Recruitment and Retention

(2017). Building a Better Exit Study: A National Effort to Understand Faculty Retention & Turnover. Watch the webinarAbstract

In 2016, COACHE partnered with the University of California System to pilot our newest undertaking -- the Faculty Retenion and Exit Survey. This survey is the only multi-institutional study of faculty retention and exit, and examines the costs, conduct, and causes of faculty turnover. 

In this webinar, Kiernan Mathews and Todd Benson describe how the survey came to be, and outline some of the initial findings from the pilot study along with some practical recommendations for Academic Affairs administrators. 

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.

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. 

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.


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.


Revealing Data on Faculty Retention & Departure
(2017). Revealing Data on Faculty Retention & Departure. Learn more about the dataAbstract

In 2017, after a successful pilot with several campuses of a large public university system, COACHE launched the Faculty Retention and Exit Survey nationwide. This study represents the first multi-institutional survey of faculty retentions (among those with outside offers) and departures. Until now, there was no coordinated effort for universities to develop a common understanding of the causes, costs, and conduct of faculty mobility.

Among the takeaways: More than half of faculty ranked salary as a secondary factor or not a factor in their decision to stay or leave. But 67% selected quality of colleagues as a compelling factor. The study also found that faculty are expected to cultivate outside offers before they can ask for a better deal at home, and that this requirement pushes them out the door: nearly 1 in 3 faculty who left originally sought the offer only to renegotiate the terms of their employment.

(2018). Success After Tenure: Lessons in Engaging Midcareer Faculty. Watch the webinarAbstract

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.

Victorino, C. A. (2012). Examining faculty satisfaction, productivity, and collegiality in higher education: Contemporary contexts and modern methods. University of California, Santa Barbara. Read the dissertationAbstract

In response to discourse surrounding faculty accountability and diversity, this dissertation describes three studies of faculty satisfaction, productivity, and collegiality in higher education. The studies employed advanced quantitative methods to analyze and interpret faculty data at four-year colleges and universities.

The first study revealed a strong, positive, and highly significant relationship between campus racial climate and faculty satisfaction at the individual level, regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, and tenure status. The second study identified five classes of faculty productivity with respect to gender, race, institutional type, and levels of faculty satisfaction.

The third study examined the relationships among faculty collegiality, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions. Significant findings indicated that faculty collegiality was strongly and positively related to job satisfaction and negatively related to turnover intentions, regardless of gender and race/ethnicity. Women faculty and faculty of color indicated lower levels of collegiality, and faculty of color reported lower job satisfaction and higher turnover intentions.


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.


Bruce, D. S. (2011). Intent to leave the professoriate: The relationship between race/ethnicity and job satisfaction for pre-tenured professors in doctorate-granting universities. University of Kansas. Read the dissertationAbstract

This study investigated pre-tenure faculty satisfaction and intent to leave their institution using 2005–2008 data from the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey. The purpose of this study is to identify salient variables influencing faculty of color retention and to explain the lack of progress in diversifying the professoriate by exploring the relationship between racial/ethnic group membership and pre-tenure faculty job satisfaction and the relationship these variables have with departure intentions. The study was limited to faculty working at doctorate-granting U.S. universities.

Results of the study suggest faculty of color are more likely to intend to leave their institutions than their White (non-Hispanic) counterparts. Specifically, the study's findings suggest satisfaction with tenure processes and procedures, teaching, advising, service, and research expectations, and collegiality negatively influenced departure intentions of pre-tenure faculty overall and for specific racial/ethnic groups. The study offers ideas for expanded research on pre-tenure faculty job satisfaction and intent to leave.

New Challenges, New Priorities: The Experience of Generation X Faculty
Helms, R. (2010). New Challenges, New Priorities: The Experience of Generation X Faculty . Cambridge, Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education. Read the studyAbstract

This study explores how Generation X (born 1964-1980) faculty are approaching their jobs, long-term careers, and work-life balance, and examines if and how the generational “clashes” reportedly arising in the workforce are being manifested in the academic environment. The study was designed to complement and build upon the coache Tenure-Track Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey by using qualitative interviews to explore many of the same themes in greater depth with a limited number of participants, and provide insights into how those themes play out in the day-to-day lives of individual faculty members. While the survey provides a snapshot of how tenure-track faculty are feeling about their current job situation, this study examines the broader context of faculty members’ long-term careers, and the interplay between their work and non-work lives.

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.  
What do new scholars want?
Trower, C. (2006). What do new scholars want? In Faculty Career Paths: Multiple Routes to Academic Success and Satisfaction (ACE/Praeger Series on Higher Education) . Bataille, G., & Brown, B., Eds. Westport, CT: Praeger. Read the chapterAbstract
Changing demographics and a new emphasis on economic development, internationalization, and technology, are changing the ways in which university faculty conduct their work. University and college administrators need to be prepared to recruit, hire, and retain new faculty for this new world, and this book is designed to help. In addition to providing a wealth of data about the faculty of the future, it offers practical advice from the authors, and from a number of expert contributors, on recruiting and retaining new faculty while providing a supportive environment for senior faculty during a period of growth in higher education.
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.

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.