Recent Developments

From time to time, COACHE refreshes its survey instruments in order to keep the results salient to the work of academic leaders in advancing the faculty. One significant update occurred in 2011-12, when COACHE broadened the eligible survey population to include tenured and full-time, non-tenure-track faculty. We then rolled out our new survey of faculty departures and retentions in 2016-17. We expect that these tools will create significant opportunities for campus leadership. 

We have described the most recent changes below, but be sure to contact us for access to the complete COACHE survey codebooks, which includes line-by-line notes where items were added, slightly modified, significantly altered, and deleted.

The Faculty Retention & Exit Survey (EXIT)

COACHE has completed the pilot phase of the first multi-institutional survey of faculty retention and departure. Beginning in the 2016-17 academic year, COACHE partner institutions are poised to make significant improvements in faculty exit management through a sustained commitment to this applied research. 

Click here to learn more, then contact us to enroll your institution in the next cohort of institutional partners.

The Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey (JOBSAT)

New Modules: “Shared Governance” and “Leadership: Faculty”

After two years polling administrative and faculty leaders around the country, COACHE identified a common desire for greater insight into the quality of faculty leadership and the vitality of shared governance. To respond to this need, we made two changes to our instrument.

Faculty leadership

In addition to survey items related to institutional service, governance, and leadership, there are now also items related to facultys' own elected leaders. Four new questions ask respondents to rate their satisfaction with various aspects of governance vis-à-vis the faculty senate, council, or other organizing body. This module will appear alongside the existing items.

Essential Ingredients of Academic Governance

Still, these new questions do not reveal if there is a common understanding of what shared governance means to faculty and administrators, and whether or not it is working well. What is the institutional capacity for collaboration between faculty and administrators? Are all the pieces in place to address the institution’s most pressing issues in a healthy, sustainable way?

Our researchers conducted a yearlong study, now available for download, to crystallize the essential ingredients of an effective governance system into five components: trust, a shared sense of purpose, understanding the issue at hand, adaptability, and productivity.

As a result, we added items to gauge the extent to which faculty believe that these ingredients are in evidence on their campuses. The results are already forming the basis of constructive dialog between faculty and administrators about mutual expectations for engagement in institutional decision making.

Survey Path for Clinical Faculty

In 2007 and again in 2009, COACHE collaborated with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to develop an instrument that was suitable for the special circumstances of faculty—and in particular, clinical faculty—in medical college settings. Based on our work, the AAMC launched “Faculty Forward,” a COACHE-like program for faculty affairs deans in medical colleges.

Now, we have incorporated the lessons learned from our work with AAMC and adapted a new survey "module," or "path," for clinical faculty in medical schools. That path directs clinical faculty to questions about patient care, clinical services, their ability to provide a high quality of care, and interactions between physicians and other clinical staff. 

On most other dimensions, COACHE results for clinical faculty are directly comparable to faculty across the university. Rather than frame the medical school’s faculty development needs and successes in isolation, this institution-wide, adaptive instrument will encourage a sharing of best practices wherever they may be.

Tenure Reasonableness Module Removed

For more than a decade, the COACHE instrument included questions for pre-tenure faculty about the reasonableness of tenure expectations. These questions served as matched pairs with similar items in the “Tenure Clarity” component. 

We removed this module from the core instrument for the following reasons:

  1. Through practice and inquiry, we have found this module to be the least “actionable” module in its own right.
  2. Tenure reasonableness is highly correlated with the Tenure Clarity module. We learned that if you get clarity right, then reasonableness is likely to follow.
  3. It has the highest overall mean and nearly the lowest overall variability.
  4. Given evolving expectations and priorities of faculty and college leaders, there are other areas COACHE must investigate without extending the survey beyond its allotted 25-minute average completion time.

If your institution has responded to its Tenure Reasonableness ratings with effective interventions, please let us know. Your campus will be eligible to include these six questions as an “add-on module” (without peer comparison data) for one additional round of survey administration.

Share Your Thoughts

Share your ideas, feedback, and questions about survey developments and redesigned reports by emailing coache@gse.harvard.edu, or call 617-495-5285. We are particularly interested in your requests for new thematic modules or survey paths for important faculty populations.