Higher Education Leadership

Prioritizing Responsibility as a New Provost
(2020). Prioritizing Responsibility as a New Provost. Download the case studyAbstract

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.

 

2019 Year in Review: The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education
(2020). 2019 Year in Review: The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education. Download the 2019 Year in ReviewAbstract

COACHE’s 2019 work focused on two types of faculty members: those who leave and those who lead. This work incorporated a larger number of faculty members than in 2018, with 41 colleges, universities, and specialized programs in the 2019 Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey cohort, a total of more than 28,000 faculty participants, and an average institutional response rate of 54 percent.

Institutional reports for the Faculty Retention and Exit Survey indicate why faculty leave—or remain—at their institutions, and where inequities arise in retention negotiations. COACHE’s work also examined how we define faculty leadership, and which faculty leaders—women and humanities faculty among them—are less likely to receive institutional support in sustaining other aspects of their work. 

2018 Year in Review: The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education
(2019). 2018 Year in Review: The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education. Download the reportAbstract

In 2018, the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education collaborated with the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education (HIHE) to launch the first ever Seminar on Leadership of the Faculty, a three-day workshop for academic leadership. An introduction between Harvard Club of New York, HIHE, and COACHE partners in the CUNY system led to a $100,000 grant for CUNY to invest in developing diverse faculty leadership. Data from the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey yielded an exploration of mid-career faculty, an ongoing pursuit to prevent mid-career malaise and provide support. The Faculty Retention and Exit Survey revealed the risk that a “counteroffer culture” poses to faculties’ home institutions during salary negotiations. Finally, an overhaul of our data dissemination process has made it easier for researchers to access our data in order to implement institutional changes.

 

Faculty Leadership and Institutional Resilience: Indicators, Promising Practices, and Key Questions
Norman, B. (2019). Faculty Leadership and Institutional Resilience: Indicators, Promising Practices, and Key Questions. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning , 51 (4), 48-54. Read the full studyAbstract

There is renewed interest in shared governance in American higher education. This evidence-based, exploratory study of faculty leadership identifies promising practices for shared stewardship and provides follow-up questions for senior leaders to assess the state of faculty leadership and shared governance on their own campuses. The findings are based on interviews with chief academic officers or faculty officers and chief elected faculty leaders at baccalaureate, masters, and research institutions identified as exemplars through the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey. The author argues for an expansive view of faculty leadership as a key component of institutional resilience.

2017 Year in Review: The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education
(2018). 2017 Year in Review: The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education. Read the year in reviewAbstract

In the 2016-2017 academic year, the Collaborative welcomed our largest and most diverse cohort of Faculty Job Satisfaction partners to date with over 60 higher education institutions—public and private, two- and four-year—joining our ranks. After a successful pilot, we launched the first ever multi-institutional study of Faculty Retention and Exit to 12 institutions nationwide in the spring and 22 in the fall. And to complement our survey offerings, we adapted our reporting platform to be more robust than ever, with additional race and ethnicity categories and academic area analyses.

 

Growing Our Own: Cultivating Faculty Leadership
Mathews, K. (2018). Growing Our Own: Cultivating Faculty Leadership. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning , 50 (3-4), 88-92. Read the full articleAbstract

To overcome the pressures pulling the academy apart, presidents and provosts, governing boards and legislatures, foundations and associations should commit to the cultivation of leadership from faculty members and by them. As the faculty profession and population become increasingly complex, leaders will need skills in relating, sensemaking, visioning, and inventing. A skills inventory conducted among provosts, deans, and senior faculty development administrators revealed that while most had strengths in the first two categories, their visioning and inventing skills were less developed. Institutions can cultivate these skills in faculty and invite faculty into the leadership process—and they must do so in order to effectively develop the faculties of the future.

Climate Change: Creating Space for Interdepartmental Problem Solving at Skidmore College
(2018). Climate Change: Creating Space for Interdepartmental Problem Solving at Skidmore College. Download the case studyAbstract

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.

 

Administrative Hierarchy and Faculty Work: Examining Faculty Satisfaction with Academic Leadership
Miller, M. T., Mamiseishvili, K., & Lee, D. (2016). Administrative Hierarchy and Faculty Work: Examining Faculty Satisfaction with Academic Leadership. Journal of Academic Administration in Higher Education , 12 (1), 1-7. Read the studyAbstract
Academic administrators at all levels have some impact on the performance of faculty members, yet each level of administration may interact differently with faculty. Literature has strongly supported the notion that department chairs, deans, and provosts can positively influence the performance and livelihood of faculty members. This study was designed to explore faculty satisfaction with each level of academic administration making use of the 2014 Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey data collected by the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education. Faculty members at research universities were more satisfied with leadership at the departmental than college or institutional levels. Furthermore, assistant professors were significantly more satisfied with academic leadership at all levels than both associate 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.
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.

Success on the Tenure Track: Five Keys to Faculty Job Satisfaction
Trower, C. (2012). Success on the Tenure Track: Five Keys to Faculty Job Satisfaction (pp. 288) . Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press. Read the full textAbstract

Landing a tenure-track position is no easy task. Achieving tenure is even more difficult. Under what policies and practices do faculty find greater clarity about tenure and experience higher levels of job satisfaction? What makes an institution a great place to work?

In 2005–2006, the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education surveyed more than 15,000 tenure-track faculty at 200 institutions. The survey was designed around five key themes: tenure clarity, work-life balance, support for research, collegiality, and leadership.

Success on the Tenure Track positions the survey data in the context of actual colleges and universities. Best practices at the highest-rated institutions in the survey—Auburn, Ohio State, North Carolina State, Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Iowa, Kansas, and North Carolina at Pembroke—give administrators practical, proven advice on increasing employee satisfaction. Additional chapters discuss faculty demographics, trends in employment practices, creating a great workplace for faculty, and the future of tenure.

 

Data, Leadership, and Catalyzing Culture Change
Benson, T., & Trower, C. (2012). Data, Leadership, and Catalyzing Culture Change. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning , 44 (4), 27-34. Read the articleAbstract

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.

 

A New Generation of Faculty: Similar Core Values in a Different World
Trower, C. (2010). A New Generation of Faculty: Similar Core Values in a Different World. Peer Review , 12 (3), 27-30. Read the articleAbstract

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.

Perspectives on What Pre-Tenure Faculty Want and What Six Research Universities Provide
Gallagher, A., & Trower, C. (2008). Perspectives on What Pre-Tenure Faculty Want and What Six Research Universities Provide . Cambridge, Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education. View the reportAbstract
COACHE released this report in conjunction with the Harvard University Office for Faculty Diversity & Development. It is the result of many months of mining and synthesizing the information collected from nearly 80 interviews with pre-tenure and tenured faculty, department chairs, and senior administrators at six COACHE member campuses. Much of what is contained in this report may be all too familiar to an experienced academic administrator, but it is the first time the experiences of early-career faculty and the faculty development policies of top-tier research universities have been assembled in one place.