Onboarding Overview for New Faculty

Autumn BerriesBelow are selected resources to help new faculty get off to a productive start in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. If you have questions, you may find it useful to talk to:


Onboarding Overview

The Onboarding Checklist (with links that anchor to corresponding, more detailed sections of this page) contains a step-by-step overview of the onboarding process, which is intended to help incoming faculty prepare for their position. A printable version of this checklist can be found here: Onboarding Checklist: Action Items to be Followed by New Faculty

1.  Visa Processes

2. Arrival Planning

3.  Completing I-9

4. System Access - Harvard Key

5.  Campus Access and Accessibility

6.  Benefits

7.  Safety and Navigating Campus8.  Orientation and Training

9.  Policies

10.  Additional Resources


Getting Started for Faculty

Each step below corresponds with, and provides more information on, an item in the Onboarding Checklist.

1. Visa Processes

Once the appointment is confirmed, reach out to your appointing department well in advance of your appointment start date for a referral to the Harvard International Office (HIO) regarding visa documentation and processes, if applicable. The HIO has many resources for international faculty. 

If you are not a US citizen, and are on Harvard-based visa sponsorship, it is important that you register at the HIO as soon as possible after your arrival at Harvard (as a guideline, within 1-21 days). The Harvard International Office must register your arrival within 30 days of the start date on your visa document (Form I-20 or DS-2019). Otherwise your SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) record will become invalid. You do not need to schedule an appointment. The HIO registration takes place on a walk-in basis. (See the HIO website for its location and hours of operation.)

Documents to take to the HIO in order to register:

For yourself:

  • Passport
  • Visa document (one of these: Form I-20, Form DS-2019 or Form I-797)
  • Any documents issued by an immigration official upon your entry to the United States.

For any dependents who accompanied you to the U.S. on an F-2, J-2 or H-4 dependent visa:

  • Passport
  • Visa documents

The staff at the HIO will provide important immigration-related information. Please keep your appointing department updated on the progress of your visa. 

2. Arrival Planning: Academic Calendar, Appointment Documentation and Set-Up, Housing, and Childcare

A. Important Dates: Check the Academic Calendar on the FAS Registrar’s Office website to plan your arrival on campus, noting teaching deadlines and orientations that take place before the semester begins.

B. Appointment Documentation and Set-Up: Contact your appointing department for more specific arrival information and to be sure all appointment documentation is in order. It is strongly recommended that you arrive in Cambridge at least several days before your appointment begins to complete necessary start-up activities. Talk to your appointing department about getting set up, and to coordinate any building or space-planning needs. Before considering hiring any research personnel, contact your appointing department. 

C. Housing: Harvard University Housing (HUH) offers a broad range of housing and real estate services to the University’s graduate students, faculty, and staff, including Faculty Real Estate Services and other housing resources. The Harvard International Office also has helpful information on how to begin searching for housing. It is best to start this process early, as it can be challenging to find housing in the Boston area.

D. Childcare: The University is committed to providing access to a wide array of childcare options, including six on-campus childcare centers, back-up care resources, and a range of resources for finding group care or in-home care in your community. More information can be found at hr.harvard.edu/childcare.

  • The Harvard WATCH Portal connects parents and caregivers within the Harvard community: Harvard faculty, students, staff, research scholars (and high school and college students who live with faculty and staff). You may also use the WATCH Portal to find pet sitters, house sitters, help with yard work, and more. 
  • Please also see the Employee Assistance Program for information about parenting resources available to Harvard employees.
  • The ACCESS Program, an initiative to help tenure-track, tenured, and senior non-ladder faculty meet their family care-giving needs, is comprised of two components: a component in which eligible faculty are prioritized for enrollment at campus childcare centers and a scholarship program component. More information can be found at faculty.harvard.edu/access-child-care-program.

3. Completing I-9

Your appointment will not become active until an I-9 form is processed, which may take up to one week or more during the busy start of a semester. Well in advance of your appointment start date, be sure to discuss with your appointing department how your I-9 will be handled (remotely or in-person), and what the timing will be. Most people complete their I-9 or other tax forms as soon as they arrive on campus.

