New Reports from COACHE Direct College Leaders to Understand, Support Faculty Workplace

May 21, 2014

A new series of nine white papers released to members this week by the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) offers examples from seventeen colleges and universities whose faculty indicated exceptionally high levels of satisfaction across one or more themes of the organization’s survey benchmarks. 

The universities and colleges featured in these benchmark reports are: Binghamton University (SUNY); Christopher Newport University; Fayetteville State University; Hamilton College; College of the Holy Cross; Hobart & William Smith Colleges; Kenyon College; Loyola University Maryland; Middlebury College; North Carolina State University; Stonehill College; State University of New York at Plattsburgh; Tulane University; University at Buffalo (SUNY); University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; University of North Carolina at Pembroke; and the University of St. Thomas.

Through the white papers, faculty leaders and academic affairs administrators can learn how to foster collaboration, enhance campus culture and climate, and improve faculty satisfaction with their workplace.  “While COACHE previously released lists of exemplary colleges, the provosts and faculty in our project just haven’t had the time to investigate what explains others’ success,” said Kiernan Mathews, Director and Principal Investigator of COACHE. “So, we developed these thematic reports to get them started more quickly on the path to workplace improvement.”

Data from COACHE’s Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey revealed promising practices from a mix of private and public institutions of varying missions and financial resources. Researchers at COACHE then interviewed key stakeholders about survey findings regarding leadership, mentoring, research, teaching, institutional service, appreciation and recognition, and departmental engagement and quality.

“COACHE isn’t in the rankings business,” explained Dr. Mathews. “We are primarily a research enterprise with a mission to help colleges better recruit, support, and advance faculty.” He continued, “We help institutions make meaning out of their data, and this qualitative follow-up is illustrative and instructive by showcasing what it means to excel in the areas that cultivate faculty success.” 

Dr. Mathews added, “We also hope also that these white papers will help those on the faculty job market to ask better questions of their prospective employers and to find the right fit.”

The nine reports, called “Benchmark Best Practices,” are all immediately available at no cost to COACHE member institutions.