Faculty Development and Support

(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. 

(2019). Assessing the Needs of Part-Time Faculty: Lessons Learned from the University at Buffalo. View the webinar recordingAbstract

According to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), approximately 40% of all faculty across all institutional types are now part-time. This subset of adjunct faculty is fulfilling a critical role in the higher education landscape, yet the variability of these appointments makes it exceedingly difficult to assess their needs and, ultimately, provide adequate support.

In 2017, COACHE partners at the University at Buffalo set out to address this knowledge gap by adapting the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey to suit the needs of their part-time faculty. In this webinar, Robert Granfield and Tilman Baumstark will share the challenges faced and lessons learned, both from their methodology and from their faculty, throughout this endeavor.

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: 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.

Recognizing Faculty with Disabilities: Data and Considerations from the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey
(2020). Recognizing Faculty with Disabilities: Data and Considerations from the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey. Download the infographicAbstract
In 2019, COACHE added a series of questions about disability status to our flagship Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey. Two years of data were examined to understand how faculty's experience of the academic workplace might vary depending on their disability type and disclosure status. Review the infographic below to understand how attitudes and disclosure differ across types of disabilities and how administration can create inclusive policies to address these key insights. Click here for an accessible version of the document
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.

 

(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.

AAC&U 2020 Annual Meeting: Four Faculty-Focused Tracks Through the Agenda

COACHE research on the professoriate is shaping the future of higher education leadership, so we are eager to attend next week’s annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges & Universities, “Shaping the Future of Higher Education: An Invitation to Lead.” While the program is characteristically overflowing with opportunities to learn and to network, we have identified four tracks through the January 22-25 schedule where we expect...

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