I-9 forms can be submitted not more than 90 days in advance of your appointment. Generally, employees must complete and sign Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than the first day of employment, and employers or their authorized representative must complete and sign Section 2 within three business days of the employee's first day of employment. Please consult FAS Human Resources I-9 Submission Process and Resources for more information about I-9 procedures.

GLACIER is an online tax compliance system that specializes in tax issues for foreign nationals. Foreign nationals receiving payment from Harvard will be given access to GLACIER and must answer a series of questions.  Based on that information, GLACIER will calculate your tax residency status and determine whether you are eligible to claim any tax treaty benefits on your earnings here. 

4. System Access: Harvard Key/Canvas, My.Harvard/Research Computing

Once your appointment has been processed and you have obtained your HUID number, reach out to your appointing department about setting up access to HarvardKey, email, and Canvas and My.Harvard; and explore Research Computing options.

A. HarvardKey is Harvard University's unified online user credential, uniquely identifying you to Harvard IT applications and services to grant you access to Harvard online resources.

B. Email Account: Please set up a Harvard email account, either through Outlook and Office365 or through g.harvard.edu. Your Harvard email account should be used for all Harvard business for the duration of your appointment, and you are responsible for complying with Harvard University's Information Security Policy, FERPA, and all other applicable policies.  

C. Course Management and Student Information System: Canvas is the default platform for FAS course websites. Once you have claimed your HarvardKey, you should explore Canvas training and begin to set up any new course sites as soon as possible, if you will be teaching in the coming term.  My.Harvard is the Student Information System (SIS) program used in the FAS and is a teaching and advising information management resource for faculty.

D. Research Computing: For high-powered research computing, you may find it helpful to explore Harvard's Research Computing options at this stage.

5. Campus Access and Accessibility

A. Campus Access/Harvard ID: Your appointment must be processed fully in the system before you can receive a Harvard ID card. Once your appointment has been processed (on or after your appointment start date), visit the Harvard ID Office to obtain your Harvard ID card. Please be sure to bring a government-issued photo ID. Your photo will be taken and an ID card will be generated for you. You will use this card to access the libraries and other locations on the Campus Map. You should always carry this card with you while on campus.

B. Accessibility: Harvard University Disability Resources (UDR) welcomes students, faculty, researchers, staff and visitors with disabilities. UDR provides leadership to University efforts to ensure an accessible, welcoming working and learning environment for individuals with disabilities while ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations. UDR serves as a central resource on disability-related information, procedures and services for the University community and provides expertise in the development, implementation, and acquisition of standard disability-related University practices, procedures and resources.

6. Benefits

Select Benefits, if applicable, within 30 days of your appointment start date or you may become ineligible for health and other benefits. Attend an HR Center for Workplace Development (CWD) new employee orientation to learn more about all plan options. Reach out to the Benefits Office, 617-496-4001, with any benefits-related questions.

In PeopleSoft, use the Day 1-30 Onboarding Tool; set up direct deposit; and enter your personal, tax, and emergency information.

PeopleSoft Day 1-30 Onboarding for Benefits Eligible New Hires: All benefits-eligible new hire/rehire employees will receive a Day 1-30 Onboarding Activity Guide tile on their Self-Service page in PeopleSoft. This guide will group and track all the necessary tasks to be completed in their first 30 days. The onboarding guide provides instructions and short videos corresponding to the employee’s payroll class. Once all the required steps are complete, the onboarding tile will be removed.

In conjunction with this effort, all employee updates to direct deposit and tax information will be made through Employee Self Service. Hard copy forms should no longer be submitted. Job Aids for viewing and updating direct deposit and tax withholding information are available through the Harvard Training Portal and posted on the FAS Office of Finance web site: https://finance.fas.harvard.edu/.

