Voluntary faculty departures can often be prevented, but a lack of common exit procedures have hindered institutions’ ability to create proactive practices of faculty retention and instead harbor reactive tendencies with little positive outcome. Through interviews with 22 CAOs at liberal arts colleges, Patrick D. Reynolds, former Visiting Practitioner to COACHE, discovered partner employment and career choice were the two most prominent reasons for departures. Outliers also revealed that work and social environments, especially for faculty members of minority groups, often played a role in dissatisfaction.
During her first year as provost at The University of North Texas, Jennifer Cowley made an effort to improve data transparency on campus. Alongside an internal platform to provide data to deans and department heads, she partnered with the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education to administer the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey and develop a clear sense of faculty needs. Cowley found that the data, as well as collaborative relationships with new colleagues, helped her frame the critical conversations of her first year and identify key areas for change. The university plans to administer the survey every three years to track its progress.
COACHE’s 2019 work focused on two types of faculty members: those who leave and those who lead. This work incorporated a larger number of faculty members than in 2018, with 41 colleges, universities, and specialized programs in the 2019 Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey cohort, a total of more than 28,000 faculty participants, and an average institutional response rate of 54 percent.
Institutional reports for the Faculty Retention and Exit Survey indicate why faculty leave—or remain—at their institutions, and where inequities arise in retention negotiations. COACHE’s work also examined how we define faculty leadership, and which faculty leaders—women and humanities faculty among them—are less likely to receive institutional support in sustaining other aspects of their work.
According to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), approximately 40% of all faculty across all institutional types are now part-time. This subset of adjunct faculty is fulfilling a critical role in the higher education landscape, yet the variability of these appointments makes it exceedingly difficult to assess their needs and, ultimately, provide adequate support.
In 2017, COACHE partners at the University at Buffalo set out to address this knowledge gap by adapting the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey to suit the needs of their part-time faculty. In this webinar, Robert Granfield and Tilman Baumstark will share the challenges faced and lessons learned, both from their methodology and from their faculty, throughout this endeavor.
In 2018, the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education collaborated with the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education (HIHE) to launch the first ever Seminar on Leadership of the Faculty, a three-day workshop for academic leadership. An introduction between Harvard Club of New York, HIHE, and COACHE partners in the CUNY system led to a $100,000 grant for CUNY to invest in developing diverse faculty leadership. Data from the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey yielded an exploration of mid-career faculty, an ongoing pursuit to prevent mid-career malaise and provide support. The Faculty Retention and Exit Survey revealed the risk that a “counteroffer culture” poses to faculties’ home institutions during salary negotiations. Finally, an overhaul of our data dissemination process has made it easier for researchers to access our data in order to implement institutional changes.
Perceptions of work–family balance and of the reasonableness of tenure expectations are key faculty retention factors. Using the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey, which includes data from 2,438 tenure-track assistant professors, Rodica Lisnic, Anna Zajicek, and Brinck Kerr explore whether faculty assessment of departmental and institutional support for family influences their perceptions of the reasonableness of tenure expectations.
Results reveal that women are less likely than men to report tenure expectations as scholars are reasonable and that departments and institutions are supportive of family-work balance. Departmental support for family-work balance, caring for an ill family member, satisfaction with family-friendly policies, and workload have the strongest association with reasonableness. Satisfaction with family-friendly policies has a significant relationship with reasonableness of tenure expectations only for faculty with family care responsibilities. These results have implications for family-friendly policies and practices in academia.
Faculty members seek employment in an environment that offers good fit and work satisfaction. This study examined faculty satisfaction by institution type (baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral, and research) for recent full-time faculty members in 100 4-year institutions in the United States.
Analysis of the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey showed that respondents in baccalaureate colleges reported the highest satisfaction. Subsequent analyses to examine strength of difference across institutional type confirmed initial differences for some facets of satisfaction, but not for others. Results showed that faculty perceptions of the institutional environment firmly contribute to their satisfaction. The authors discuss the implications of their findings for policies and programs.
There is renewed interest in shared governance in American higher education. This evidence-based, exploratory study of faculty leadership identifies promising practices for shared stewardship and provides follow-up questions for senior leaders to assess the state of faculty leadership and shared governance on their own campuses. The findings are based on interviews with chief academic officers or faculty officers and chief elected faculty leaders at baccalaureate, masters, and research institutions identified as exemplars through the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey. The author argues for an expansive view of faculty leadership as a key component of institutional resilience.
In response to recent research on the well-being of higher education faculty, which has lacked a theoretical model, this study used self-determination theory to model the well-being of 581 tenured and tenure-eligible faculty members at a large midwestern university. The study looked at the relationships between environmental factors (e.g., administrative support, research support, promotion and tenure support) and faculty well-being (i.e., teaching/service satisfaction and global satisfaction), hypothesizing that volitional autonomy, perceived competence, and perceived relatedness would partially mediate these relationships. Results of path analysis indicated that all relations between the environment and teaching/service satisfaction were fully mediated by volitional autonomy and perceived competence, whereas all relations between the environment and global satisfaction were partially mediated by perceived relatedness. These findings highlight that psychological needs are central in understanding the relations between the environment and faculty well-being. The study discusses additional implications and future directions for research.
Past studies have strongly suggested that equity issues affect advancement through the academic pipeline. This study uses cross-institutional results from the 2010 through 2012 Faculty Job Satisfaction Surveys to offer analysis and potential solutions for the problem.
The study asks whether cultural taxation in the form of heavy service and advising—often associated with underrepresented minority faculty and women faculty—is a factor in advancement through the academic pipeline, and also examines the influence of ideal-worker norms and work/family demands on perceptions of promotion clarity. The analysis suggests that the factors associated with lack of clarity about promotion are more structural than individual.
In the 2016-2017 academic year, the Collaborative welcomed our largest and most diverse cohort of Faculty Job Satisfaction partners to date with over 60 higher education institutions—public and private, two- and four-year—joining our ranks. After a successful pilot, we launched the first ever multi-institutional study of Faculty Retention and Exit to 12 institutions nationwide in the spring and 22 in the fall. And to complement our survey offerings, we adapted our reporting platform to be more robust than ever, with additional race and ethnicity categories and academic area analyses.