Higher Education Leadership

Growing Our Own: Cultivating Faculty Leadership

by Kiernan Mathews

This article was originally published in Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning

A professor teaching

“What do the faculty think?” It's a question that governing boards and presidents ask routinely—or don't ask at their peril. It's also the question that, for nearly 15 years, has prompted nearly 300 colleges and universities to participate in the survey research project I direct to understand and assess the faculty experience.

But here's the problem: it's the wrong question. The seasoned college leader appreciates that there is no such thing as “a” faculty (“encamped just north of Armageddon,” according to Robert Zemsky) followed by a verb in the third-person singular. Rather, there are many faculties. Since Change's founding, the increasing diversity in the roles, demographics, and institutional homes of faculty is the most consequential factor bedeviling the leadership of the faculty enterprise and, therefore, any transformation of the academy.

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Success After Tenure: Lessons in Engaging Mid-Career Faculty

The exterior of a university with gothic architectureThe forthcoming book, Success After Tenure: Supporting Mid-Career Faculty, offers a unique perspective on how to support mid-career faculty. The book focuses on issues faced by mid-career faculty and examines innovative programs and models that can be used to support their professional development, as well as best practices for effective faculty engagement. COACHE recently hosted a webinar, “Success After Tenure: Lessons in Engaging Mid-Career Faculty”, which discussed the trends and themes around mid-career faculty that were unearthed in the book. Lead editor of the book, Vicki L. Baker; contributing author, Todd Benson; and COACHE partners and faculty development practitioners from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Anne Marie Canale and Cheryl Herdklotz, offered their own insights and perspectives on the issue.

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Sharing Data with Faculty: The Paradox of Transparency

by Todd Benson

A pile of chartsToday, 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 discussion. It’s no surprise then that one of the most frequent, and challenging, questions that comes up as we work with our partners is “How much of the report should we share with faculty?” Our standard answer is “Everything!” but full transparency presents its own set of challenges and concerns.

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How One University is Creating Sustainable Faculty/Administrator Working Groups

by Todd Benson

A team of people sitting at a conference tableRecently 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 the work to sustain itself for so long, so Berit and I dug in to try to understand what worked. Some themes began to appear that might be valuable for other institutions that wish to engage their faculty in data driven discussions.

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Essential Resources for the Evidence-based Chief Academic Officer

by Kiernan Mathews

A woman doing research in the periodicals section of a libraryFor the chief academic officer or senior administrator in faculty affairs, there's little time to hunt for the latest research that could improve the practice of academic leadership. This time-scarcity problem steers decision makers, in the interest of expediency, to revert to the status quo--doing things the way they have always been done. It's no surprise, then, that we keep seeing the same results.

How do we get the best research on faculty in front of those in a position to make a difference? I've assembled a few “essentials” as a start to incorporate into the professional rhythms of the provost or academic dean.... Read more about Essential Resources for the Evidence-based Chief Academic Officer

Post-tenure Review from a Growth Mindset

by Kiernan Mathews

A woman in a pantsuit and heels climbing stairsI recently fielded a question from a COACHE partner who wanted to know about institutions doing good work in annual appraisal processes that makes real distinctions in faculty performance. There are effective, developmental, faculty-driven approaches, and COACHE data can be deployed to identify them. At our project, however, we start with frameworks—the four lenses of Reframing Organizations by Bolman and Deal are a favorite device here at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Where the Faculty Affairs Things Are: Conferences and Convenings

by Kiernan Mathews

This blog post was republished in 2019 with an updated list of resources: "Where the Faculty Affairs Things Are (Now): Conferences and Convenings Updated"

A group of colleagues around a conference tableEvery so often in my work at COACHE, I meet a brand-new vice provost or associate dean responsible for faculty affairs (or faculty development, or faculty excellence, or so on) at his or her university. Nine times out of ten, these are faculty who demonstrated their leadership as department chairs or on important university-wide committees and now find themselves as academic administrators without a community of peers on campus. It can be a difficult transition. Where do they turn to find support, professional development, and comfort that they aren't alone?

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APLU Members React: Forging Effective Partnerships to Sustain Institutional Change

Two people shaking hands over a pile of papersModerator: Beth Mitchneck, Program Director for ADVANCE, National Science Foundation
Panelists: Kimberlee Shauman, Professor of Sociology and Associate Director of ADVANCE, University of California, Davis; Loretta A. Moore, Interim Vice President for Research and Federal Relations and Professor of Computer Science, Jackson State University; Susan Carlson, Vice Provost for Academic Personnel, University of California, Office of the President

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COACHE Results Support University of Toronto's Large-Scale Communication Strategy

by Meg Starkey

A group of people discussing informationCOACHE spotlights member institutions that are delving into their reports and engaging with their colleagues around disseminating results.  This ‘spotlight’ features the University of Toronto.  I interviewed Sara-Jane Finlay, Director of the Office of Faculty and Academic Life and Stephannie Roy, Projects Officer in the Office of the Vice Provost, Faculty and Academic Life about their dissemination strategy.  So far, they have presented to their Academic Board; President/VPs/Deans; principals/deans/academic directors & chairs; and they post weekly reports and infographics in The Bulletin. You can find more information by clicking here. Their story highlights the importance of timing in attempting to generate an impact on the faculty and faculty leadership.

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Partner Spotlight: The University at Albany’s "Tenure Trek"

An audience observing a panel discussionIn 2008, the University at Albany developed a “Tenure Trek” program, aimed at demystifying the tenure process and providing junior faculty with  opportunities for collegial discussion with peers, information to help them better understand UAlbany, and strategies for achieving success in teaching, research and service. Events include panel discussions with senior faculty, structured workshops and informal discussions. All pre-tenure academic faculty members are invited to share their own experiences, and to gather insights from others on negotiating the early years of a career at UAlbany.... Read more about Partner Spotlight: The University at Albany’s "Tenure Trek"

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