First Year Five

Welcome to the second cohort of

A program for new* faculty run by the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning

Please use the above Qualtrics survey as the Reflection Form to be submitted to log each of your 5 hours.

To view the meeting minutes from our FY5 Coffee Chat Orientation on October 20, 2023, click HERE.

George Mason University has a deep commitment to inclusivity in all aspects of university life, and faculty’s work in designing and teaching courses is a fundamental aspect of that dedication. Stearns Center, with support from the ARIE Project, the Inclusive Excellence Council, and the Diversity Office, invites new faculty* to join this endeavor, increasing their own capacities as teachers while building a network of like-minded peers across the university, starting in their very first weeks at Mason.

Faculty who participate in First-Year Five will be invited to identify and participate in five hours of work that is intended to improve the inclusion and equity strategies they use to teach at Mason.

To start, faculty will be asked to identify, complete, and log their five hours, which could include but are not limited to:

  • Attending relevant departmental workshops, field workshops, orientation sessions, or Stearns Center workshops
  • Reading journal articles or chapters that discuss inclusive pedagogical practice
  • Reading books or participating in discussions or conferences dedicated to inclusivity in their fields
  • Taking any other action that asks the faculty member to consider the work they do to strengthen their inclusive teaching

Faculty will then reflect briefly in writing on each of the five hours (via our reflection form). In the Reflection Form, faculty will be asked to describe how their pedagogy is evolving or might evolve because of the resource (book chapter, workshop, podcast episode, etc.) they logged.

Once faculty have submitted their five reflections to Stearns Center, they will earn their completion certificate and an email will be sent to their academic dean.

Additionally, faculty will:

  • Enjoy support in the form of a kick-off meeting, a mid-year meeting, and end of the year celebration of success
  • Receive a newsletter not only with suggestions and communication from Stearns Center, but also with and from each other
  • Benefit from other forms of support/engagement as needed

This program, the origins of which are steeped in relevant research, will help new faculty engage with other new community members from across departments and colleges at Mason and connect with resources and programs as they begin their journey at our university.

*Please note that “new” faculty can be defined as faculty in their first couple years of teaching at Mason, not just their first year.

If you have questions about the First-Year Five program, please email the Stearns Center ( with “First-Year Five” in the subject line.