Onboarding is an essential part of a new employee’s experience at an institution. Some libraries have onboarding processes in place, so how were these institutions able to pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic? In this blog post, I speak with Alexandrea Glenn, Student Success Librarian at the University of Florida, about her virtual onboarding experience.
Jamia: Does your library have an onboarding process? If so, how did your job make the necessary changes to make the onboarding process virtual?
Alexandrea: My library does have an onboarding process. Onboarding included some introductions to key campus partners and other departments to help me acclimate to my position and the library. I then attended a new employee orientation that took place over two days and was designed to be completely virtual. UF Libraries has six different libraries and even more units. Usually, the libraries’ new orientation would occur on campus, and we would visit the other units. It’s often your first opportunity to learn about the units (location, culture of the building, and people). Because of pandemic restrictions, this took place on Zoom with different units coming into the “Zoom room.” The Zoom option was perfectly fine, but I felt like I didn’t get the same in-depth experience employees have had in the past. Another part of onboarding that I missed was the opportunity to get acclimated to the campus environment. I still feel behind in knowing UF, and I’ll be happy when I can really explore and feel a part of the community.
Jamia: Does the University that you work at have an onboarding process for new faculty and staff? If so, can you give the details on the onboarding process?
Alexandrea: There is an onboarding process for new faculty. I don’t know as much about the staff. Many of the trainings were already virtual (for example, FERPA training), but it all became virtual with the pandemic. The university created a new faculty orientation canvas site with modules for you to complete while also offering synchronous Zoom information sessions to attend. The modules included content on undergraduate education, student affairs, and IT, etc. They had videos, additional resources, contacts, and some general facts or essential themes. The Zoom meetings were reminiscent of my library orientation experience, except it was university-wide instead of library-focused. I think considering the circumstances, it wasn’t a bad solution. But if I had the option (i.e., no pandemic), I would always choose an in-person orientation. I tend to grasp more; I also get the opportunity to network and engage with the other new faculty.
Alexandrea Glenn is currently the Student Success Librarian at the University of Florida. She was the Research and Instruction Librarian and Diversity Resident at Susquehanna University. Alexandrea graduated from Wayne State University with an MLIS and a certificate in Information Management. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, hanging with her cats (not simultaneously), and traveling.
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