Publications

    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.

    Effective Academic Governance: Five Ingredients for CAOs and Faculty
    Ott, M. W., & Mathews, K. (2015). Effective Academic Governance: Five Ingredients for CAOs and Faculty. The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education. Download the full textAbstract
    The COACHE research-practice partnership is designed to enact organizational change for the benefit of faculty and, by extension, the institution. But does every college's system of shared governance have what it takes to meet their own or, indeed, higher education’s most pressing challenges? This white paper looks beyond the rhetoric toward a more differentiated understanding of the ingredients of effective academic governance. Ott and Mathews offer a five-factor framework grounded in the literature, developed from interviews, and, now, tested in a survey of thousands of faculty. The report concludes with advice for assessing and fostering the qualities of “hard” and “soft” governance practices essential to sustainable change in the “real world” decision-making of committees, assemblies, senates, councils, and unions.
    Understanding the changing faculty workforce in higher education: A comparison of non-tenure track and tenure line experiences
    Ott, M., & Cisneros, J. (2015). Understanding the changing faculty workforce in higher education: A comparison of non-tenure track and tenure line experiences. Education Policy Analysis Archives , 23 (90). Read the studyAbstract

    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.

    Benchmark Best Practices: Tenure and Promotion
    (2014). Benchmark Best Practices: Tenure and Promotion. Read the reportAbstract

    The COACHE surveys of college faculty produce data that are both salient to full-time college faculty and actionable by academic leaders. The survey items are aggregated into 20 benchmarks representing the general thrust of faculty satisfaction along key themes. This white paper discusses the themes of tenure policies, tenure clarity, and promotion.

    Administrators and faculty alike acknowledge that, at most institutions, the bar to achieve tenure has risen over time. While it is impossible to eliminate anxiety from the minds of all pre-tenure faculty members, or the pressures exerted on their lives en route to tenure, academic leaders can improve the clarity of tenure policies and expectations without sacrificing rigor. And while the academy has recently improved many policies for assistant professors (e.g., research leave; stop-the-tenure-clock; part-time tenure-track options), it has done far less for associate professors. Ideas have emerged from COACHE research on tenured faculty.

    Benchmark Best Practices: Nature of Work: Teaching
    (2014). Benchmark Best Practices: Nature of Work: Teaching. Read the reportAbstract

    The COACHE surveys of college faculty produce data that are both salient to full-time college faculty and actionable by academic leaders. The survey items are aggregated into 20 benchmarks representing faculty satisfaction along key themes. This white paper examines teaching, based on survey responses that measure satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the portion of faculty members’ time spent on teaching, the number and level of courses taught, the number and quality of students taught, discretion over course content, and the distribution of teaching workload across department faculty.

    The challenge for every faculty member is to strike a balance between institutional expectations for teaching and the time available to invest in it. Dissatisfaction can occur when faculty members feel expectations for teaching are unreasonable, institutional support is lacking, or the distribution of work is inequitable. Satisfaction can be raised through workshops about improving teaching, mentoring students, using instructional technologies, and experimenting with new techniques.

    Benchmark Best Practices: Nature of Work: Service
    (2014). Benchmark Best Practices: Nature of Work: Service. Read the reportAbstract

    The COACHE surveys of college faculty produce data that are both salient to full-time college faculty and actionable by academic leaders. The survey items are aggregated into 20 benchmarks representing faculty satisfaction along key themes. This white paper examines service: faculty satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the portion of their time spent on service, the number of committees on which they serve, the attractiveness of those committees, and the discretion faculty have to choose them.

    The COACHE survey instrument asks questions about the quantity, quality, and equitable distribution of their service work, as well as their institutions’ efforts to help faculty be service leaders and sustain their other commitments. In follow-up interviews with faculty and institutional leaders, a common refrain emerged: faculty are eager to participate not in more service, but in more meaningful service, and institutions must do better to engage and to reward those contributions.

    Benchmark Best Practices: Nature of Work: Research
    (2014). Benchmark Best Practices: Nature of Work: Research. Read the reportAbstract

    The COACHE surveys of college faculty produce data that are both salient to full-time college faculty and actionable by academic leaders. The survey items are aggregated into 20 benchmarks representing faculty satisfaction. This white paper discusses research, including the portion of faculty time spent on research, external funding, the influence faculty have over the focus of their research/scholarly/creative work, the availability of course release time, and institutional support. Faculty satisfaction with research is a function not just of the time faculty members have to commit to research, but of the clarity and consistency of institutional expectations for research productivity and the resources colleges and universities provide faculty to meet them.

    COACHE researchers interviewed leaders from member institutions whose faculty rated items in this theme exceptionally well. While several of the highest ratings were found at baccalaureate institutions, the lessons derived from our interviews with their leaders are transferrable to universities at the school-, college-, or division-level.

