While tenure-track faculty may want the same things as their predecessors, younger Boomers (born 1956-1963) and Gen X faculty live and work in a very different world than older Boomers (born 1946-1955) and Traditionalists (born before 1946). Because of this, Gen Xers, in particular, have been vocal about wanting increased flexibility, greater integration of their work and home lives, more transparency of tenure and promotion processes, a more welcoming, diverse, and supportive workplace/department, and more frequent and helpful feedback about progress.
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.
The purpose of this study was to explore how tenure procedures at institutions of higher education, workload, confidence in support of teaching and research objectives, climate, culture, collegiality and salary affect job satisfaction of tenure track faculty. The study compares three cohort groups of tenure-track faculty from over eighty institutions of higher education in the United States.
This study has observed differences in the constructs that make up tenure track faculty job satisfaction across different types of institutions. This study enhances the institutional component of Johnsrud and Rosser’s research because it used data that was collected more recently and focuses only on tenure track faculty. Additionally, it adds to the literature currently published by COACHE, which has been primarily descriptive in nature, by predicting what sets of variables contribute more predominantly to tenure track job satisfaction. The study observed differences in both the way that Johnsrud, Johnsrud, and Heck, Rosser and COACHE portray tenure track faculty job satisfaction.
To understand life on the tenure track, the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) conducts an annual Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey. Through surveys and in focus groups and interviews, hundreds of tenure-track faculty members share what affects their workplace satisfaction and, ultimately, their success. The clarity and reasonableness of the criteria and standards for achieving tenure, institutional and support for teaching and research, the effectiveness of workplace policies and practices, departmental climate and collegiality, and work/life balance are among the issues addressed. In 2009, for the first time, COACHE collected enough faculty respondents who self-identified in each racial and ethnic category, in proportions similar to their representation in the faculty population nationally, to look at each group separately. An examination of the different groups' experiences of faculty life is important to the welfare of students. This article presents a series of commonly asked questions about the COACHE research.
The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education provides academic leaders with peer data to monitor and improve work satisfaction among full-time, tenure-track faculty. More than 130 four-year colleges and universities have joined COACHE to enhance the quality of life for pre-tenure faculty and to enhance their ability to recruit, retain, and develop those faculty. The core element of COACHE is the Tenure-Track Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey. We now have job satisfaction data on over 8,000 pre-tenure faculty.
The COACHE Survey assesses faculty experiences in several areas: clarity and reasonableness of tenure processes and review; workload and support for teaching and research; importance and effectiveness of policies and practices; and climate, culture and collegiality on campus.
This COACHE Highlights Report complements the Institutional Report with an overview of results across all COACHE sites in the 2005-06, 2006-07, and 2007-08 cohorts. This year’s Report provides results disaggregated by race/ethnicity; by university control; and by gender.
Every generation blames the one before. And all of their frustrations come beating on your door. (Song lyrics “The Living Years,” 1988 Mike & The Mechanics)
Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it. (George Orwell, author)
Each generation must recreate liberty for its own times. (Florence E. Allen, Federal Judge)
Each new generation is a fresh invasion of savages. (Hervey Allen, poet)*
Whichever quote you prefer, there’s plenty here to make us stop and think about the generations: blame, imagined superiority, recreation of liberty, and savagery! This is juicy stuﬀ and it is not just fodder for good songs and great quotes; these themes are playing themselves out in the hallowed halls of academe.
Because I agree with C. Stone Brown (2005) who wrote, “it’s counterproductive to judge generational diﬀerences as a right way or a wrong way of doing tasks or learning, because there are diﬀerences in how generations feel about work, learn new tasks, and process information” (p. 30), the purpose of this chapter is to: highlight the values that shaped the policies and practices composed by the Lost Generation (born 1883–1900), which worked well for the GI (1901–24), Silent (1925–42) and Baby Boom (1943–60) Generations, which do not work so well for the 13th Generation (referred to throughout this chapter as Generation X or Gen X (1961–81).
While the majority of junior faculty at America’s colleges and universities are satisfied at work, some institutions are doing particularly well in this regard. The Tenure-Track Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey, administered by the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) in 2005 and 2006, determined that some colleges and universities are “exemplary” on certain key dimensions of faculty work/life. The COACHE Survey considered the following categories in its assessment: tenure practices, clarity, and reasonableness; effectiveness of key policies (e.g., mentoring, childcare, and leaves); nature of work: teaching, research and support services; work and family balance; satisfaction with compensation; climate, culture, and collegiality; and global satisfaction.
“We are again recognizing those colleges and universities that are succeeding in their efforts to improve the quality of work/life for their junior faculty,” said Dr. Cathy Trower, COACHE Director. “By earning and maintaining the distinction of being a great place for new scholars to work, these exemplary institutions will be most able to attract and retain top academic talent in an increasingly competitive faculty labor market.”
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.