Mid-career faculty actively seek professional satisfaction and personal well-being in their careers at the departmental and institutional level. However, a growing body of research tells us that the policies and practices in place at colleges and universities do not always support this goal. This webinar, “Success After Tenure: Lessons in Engaging Mid-Career Faculty,” offers an inside take on the themes of the book Success After Tenure: Supporting Mid-Career Faculty and provide real-world best practices from practitioners in the field.
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.
Guided by Hagedorn’s (2000) theory of faculty job satisfaction, mindful of social and organizational structures of higher education, and acknowledging recent changes in the academic labor market, this study examines satisfaction for approximately 30,000 tenured and tenure-track faculty members in 100 US colleges and universities. Findings revealed similarity between female and male faculty members in some aspects of work satisfaction, but difference in other areas in which women reported lower satisfaction. Findings also revealed that perceptions of department fit, recognition, work role balance, and mentoring are more important to women faculty’s satisfaction than male peers. These findings have implications for policy and practice.
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.
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.
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.
As the national economy has worsened, a large cadre of tenured senior faculty is graying and staying at their institutions. This has left an older set of full professors who began their careers in a different era, an overworked and underappreciated set of associate professors, and a group of assistant professors who are wondering, “What have I gotten myself into?”
By and large, tenure-track faculty want what they have always wanted: clear and reasonable tenure requirements; support for teaching and research; an environment that allows them to juggle responsibilities at work and home; and a set of colleagues to whom they can turn for mentoring, collaborations, intellectual stimulation, and friendship. But several differences between the past and present affect these faculty dramatically.
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.
According to the Carnegie Foundation, faculty job satisfaction has declined drastically over the past few decades at institutions of higher education (Shuster and Finkelstein, 2006). Researchers have also found that faculty satisfaction is critical to the vitality of colleges and universities (Clark, Corcoran, and Lewis, 1986; Farrell, 1983). Senior faculty members, defined here as those who have tenure, can significantly impact institutional vitality because they make up 50 percent of the professoriate (U.S. Department of Education, 2008). In addition, a recent study suggests that one disengaged senior faculty member can significantly damage an entire academic unit (Huston, Norman, and Ambrose, 2007). What factors affect senior faculty retention and attrition at institutions of higher education? I begin the following chapter by analyzing the most common factors presented in the literature. I then argue that institutions must consider the particular needs of their senior faculty members and be willing to make change(s) to retain them.
Universities are structured in a way that makes it almost impossible to deviate from the status quo, and the market gives them little incentive to change. Cathy A. Trower argues for a new model of higher education in which the focus is on inventing the future rather than on maintaining the traditions of the past, tenure decisions are made based on teaching and community involvement as well as research, and shared governance leads to constructive decision-making.