    Benchmark Best Practices: Mentoring
    (2014). Benchmark Best Practices: Mentoring. Read the reportAbstract

    The COACHE surveys of college faculty produce data that are both salient to full-time college faculty and actionable by academic leaders. The survey items are aggregated into 20 benchmarks representing faculty satisfaction. This white paper examines the effectiveness of mentoring within departments, outside departments but at the same institution, and outside the institution.

    Mentoring has always been important in the academic workplace. Only in recent years, however, has the practice evolved more widely from incidental to intentional as academic leaders have come to appreciate that mentorship is too valuable to be left to chance.

    Many pre-tenure faculty members feel mentoring is essential to their success, but such support is also instrumental for associate professors on their path to promotion. While some institutions rely on the mentor-protégé approach (a senior faculty member formally paired with a junior faculty member), new models encourage mutual mentoring, team mentoring, and strategic collaborations beyond the department.

    Benchmark Best Practices: Interdisciplinary Work & Collaboration
    (2014). Benchmark Best Practices: Interdisciplinary Work & Collaboration. Read the reportAbstract

    The COACHE surveys of college faculty produce data that are both salient to full-time college faculty and actionable by academic leaders. The survey items are aggregated into 20 benchmarks representing faculty satisfaction. This white paper examines collaboration—within departments, outside of departments but at the same institution, and outside the institution—and attitudes toward interdisciplinary work.

    While interest in interdisciplinary work has increased, and this type of work attracts many graduate students and early-career faculty, the academy has not yet fully embraced interdisciplinary work. Unchanged policies, structures and cultures are institutional disincentives, as they are still best-suited to narrower work within disciplines. This includes publication vehicles, multiple authors, peer review, and reward structures.

    Benchmark Best Practices: Department Engagement, Quality, and Collegiality
    (2014). Benchmark Best Practices: Department Engagement, Quality, and Collegiality. Read the reportAbstract

    The COACHE surveys of college faculty produce data that are both salient to full-time college faculty and actionable by academic leaders. The survey items are aggregated into 20 benchmarks representing faculty satisfaction. This white paper discusses departmental engagement, quality, and collegiality.

    Departmental quality is a function of the intellectual vitality of faculty, the scholarship that is produced, the effectiveness of teaching, how well the department recruits and retains excellent faculty, and whether and how poor faculty performance is handled. While many factors comprise faculty members’ sense of departmental collegiality, COACHE has discovered that faculty are especially cognizant of their “fit” among their colleagues, their personal interactions with colleagues, whether their colleagues “pitch in” when needed, and colleague support for work/life balance. There is no substitute for a collegial department when it comes to faculty satisfaction, and campus leaders—both faculty and administrators—can create opportunities for better informal engagement.

    Benchmark Best Practices: Departmental Leadership
    (2014). Benchmark Best Practices: Departmental Leadership. Read the reportAbstract

    The COACHE surveys of college faculty produce data that are both salient to full-time college faculty and actionable by academic leaders. The survey items are aggregated into 20 benchmarks representing faculty satisfaction. This white paper examines departmental leadership and faculty satisfaction with chairs’ or department heads’ pace of decision-making, stated priorities, and fairness in evaluating faculty work.

    COACHE’s 2010 pilot study of tenured faculty found that faculty desire from the administration a clearly articulated institutional mission and vision that do not change in ways that adversely affect faculty work. Faculty also wish for clear expectations for the mix of research, teaching, and service or outreach; support for research and teaching; and a sense that their work is valued. Deans and department chairs can improve faculty morale through communication, and particularly by involving faculty in meaningful decisions that affect them. Deans and chairs are also responsible for supporting faculty in adapting to any changes to mission and institutional priorities.

    Benchmark Best Practices: Appreciation & Recognition
    (2014). Benchmark Best Practices: Appreciation & Recognition . The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education. Read the reportAbstract

    The COACHE surveys of college faculty produce data that are both salient to full-time college faculty and actionable by academic leaders. The survey items are aggregated into 20 benchmarks representing faculty satisfaction. This white paper examines appreciation and recognition for faculty teaching efforts, student advising, scholarly/creative work, service contributions, and outreach.

    Focus group research conducted by COACHE showed that while many tenured faculty members feel valued by undergraduate and graduate students, they do not receive much recognition from other faculty and upper-level administrators. The degree to which appreciation/recognition themes appeared in our 2010 study of tenured faculty far surpassed their appearance in our pre-tenure faculty research. In our recent study, tenured faculty felt that extramural service that increases the reputation of their colleges, while expected of them, is not recognized and goes unrewarded. This gap between expectations and appreciation discouraged many faculty from serving their institutions in this way.

