Publications

    Does the environment matter? Faculty satisfaction at 4-year colleges and universities in the USA
    Webber, K. L. (2019). Does the environment matter? Faculty satisfaction at 4-year colleges and universities in the USA. Higher Education , 78 (2), 323-343. Read the full studyAbstract

    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.

    Faculty Leadership and Institutional Resilience: Indicators, Promising Practices, and Key Questions
    Norman, B. (2019). Faculty Leadership and Institutional Resilience: Indicators, Promising Practices, and Key Questions. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning , 51 (4), 48-54. Read the full studyAbstract

    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.

    The Academic Environment and Faculty Well-Being: The Role of Psychological Needs
    Larson, L. M., Seipel, M. T., Shelley, M. C., Gahn, S. W., Ko, S. Y., Schenkenfelder, M., Rover, D. T., et al. (2019). The Academic Environment and Faculty Well-Being: The Role of Psychological Needs. Journal of Career Assessment , 27 (1), 167-182. Read the studyAbstract

    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.

    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. Read the bookAbstract

    This book brings together leading practitioners and scholars engaged in professional development programming for and research on mid-career faculty members, those tasked with being the next generation of faculty leaders and mentors on their respective campuses, with little to no supports to do so effectively.

    The stories, data, and resources shared in this book will provide inspiration—and reality checks—to administrators, faculty developers, and department chairs charged with supporting their faculties as they engage in academic work. Topics include faculty development for formal and informal leadership roles; strategies to support professional growth; teaching and learning as a form of scholarship; and strategies to recruit, retain, and promote underrepresented faculty populations.

    While the authors acknowledge that mid-career faculty members face numerous challenges, this collection offers a counter narrative by looking at ways that faculty and/or institutions can assert themselves to find opportunities within challenging contexts.

    Gender and Race Differences in Faculty Assessment of Tenure Clarity: The Influence of Departmental Relationships and Practices
    Lisnic, R., Zajicek, A., & Morimoto, S. (2018). Gender and Race Differences in Faculty Assessment of Tenure Clarity: The Influence of Departmental Relationships and Practices. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. Read the articleAbstract
    The authors look at how the intersection of gender and race influences pre-tenure faculty members’ perceptions of the clarity of tenure expectations. The authors also seek to identify potential predictors (assessment of mentoring, relationships with peers, feedback on progress toward tenure, and fairness in tenure decision making and evaluation) of perceptions of tenure clarity for four intersectionally defined groups, including historically underrepresented minority women (URMW). The authors use an intersectional perspective and the gendered and racialized organizations’ theoretical lens to interpret the results. The data set comes from the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey. Findings show that compared with white men, URMW are less satisfied with their relationships with peers and with the fairness in the evaluation of their work. They are also less likely to agree that mentoring is effective, that tenure decisions are fair, and that messages about tenure are consistent.
    Beyond Teaching and Research: Faculty Perceptions of Service Roles at Research Universities
    Mamiseishvili, K., Miller, M. T., & Lee, D. (2016). Beyond Teaching and Research: Faculty Perceptions of Service Roles at Research Universities. Innovative Higher Education , 41 (4), 273-285. Read the full studyAbstract

    Faculty members in higher education institutions frequently have the responsibility of providing service activities to their institutions, professional societies, and external communities. This responsibility, however, generally carries little reward in the workplace and does not play a major role in promotion criteria. This study drew upon a sample of 4,400 research university faculty members surveyed through the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey to explore their satisfaction with service roles by academic rank. Findings showed that mid-career faculty members at the associate professor rank were significantly less satisfied with their service functions, including workload, equity, work balance, recognition, and institutional support, when compared with both assistant and full professors.

    Russell, B. C. (2013). The workplace satisfaction of newly-tenured faculty members at research universities. Harvard University. Read the dissertationAbstract

    If faculty are dissatisfied with their work, colleges and universities can experience educational and organizational repercussions that include contentious departmental climates and stagnant work productivity. The dissatisfaction of newly tenured faculty, who face unique transitional circumstances, could have particularly negative consequences. 

    This dissertation uses Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey data, along with interviews of 12 newly tenured faculty members, to estimate the predictors of newly tenured faculty workplace satisfaction. The results indicate that newly-tenured faculty tend to be satisfied with their institutions when they have communicative senior leaders, fair and reasonable compensation, and a sense of belonging in their departments. At the departmental level, newly-tenured faculty are more likely to be satisfied when norms and behaviors promote inclusion and diversity, colleagues are respectful, and departmental leaders are supportive. The results of this study can stimulate thinking about new policies and practices to maximize the satisfaction and performance of faculty during this transformative period in their careers.

     

    Success on the Tenure Track: Five Keys to Faculty Job Satisfaction
    Trower, C. (2012). Success on the Tenure Track: Five Keys to Faculty Job Satisfaction (pp. 288) . Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press. Read the full textAbstract

    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.

     

    Gen X Meets Theory X: What New Scholars Want
    Trower, C. A. (2012). Gen X Meets Theory X: What New Scholars Want. Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy. Read the full articleAbstract

     

    “If they can’t understand that I want a kick-ass career and a kick-ass life, then I don’t want to work here,” sums up how many Generation X’ers (born between 1965 and 1980) view their workplace, according to Lancaster and Stillman. As a group, Gen X’ers are willing to work hard but want to decide when, where, and how. As this generation enters the professoriate in large numbers, some institutions may be wondering what hit them.

    This study measured the importance of 19 job factors to recent graduates of doctoral degree programs. The primary considerations of recent graduates when choosing a job were: finding a situation in which they could do meaningful work and strike a balance between teaching and research; quality of living conditions, e.g., affordability of housing, commute, good K-12 schools, community feeling and safety, and job opportunities for spouse or partner; and balance between work and home life.

     

    Career Stage Differences in Pre-Tenure Track Faculty Perceptions of Professional and Personal Relationships with Colleagues
    Ponjuan, L., Conley, V. M., & Trower, C. (2011). Career Stage Differences in Pre-Tenure Track Faculty Perceptions of Professional and Personal Relationships with Colleagues. The Journal of Higher Education , 82 (3), 319-346. Read the articleAbstract

    Despite a steady decline in available faculty tenure-track positions, future vacancies in tenure-track positions provide opportunities to diversify faculty ranks with new female faculty and faculty of color. This impending employment shift in faculty demographics may change departmental climates, pre-tenure faculty socialization processes, and professional and personal relationships between pre-tenure female faculty and faculty of color and their colleagues.

    This study examines pre-tenure faculty members' perception of collegial relationships with colleagues. We primarily focus on the organizational socialization of female faculty and faculty of color, and faculty in different pre-tenure career stages. We found differences in satisfaction with collegial relationships between faculty by gender, race, and pre-tenure career stages.