Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey

Through over a decade of collaboration with senior faculty administrators, COACHE has a unique understanding of faculty needs and the intricacies of life in higher education. Based on scholarly literature, interviews with faculty, and focus groups with senior academic administrators, our Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey was crafted by and for academic affairs leaders. 

    Faculty Insights

    Gain valuable insights through a customized, adaptive report that includes thoughtful data segmentation out of the box. 


    Benchmark your faculty's experience of the academic workplace within both internal and national contexts.

    Compare to Peers

    Compare your data against a self-selected group of peer institutions, as well as our pool of national results.

    Survey Themes

    The Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey themes have been carefully curated based on research and ability to effect change. These themes include:

    Nature of Work: Research

    Faculty satisfaction with research is a function not just of the time faculty members have to commit to research, but importantly, of the clarity and consistency of institutional expectations for research productivity and the resources colleges and universities provide faculty to meet them. Our instrument invites faculty to assess the environmental qualities conducive to research productivity with questions designed to be agnostic on institutional type and research area.

    Nature of Work: Teaching

    The challenge for every faculty member is to strike a balance between institutional expectations for teaching and the time and ability available to invest in it. Dissatisfaction can occur when expectations for teaching are unreasonable or contrary to what faculty were promised at the point of hire, when institutional support is lacking, or when the distribution of work is inequitable.

    Nature of Work: Service

    Tenured faculty often express dissatisfaction with their service work: too many committees doing, too many reports sitting unread, and too many faculty picking up the slack of those who somehow evade service commitments. Meanwhile, institutions are often encouraged to "protect" pre-tenure faculty from too many time commitments.

    Our instrument invites faculty to explore tensions between institutional expectations for service and the recognition it receives in faculty evaluations through 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 while sustaining their other commitments.

    Resources & Support

    Within this module, our instrument delves into the themes of facilities and support, personal and family policies, and benefits. Our instrument surveys respondents on their views with regard to the physical workplace, technological and administrative support, work-family balance policies, and health and retirement benefits.

    Interdisciplinary Work, Collaboration, & Mentoring

    There is a great deal for institutions to gain by embracing interdisciplinary and collaborative work. There has been widespread growth in research collaboration within and between institutions and with off-campus partners, public and private funding for interdisciplinary research has increased, and this type of work attracts many graduate students and early-career faculty. Mentoring on the other hand has always been important in the academic workplace, but has only recently evolved into an intentional practice.

    This survey module serves as a clear barometer of how new and evolving policies in this arena are affecting the faculty experience.

    Tenure & Promotion

    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, and the satisfaction of their faculty, without sacrificing rigor. In this module, our instrument sheds insight into the clarity and quality of policies surrounding tenure and promotion.

    Institutional Leadership

    Academic leaders--especially the provost, dean, and department chair--play critical roles in shaping the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of faculty members. By providing clear and guided questions on this matter, respondents are given the opportunity to openly and honestly express their views within a structured framework.

    Shared Governance

    "Shared governance" means something different to each group on a college campus. Whatever the definition, we know that governance is working when faculty, administrators, and other stakeholders listen respectfully to different perspectives and then work together to make decisions aligned with their shared understanding of their institution's best interests.

    Our instrument draws specific attention to the faculty's own communication and decision-making structures, on the culture among faculty, and on the working interactions between faculty leaders and senior administrators.

    Department Engagement, Quality, & Collegiality

    Faculty are employed by institutions, but they spend most of their time in departments, where culture has perhaps the greatest influence on faculty satisfaction and morale. Our survey instrument highlights three broad areas in which faculty judge the departments in which they work: engagement, quality, and collegiality.

    Appreciation & Recognition

    Faculty, at all ranks, are just like other employees when it comes to wanting to be appreciated by colleagues and recognized for doing good work. COACHE incorporates levers of appreciation and recognition unique to the faculty experience in order to deliver relevant results.

    Retention & Negotiation

    Research on the professoriate confirms: the academy's culture of requiring faculty to seek external offers in order to renegotiate the terms of their employment actually pushes them toward accepting a position elsewhere (O'Meara, 2015). This survey module captures (a) what faculty most wish to change about the nature of their employment (and whether those wishes differ by gender, rank, tenure status, etc.); and (b) the extent to which your institution is, in the next five years, likely to lose or push away pre-tenure or tenured faculty.
    We also offer an optional module for medical faculty, as well as the ability to incorporate up to 15 custom questions.

    Participation At-a-Glance

    We are dedicated to helping our partners make meaning from their results, and enact data-driven policy changes on their campus. For this reason, participation in the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey entails a three-year partnership with COACHE. Over the course of those three years, your institution will receive a survey and diagnostic report, along with regular consultations to senior academic leaders on how to make meaning and take action from the data. Enrollment in COACHE is open to all two- and four-year colleges, universities, and state systems.

    The typical administration period for the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey runs from early February through early April. The survey is administered only once in a given year. Enrollment for a given year's survey cohort is open from January - November of the year preceeding survey administration (e.g. Jan '21 - Nov. '21 for a Feb. '22 administration).

    Cost to Participate

    Research Universities

    $25,000 + $20 per FT faculty record (inclusive of non-tenure track faculty). Per record fees will be capped at $25,000. 

    Masters Universities

    $20,000 + $20 per FT faculty record (inclusive of non-tenure track faculty). Per record fees will be capped at $30,000. 

    Baccalaureate Colleges & Specialized Institutions

    $15,000 + $20 per FT faculty record (inclusive of non-tenure track faculty)

    Community Colleges

    $10,000 + $20 per FT faculty record (inclusive of non-tenure track faculty).

    Historically Black Colleges & Universities

    The base fee for participation is $4,900 for the entirety of the three-year partnership. 

    State Systems and Consortia

    Pricing for systems and consortia varies by institutional makeup and participation. To request a quote, please email us at coache@gse.harvard.edu

    Supplemental Fees

    Custom Questions

    Append the survey with up to 15 additional questions. $250 per question.

    Pass-Through Variables

    Include additional faculty record-level variable information in the Population File, and COACHE will return it in the data file. $100 per variable; five maximum.

    Medical School Report

    Opt to include a medical school, if applicable. Medical schools will receive separate data tables, including comparison data from other institutions as available, and are not included in the primary Report. Medical school faculty will be included in the Per Record Fee calculation as noted above. $7,500 for medical school report.

    clemson quote