Todd Benson

AAC&U 2020 Annual Meeting: Four Faculty-Focused Tracks Through the Agenda

COACHE research on the professoriate is shaping the future of higher education leadership, so we are eager to attend next week’s annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges & Universities, “Shaping the Future of Higher Education: An Invitation to Lead.” While the program is characteristically overflowing with opportunities to learn and to network, we have identified four tracks through the January 22-25 schedule where we expect...

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Evidence-Based Faculty Development: The COACHE Research-Practice Partnership
Mathews, K., & Benson, R. T. (2018). Evidence-Based Faculty Development: The COACHE Research-Practice Partnership. In Success After Tenure: Supporting Mid-Career Faculty . Stylus Publishing, LLC. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This book brings together leading practitioners and scholars engaged in professional development programming for and research on mid-career faculty members. The chapters focus on key areas of career development and advancement that can enhance both individual growth and institutional change to better support mid-career faculties.

The mid-career stage is the longest segment of the faculty career and it contains the largest cohort of faculty. Also, mid-career faculty are tasked with being the next generation of faculty leaders and mentors on their respective campuses, with little to no supports to do so effectively, at a time when higher education continues to face unprecedented challenges while managing continued goal of diversifying both the student and faculty bodies.

The stories, examples, data, and resources shared in this book will provide inspiration--and reality checks--to the administrators, faculty developers, and department chairs charged with better supporting their faculties as they engage in academic work. Current and prospective faculty members will learn about trends in mid-career faculty development resources, see examples of how to create such supports when they are lacking on their campuses, and gain insights on how to strategically advance their own careers based on the realities of the professoriate.

The book features a variety of institution types: community colleges, regional/comprehensive institutions, liberal arts colleges, public research universities, ivy league institutions, international institutions, and those with targeted missions such as HSI/MSI and Jesuit.

Topics include faculty development for formal and informal leadership roles; strategies to support professional growth, renewal, time and people management; teaching and learning as a form of scholarship; the role of learning communities and networks as a source of support and professional revitalization; global engagement to support scholarship and teaching; strategies to recruit, retain, and promote underrepresented faculty populations; the policy-practice connection; and gender differences related to key mid-career outcomes.

While the authors acknowledge that the challenges facing the mid-career stage are numerous and varying, they offer a counter narrative by looking at ways that faculty and/or institutions can assert themselves to find opportunities within challenging contexts. They suggest that these challenges highlight priority mentoring areas, and support the creation of new and innovative faculty development supports at institutional, departmental, and individual levels.

Sharing Data with Faculty: The Paradox of Transparency

by Todd Benson


Today, higher education institutions are using more and more data to drive decision-making. This is a good thing, however, when leaders need to include faculty in decision making and execution offering the right amount of data is of paramount importance. Faculty are, by their training, critical consumers of data and not sharing everything could be interpreted as the administration spinning the results. On the other hand, sharing every single data point can lead to an unfocused...

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How One University is Creating Sustainable Faculty/Administrator Working Groups

by Todd Benson

Recently I had the chance to speak with Berit Gundersen at the University of the Pacific. As the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, Gundersen lead the initiative to bring the COACHE Faculty Job Satisfaction survey to the University of the Pacific in 2014. In our discussion, she mentioned that even years later, faculty and administrators are discussing the results - even during a dinner at the President’s home this past spring. It made me wonder what aspects of their approach allowed...

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