7. Safety and Navigating Campus

The Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) publishes an Annual Security Report, “Playing it Safe,” which includes information about the HUPD, how to report a crime, HUPD’s crime prevention programs, substance abuse, sensitive crimes, emergency notifications, and other important information about security and HUPD services on campus. The HUPD site also contains information about safety and self-defense, bicycle registration, laptop registration, and other resources for navigating safely around campus. To report crime and suspicious activity, call: Urgent, 617-495-1212; Longwood, 617-432-1212; Business, 617-495-1215. 

MessageMe is Harvard University’s emergency notification system. In the event of an emergency or significant disruption in operations, the University will use MessageMe to quickly distribute critical information to all active Harvard faculty, staff, students, and other community members who are likely to be on campus. Please review and update your MessageMe profile.

For navigating Life at Harvard, the Campus Map and the Harvard International Office's Welcome Guide are helpful resources.

8. Orientation and Training

Attend an orientation event:

  • For new ladder faculty, senior lecturers, professors in residence, and professors of the practice in the FAS, the New Faculty Institute (NFI) provides a two-day orientation each August, including overviews of Harvard resources, workshops on teaching and course development, and information on topics ranging from the undergraduate curriculum to mentoring and career development. Additional information on the program is sent to incoming faculty at the start of each summer.
  • For new associate senior lecturers, senior preceptors, Benjamin Peirce Fellows, Briggs-Copeland Lecturers, College Fellows, lecturers, preceptors, and visiting faculty, Navigating Harvard, which takes place in August, is a one-day orientation that focuses on Harvard resources, benefits, and policies. Additional information on the program is sent to incoming non-ladder faculty at the start of each summer.
  • For all faculty and researchers, please contact your appointing department to find out if there are orientation events within your division, department, area, center, or other units.

Complete any necessary trainings based on your position, such as (and not limited to):

    • Title IX Training: The Harvard University Title IX Office requires all Harvard faculty and staff to take a 45-minute online training course. After your appointment begins, you will receive an email from the Harvard Training Portal notifying you that the online training course, Supporting a Harassment-Free Community, has been added to your learning plan. Included in this email will be a link to the training course. You will need to log into the Harvard Training Portal with your HarvardKey to access the course. 
    • The Office of the Vice Provost for Research: Research Compliance Training: Research compliance training ranges from general guidelines for the conduct of ethical and responsible research to specific requirements for the conduct of research pursuant to regulations governing the subject matter, or materials used in, research. Harvard University is committed to the provision of training to faculty, researchers, administrators, and staff that is targeted to their specific research areas and research-related roles and consistent with regulatory and/or sponsor requirements.
    • Office for Sponsored Programs, Sponsored Research Administration Training: The mission of Sponsored Research Administration Training at Harvard is to provide staff with the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge base needed to support faculty and researchers in the pursuit and management of research excellence. We strive to enhance individual learning and development as the means for creating a better workplace environment and for building a stronger Harvard University research administration community. Our objective is to develop, coordinate, administer and deliver quality research administration training opportunities for staff at Harvard University to support the University Mission of Research and Education.

    9. Policies

    The FAS and the University hold certain shared values concerning teaching, research, and service, and faculty are expected to comply with all School and University policies. You are responsible for familiarizing yourself with, and adhering to, all of Harvard University's policies, including but not limited to:

    A. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (“FERPA”), is a federal law that gives students certain rights with respect to their education records.


    B. FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook: Ch.2 "General Policies, Principles, and Deadlines": The FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook outlines general policies, principles, and/or deadlines for faculty.


    C. FAS Sexual & Gender-Based Harassment Policy/Resources: The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the FAS community is, on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in any University program or activity. Gender-based and sexual harassment, including sexual violence, are forms of sex discrimination in that they deny or limit an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from University programs or activities. In order to protect the access of all members of our community to the full range of opportunities and resources provided at Harvard, the FAS has adopted the following Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy and Procedures for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The Harvard University Title IX Office provides a 45-minute online training course, "Supporting a Harassment-Free Community (University-Wide)," to all faculty and staff at Harvard.


