’ inaugural university-wide faculty orientation reflected an emphasis on interprofessional communication and cooperation.

About 20 new faculty members attended the orientation, held Aug. 28 in the Nursing Science Center. They were introduced to the many campus resources available, from the library to the Center for Advancement and Professional Enhancement to research grant opportunities.

WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD, reminded the faculty that they set an example for students to follow.

“The only reason why we are all here as faculty is to teach our students to care for people,” he said. “When you’re out there teaching, know you’re going to make a difference.”

The College of Dental Medicine, College of Optometry and College of Podiatric Medicine are hiring new faculty as they prepare to welcome their first students next year. Each college will continue to have its own faculty orientation, but the university-wide gathering was organized in the spirit of the new colleges and interprofessional education, said WesternU Vice Provost Sheree Aston, OD, MA, PhD.

“This is the time to start them out together so they can meet each other and start some relationships from the get-go,” she said. “If they know where to go and who to go to, we’ve done our job.”

New faculty members are finding the adjustment to campus an easy one. Faculty and staff have been warm and accommodating, said Robert Christman, DPM, Director of Curriculum and Instructional Technology for the College of Podiatric Medicine. One of the reasons he joined WesternU was the challenge of helping to start a new program.

“I want to be able to have a significant impact on the program and the profession,” he said. “We’re hoping the new curriculum will serve as the template for other schools to follow.”

Getting faculty from different colleges to interact and work together will help set a good example for students.

“Being able to work with different colleges sounds basic, but I don’t think too many places actually do it,” said Ray Maeda, OD, Chief of Primary Care Optometry for the College of Optometry. “It’s nice to be in an environment of collaboration with other health professions.”

The program agenda was developed by the University-Wide New Faculty Orientation Task Force. The members are: Dan Kurtz (CO), Paula Harmer (OIR) , Jennifer Le (COP), Rosemary Monehen (DDM), Denise Schilling (CAHP), Gail Singer-Chang (COMP), Lester Jones (CPM), Diana Lithgow (CGN), Teresa Morishita (CVM) and Sheree Aston (Academic Affairs).