The University of Denver was changing on several fronts at the start of their partnership with the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE). A new vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion was coming on board, a new initiative on community and values needed information to guide it, and concerns about the departmental decision-making processes were awaiting a solution.
By adapting COACHE’s Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey with carefully tailored custom questions, DU’s leaders realized that one tool could in fact support many changes.
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.
Historically, academic departments at Skidmore College operated with large degrees of autonomy from one another. Groups rarely collaborated, which made it difficult for faculty and administrators to address climate and leadership challenges across divisions. In the absence of a centralized group equipped with the tools and resources needed to address these issues, Skidmore partnered with the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) and conducted the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey to identify ways to improve departmental climates.
Using Skidmore’s survey results as a baseline for their first meeting, the team, which Skidmore leaders dubbed the ‘COACHE Collaborators’, worked together to identify three areas of departmental climate in need of attention: collegiality, diversity and inclusion, and work-life balance.