    D. Financial Policies: The Financial Policy Office (FPO), within the Office of the Controller, oversees the development, communication, and management of University-wide financial policies. The mission of FPO is to ensure that financial policies are accessible, easy to use tools for the Harvard financial community, and to help create new policies where needed. Please visit their site, and see the policies below for more specific information on each:

    The Spending Policy for Faculty Start Up and other FAS Faculty Support Funds can be found on the Research Funds Policy page of the FAS Office for Finance.

    E. Harvard University Information Security Policy: These Information Security Requirements apply to everyone at Harvard. They provide additional detail on how to be compliant with Policy and should be used as a normal part of daily life at Harvard in order to keep both Harvard confidential data and your own personal information secure.

    F. Office of the General Counsel (OGC): The Office of General Counsel at Harvard University offers a wealth of resources including:

    • Model Documents - Model Consulting Agreements, Model Publication Agreements, Model Speaker Consent Form for Audio/Video Recordings, etc.
    • Publications - Advisories and Publications of interest to the Harvard community.
    • Copyright & Fair Use Resources - A Guide for the Harvard Community.
    • Conflicts of Interest and Commitment - Harvard University Policy on Conflicts of Interest and Commitment for Senior Officers and Administrators.
    • FAQs - Frequently asked questions about the OGC, doing business online, employment, event planning, governance, privacy and copyright, real estate, research, student records, and taxes.

    G. Office of the Provost: University-Wide Policies: Topics include Academic Affairs, Commercial Activity, Confidential Data, Conflict of Interest, Financial Policies, Electronic Communications, Research Policies, Export Controls, Harvard Name Usage, Human Resources, International Affairs, Intellectual Property, Invention, Patents and Copyrights, etc.

    H. Office for Sponsored Programs (OSP): Policies and Guidelines: Policies and guidelines apply to all financial, administrative, and research administration staff, as well as faculty. For updates and an in-depth look at new policies, follow the OSP Blog. To learn more about these policies, please sign up for one of the upcoming trainings by viewing the OSP Training Calendar.

    I. The Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR): Harvard's research landscape is wonderfully rich, but it is also complex and may be difficult to navigate. This website is intended to serve all Harvard scholars, new and experienced, as a hub that organizes and provides access to the many laws, regulations, and policies that may be applicable to one's research, and to resources that enable research.

    J. Professional Conduct: Please see Chapter 2, Section F2, in the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook for FAS policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Unprofessional Conduct.

    K. Research Policies and Guidance: The Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) has broad responsibility and oversight for the review, development, and implementation of policies related to the organization and execution of academic research, especially in the sciences, and to aspects of the University's relations with industry. The Committee on Professional Conduct advises the Dean and individual faculty on the investigation of allegations of such matters as plagiarism or falsification or fabrication of data by a member of the faculty or research staff.

    L. Responsibilities of Instructors: Please review the FAS Responsibilities of Instructors, and other Information for Faculty.

    M. Social Media Guidelines: Harvard University recognizes the importance and benefits of communicating through social media. Social media is a powerful vehicle through which Harvard may disseminate relevant news to the Harvard community, listen to voices and perceptions about Harvard, and connect with our audiences online. These guidelines are intended to provide individuals with the tools to speak effectively through social media on behalf of the University and its schools and units. However, existing legal responsibilities and University policies remain in place when Harvard employees use social media, and these guidelines do not supplant or restrict any policy in force. 

    10. Additional Resources

    Credit Union and Banking

    The Harvard University Employees Credit Union (HUECU) exclusively serves the Harvard community, including the faculty, researchers, staff, students, and alumni of Harvard University, Harvard teaching hospitals, and other affiliated organizations. HUECU provides a complete line of services (banking and loans) for all your financial needs. 

    International scholars may benefit from reviewing the Harvard International Office's page on Bank Accounts and Credit Cards.  

    Diversity & Inclusion Resources

    On March 27, 2018, the Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging released its final report to the Harvard community. A PDF of the full report, including accompanying materials for the community and report appendices, is available here.

