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.
Very few studies have examined issues of work-life balance among faculty of different racial/ethnic backgrounds. Utilizing data from the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey, this study examined predictors of work-life balance for 2,953 faculty members from 69 institutions. The predictors of work-life balance included faculty characteristics, departmental/institutional characteristics and support, and faculty satisfaction with work. While African American women faculty reported less work-life balance than African American men, the reverse was true for Latina/o faculty. In addition, White faculty who were single with no children were significantly less likely to report having work-life balance than their married counterparts with children. Faculty rank was a significant positive predictor of work-life balance for all faculty. Notably, the findings highlight the importance of department and institutional support for making personal/family obligations and an academic career compatible. In addition, satisfaction with time spent on research had positive associations with work-life balance for all faculty.
This dissertation studies how higher education policies and practices can affect faculty retention and proposes changes that higher education institutions need to make to retain their faculty. The first manuscript investigates the reasonableness of tenure expectations as it relates to work-life balance, the second explores whether women’s and men’s assessments of tenure-related departmental practices influence their perceptions of clarity of tenure expectations, and the third looks at how the intersection of gender and race influences faculty perceptions of clarity of tenure expectations. The dissertation uses Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey data from a sample of 2,438 tenure-track assistant professors at research universities.
Non-tenure track faculty are a growing majority in American higher education, but research examining their work lives is limited. Moreover, the theoretical frameworks commonly used by scholars have been critiqued for reliance on ideologically charged assumptions. Using a conceptual model developed from Hackman and Oldham’s (1980) Job Characteristics Model (JCM) and prior research on faculty workplace experiences, this study considers the extent to which full-time non-tenure track and tenure line faculty share a professionalized approach to their jobs, working conditions, and how this is associated with their organizational commitment.
Satisfaction with resources, rewards, autonomy and feedback had a significant positive relationship with odds of organizational commitment for all faculty groups. Overall, the results suggest being removed from the tenure track is not associated with faculty viewing their jobs in a substantially different way than those in tenure line positions, which underscores the importance of conceptualizing full-time faculty work as an integrated whole.
Guided by an intersectional perspective, this study compares responses to the 2008 and 2009 Tenure-Track Faculty Job Satisfaction survey provided by four groups of faculty: African American women, African American men as well as white women and white men. The study examines faculty perceptions regarding the importance of family policies as related to career success, the effectiveness of family policies at the institution, and the level of satisfaction with work-life balance. The findings indicate that there are significant differences in policy perceptions and work-life satisfaction. African American women overwhelmingly indicate that eldercare policy is important to career success, while white women are more concerned with childcare policy. Significant group differences emerge in faculty assessment of childcare policy. The analysis reveals institutional-level support for care work influences overall satisfaction with the institution more than departmental support. The findings suggest care work still matters in relation to a faculty member's career advancement.
This study utilized the existing database from the Iowa State University 2009-2010 Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey to explore faculty work life balance and job satisfaction among academic disciplines. This research sought to determine if (a) work life differs by academic discipline group: (b) job satisfaction differs by academic discipline, and (c) there is a relationship between faculty work life and job satisfaction and whether this relationship differs by academic discipline group, and (d) if academic discipline has a unique effect on faculty work and life balance.
The results indicated that there is a significant relationship between work life and job satisfaction. When controlling for demographic and professional experience, the result also indicated that age and climate, and culture were significant predicators for work life balance. The results also showed that female faculty have lower job satisfaction, and indicated that the level of job satisfaction was lower for hard pure disciplines than soft pure disciplines.
Landing a tenure-track position is no easy task. Achieving tenure is even more difficult. Under what policies and practices do faculty find greater clarity about tenure and experience higher levels of job satisfaction? What makes an institution a great place to work?
In 2005–2006, the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education surveyed more than 15,000 tenure-track faculty at 200 institutions. The survey was designed around five key themes: tenure clarity, work-life balance, support for research, collegiality, and leadership.
Success on the Tenure Track positions the survey data in the context of actual colleges and universities. Best practices at the highest-rated institutions in the survey—Auburn, Ohio State, North Carolina State, Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Iowa, Kansas, and North Carolina at Pembroke—give administrators practical, proven advice on increasing employee satisfaction. Additional chapters discuss faculty demographics, trends in employment practices, creating a great workplace for faculty, and the future of tenure.
Academic institutions and faculty are pressured today from multiple directions as the federal government demands greater accountability, states cut budgets, tuition payers demand more, granting agencies become more selective and trustees apply more pressure and scrutinize more closely. In this context, this report examines the workplace satisfaction of senior faculty members at seven public research universities.
The vitality, productivity and satisfaction of senior faculty is extremely important to colleges and universities in fulfilling their missions and achieving their goals. One-quarter of senior faculty surveyed feel that the single most important thing colleges and universities can do to improve the workplace revolves around leadership stability and consistency of mission, focus, and priorities. Sixteen percent feel that increased salaries are most important and 14 percent would like more research support.