    Perspectives on Midcareer Faculty and Advice for Supporting Them
    Mathews, K. (2014). Perspectives on Midcareer Faculty and Advice for Supporting Them . Cambridge, Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education. Download the full textAbstract
    This 8-page white paper was produced for an invited presentation at the Association of Public Land-grant Universities' (APLU) Council on Academic Affairs Summer Meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The paper examines the experiences of midcareer faculty, who face an increased teaching load, greater expectations for service and advising, a more competitive market for grants, and the disappearance of mentoring programs that supported them as early-career faculty. The toll of these obligations is heavier on women and faculty of color. Institutions can address the challenges midcareer faculty face by designing orientations that cover the entire career, implementing career re-visioning programs, providing opportunities for re-engagement, and mentoring associate professors.
    To stay or not to stay: retention of Asian international faculty in STEM fields
    Lawrence, J. H., Celis, S., Kim, H. S., Lipson, S. K., & Tong, X. (2014). To stay or not to stay: retention of Asian international faculty in STEM fields. Higher Education , 67 (5), 511-531. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    The present study identifies characteristics of individuals and work settings that influence Asian international faculty members’ intentions to continue their employment in US research universities. Given the demand for researchers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (STEM), the higher rate of turnover among untenured faculty, and the replacement costs associated with turnover in STEM, the sample is limited to assistant professors employed in these areas. Multinomial regression analyses identified variables that “pull” and “push” uncertain faculty toward intentions to stay and leave their current institutions. The results suggest that faculty who are more satisfied with time available for research and those who express stronger organizational commitment are more likely to say they will stay. Those dissatisfied with the fairness of work evaluations and those who believe tenure decisions are not merit-based are more likely to say they will leave.

    Is the Tenure Process Fair? What Faculty Think
    Lawrence, J. H., Celis, S., & Ott, M. (2014). Is the Tenure Process Fair? What Faculty Think. The Journal of Higher Education , 85 (2), 155-188. Read the full articleAbstract

    A conceptual framework grounded on procedural justice theory was created to explain how judgments about the fairness of tenure decision-making evolved among faculty who had not yet undergone the review. The framework posits that faculty beliefs about fairness are influenced directly by their workplace experiences and both directly and indirectly by their socio-demographic characteristics.

    Structural equation modeling was used to assess the proposed effects with data from 2,247 pre-tenure assistant professors at 21 research universities. The results substantiate the importance of perceived campus and department conditions.

    Equitable treatment of junior faculty at the department level and effectiveness of feedback have the strongest relationships with beliefs about the equity of tenure decision-making. An individual’s sense of control during the process of constructing the tenure dossier predicts his or her judgments about the fairness of tenure reviews. Practical suggestions for campus leaders and implications for future research are discussed.

     

    Mathews, K. (2013). Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey Data Snapshots. Download the snapshotsAbstract

    These charts present data from the 2013 Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey, focusing on results across seven public universities. The charts represent the arithmetic mean, by academic area and by rank and tenure status, of select COACHE survey results. "NTT” faculty are full- time, non-tenure-track faculty. All items were rated by respondents on a five-point scale of satisfaction, agreement, etc. Thus, for example, faculty were asked not to report the number of courses they teach, but to rate their satisfaction with the number of courses they teach.

    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.

     

    Perry, M. (2013). An analysis of job satisfaction among Millennial faculty at southeastern colleges and universities. University of Florida. Read the dissertationAbstract

    Millennials will dominate the global workplace as the prominent generational cohort by 2020. This projection surfaces considerations for recruitment and succession planning within higher education.

    This study investigated how Millennials’ workplace preferences impact faculty job satisfaction. The research inquiry was launched utilizing institutional data from four-year public and private institutions in the Southeast to assess the relationship between overall job satisfaction and mentoring satisfaction, and to compare Millennial faculty job satisfaction to senior generations. The study uses Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey data.

    From the analysis of 9,496 faculty responses, the study produced statistically significant outcomes that addressed the research inquiry. The outcome of the investigation signals a strong correlation between the impacts of mentoring satisfaction and the overall job satisfaction of Millennial faculty. Pragmatic talent management and organizational development strategies are recommended to assist institutions in leveraging the power of the multi-generational workforce to attract and retain Millennial faculty.

    McCullough, E. E. (2013). Effects of generation on tenure-track faculty satisfaction. Western Carolina University. Read the dissertationAbstract

    The academy is generationally diversifying as Baby Boomer faculty members move into retirement and younger faculty enter the workforce. Understanding and addressing generational differences is increasingly important, as employees across a broad age range will be working together.

    This quantitative study explored the effects of generation on tenure-track faculty job satisfaction. Aside from obtaining a generational snapshot of tenure-track faculty, this study sought to determine if generation could predict job satisfaction indices. Multiple regression analyses were conducted on variables obtained from a pre-existing aggregated Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey dataset. Statistically significant demographic effects emerged in seven job satisfaction indices, but multiple regression results provided little evidence to suggest demographic variables, which have frequently been used to explain differences between groups, are strong predictors of tenure-track faculty satisfaction. These findings raise questions about the credibility of claims by generational practitioners and consultants and signify that more research is needed.

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