    The Harvard College Office of BGLTQ Student Life provides support, resources, and leadership development for bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, queer, and questioning students. Through collaboration with students, staff, and faculty across the College, the Office creates opportunities for fellowship, community building, and thoughtful dialogue. This office seeks to foster a safer, more inclusive campus by educating and engaging the Harvard community about the multiplicity of sexual and gender identities.

    Harvard also has a number of Employee Resource Groups and an array of diversity resources across the university, such as the Committee on the Concerns of Women at Harvard, the Harvard Gender and Sexuality Caucus, and the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity.

    Harvard Library

    Harvard Library provides powerful resources to support scholarly work and teaching. A checklist for getting started on research is available from the Library, and you can send questions at any time to asklib@fas.harvard.edu.   

    Human Resources/Benefits

    HARVie, Harvard Information for Employees, is the human resources website for Harvard University. Please contact your appointing department initially with any questions about Human Resources or Benefits matters, if applicable. 

    In addition to the benefits available to eligible employees, Harvard's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers free, confidential help and referrals for child care; elder care; school vacation programs; camps; legal, financial, and debt counseling; stress management; workplace issues; and more for all Harvard employees and their adult household members.

    List of FAS Academic Units

    For a listing of all FAS academic units (and contact information), please visit Departments and Areas, Degree Programs and Committees and Centers, Institutes, and Societies.


    The FAS Office of Finance houses information on payroll services and other financial administration procedures, including links to system applications like the Concur employee reimbursement platform. Please initially contact your appointing department with any questions about payroll or reimbursement matters, if applicable. 

    Research Funding/Sponsored Research

    FAS Research Administration Services provides support and one on one consultation services for faculty interested in finding and applying for funding. Should you plan to apply for funding, you should also contact your appointing department to find out what departmental resources exist for assisting you with submitting your grant application. For industry or corporate support of your research, you may also connect with the Office of Technology Development, whose Accelerator programs can bridge the gap and help you prove the value of your most innovative work, even if your research is perceived as "too early-stage." For SEAS faculty interested in corporate funding, please contact Ellie Carlough, director of corporate partnerships at ecarlough@seas.harvard.edu.

    Transportation and Parking Information

    Harvard Transportation and Parking is committed to providing safe and reliable transportation and parking for the University community. This includes shuttle and van service, fleet management, parking, and the CommuterChoice Program, which offers a number of sustainable transportation options.


    Dual-Career Assistance

    For an overview, FAQs, and useful contacts related to dual-career assistance for partners of tenure-track and senior faculty, please visit the Office for Faculty Development Dual Career Assistance page. The New England Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) has the largest database of higher-ed careers in New England for academic professionals and their partners looking for dual-career prospects.

    Getting Connected

    Onboarding Information for Administrators

    This section provides resources for administrators, focused on the faculty onboarding process. The materials below complement one another and are meant to be used together.

    First, please see the Faculty Affairs Supplement to the New Employee Onboarding Checklist from the FAS Administrative Operations Onboarding Toolkit. Both the Faculty Affairs Supplement and the Onboarding Toolkit contain information about crucial components of the onboarding process.

    Aurora (Login) - Aurora is the FAS system for entering and managing academic appointments. 

    Aurora Knowledge Center - The Aurora Knowledge Center contains resources and guides for using Aurora.  

    FAS Administrator Resource Site - The FAS Administrator Resource Website provides information pertinent to an employee’s day-to-day job functions. This website includes (but is not limited to) resources such as policies, forms, contact information, and training opportunities.

    FAS Administrator's Atlas - The FAS Administrator's Atlas contains resources for new and experienced department administrators. 

    FAS Administrative Operations Onboarding Toolkit - The FAS Onboarding Toolkit, mentioned above, contains resources and templates for onboarding a new FAS employee.

    FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook - The FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook is a policy and procedural guide for navigating FAS appointment and promotion processes.

    FAS Research Administration Services (onboarding page) - The FAS Research Administration Services onboarding page encompasses research-related and administrative aspects of the process.

    MIDAS - HUIT Identity and Access Management. Managing identity data and affiliation securely.