Research

Analyzing both survey data and institutional practice, COACHE has amassed a body of knowledge to serve both the scholarly and practitioner communities which we seek to connect.

Infographic

Recognizing Faculty with Disabilities: Data and Considerations from the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey

Drawing upon Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey data from 2019 and 2020, this piece examines meaningful differences in perception of the academic workplace between faculty with visible disabilities, invisible disabilities, and no reported disabilities.

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Case Study

Supporting the Next Generation of Faculty at Georgia State University

In this partner spotlight, Georgia State University shares how the institution applied its data-driven approach to student success to the faculty experience through the administration and rollout of the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey. 

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Webinar

Success After Tenure: Lessons in Engaging Mid-Career Faculty

Based on the 2018 book, Success After Tenure: Supporting Mid-Career Faculty (Stylus), this webinar highlights the impetus behind compiling the volume, as well as the successful practices put in place by COACHE partners at Rochester Institute of Technology. 

 

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Data Requests

Review COACHE's datasets and submit data request application

Browse Resources By Topic

Benchmark Best Practices: Department Engagement, Quality, and Collegiality

Benchmark Best Practices: Department Engagement, Quality, and Collegiality

Abstract:

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.

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Last updated on 10/21/2020

Benchmark Best Practices: Appreciation & Recognition

Citation:

(2014). Benchmark Best Practices: Appreciation & Recognition . The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education.
Benchmark Best Practices: Appreciation & Recognition

Abstract:

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.

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Last updated on 10/21/2020

Perspectives on Midcareer Faculty and Advice for Supporting Them

Citation:

Mathews, K. (2014). Perspectives on Midcareer Faculty and Advice for Supporting Them . Cambridge, Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education.
Perspectives on Midcareer Faculty and Advice for Supporting Them

Abstract:

This 8-page white paper was produced for an invited presentation at the Association of Public Land-grant Universities' (APLU) Council on Academic Affairs Summer Meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The paper examines the experiences of midcareer faculty, who face an increased teaching load, greater expectations for service and advising, a more competitive market for grants, and the disappearance of mentoring programs that supported them as early-career faculty. The toll of these obligations is heavier on women and faculty of color. Institutions can address the challenges midcareer faculty face by designing orientations that cover the entire career, implementing career re-visioning programs, providing opportunities for re-engagement, and mentoring associate professors.

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Last updated on 10/09/2020

New Challenges, New Priorities: The Experience of Generation X Faculty

Citation:

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

Abstract:

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.

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Last updated on 10/21/2020

A New Generation of Faculty: Similar Core Values in a Different World

A New Generation of Faculty: Similar Core Values in a Different World

Abstract:

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.

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Last updated on 10/16/2020

Stress in senior faculty careers

Citation:

Russell, B. C. (2010). Stress in senior faculty careers. New Directions For Higher Education , 151, 61-70.
Stress in senior faculty careers

Abstract:

According to the Carnegie Foundation, faculty job satisfaction has declined drastically over the past few decades at institutions of higher education (Shuster and Finkelstein, 2006). Researchers have also found that faculty satisfaction is critical to the vitality of colleges and universities (Clark, Corcoran, and Lewis, 1986; Farrell, 1983). Senior faculty members, defined here as those who have tenure, can significantly impact institutional vitality because they make up 50 percent of the professoriate (U.S. Department of Education, 2008). In addition, a recent study suggests that one disengaged senior faculty member can significantly damage an entire academic unit (Huston, Norman, and Ambrose, 2007). What factors affect senior faculty retention and attrition at institutions of higher education? I begin the following chapter by analyzing the most common factors presented in the literature. I then argue that institutions must consider the particular needs of their senior faculty members and be willing to make change(s) to retain them.

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Last updated on 10/21/2020

The Experience of Tenure-Track Faculty at Research Universities: Analysis of COACHE Survey Results by Academic Area and Gender

Abstract:

The COACHE Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey is organized around five themes: tenure, nature of the work, policies and practices, climate, culture, and collegiality, and global satisfaction. This analysis looks at survey data for pre-tenure faculty at research universities. In particular, the analysis examined gender differences across twelve academic areas. Mean scores for each of the 83 survey dimension were ranked across all 12 academic areas.

Last updated on 10/14/2020

Toward a Greater Understanding of the Tenure Track for Minorities

Citation:

Trower, C. (2009). Toward a Greater Understanding of the Tenure Track for Minorities. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning , 41 (5), 38-45.
Toward a Greater Understanding of the Tenure Track for Minorities

Abstract:

To understand life on the tenure track, the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) conducts an annual Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey. Through surveys and in focus groups and interviews, hundreds of tenure-track faculty members share what affects their workplace satisfaction and, ultimately, their success. The clarity and reasonableness of the criteria and standards for achieving tenure, institutional and support for teaching and research, the effectiveness of workplace policies and practices, departmental climate and collegiality, and work/life balance are among the issues addressed. In 2009, for the first time, COACHE collected enough faculty respondents who self-identified in each racial and ethnic category, in proportions similar to their representation in the faculty population nationally, to look at each group separately. An examination of the different groups' experiences of faculty life is important to the welfare of students. This article presents a series of commonly asked questions about the COACHE research.

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Last updated on 10/16/2020

Young Faculty and their Impact on Academe

Citation:

Trower, C. (2008). Young Faculty and their Impact on Academe. In Generational Shockwaves and the Implications for Higher Education . Heller, D. & D'Ambrosio, M., Eds. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.
Young Faculty and their Impact on Academe

Abstract:

Every generation blames the one before. And all of their frustrations come beating on your door. (Song lyrics “The Living Years,” 1988 Mike & The Mechanics)

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it. (George Orwell, author)

Each generation must recreate liberty for its own times. (Florence E. Allen, Federal Judge)

Each new generation is a fresh invasion of savages. (Hervey Allen, poet)*

Whichever quote you prefer, there’s plenty here to make us stop and think about the generations: blame, imagined superiority, recreation of liberty, and savagery! This is juicy stuff and it is not just fodder for good songs and great quotes; these themes are playing themselves out in the hallowed halls of academe.

Because I agree with C. Stone Brown (2005) who wrote, “it’s counterproductive to judge generational differences as a right way or a wrong way of doing tasks or learning, because there are differences in how generations feel about work, learn new tasks, and process information” (p. 30), the purpose of this chapter is to: highlight the values that shaped the policies and practices composed by the Lost Generation (born 1883–1900), which worked well for the GI (1901–24), Silent (1925–42) and Baby Boom (1943–60) Generations, which do not work so well for the 13th Generation (referred to throughout this chapter as Generation X or Gen X (1961–81).

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 10/21/2020

Browse Resources by Faculty Type

Young Faculty and their Impact on Academe

Citation:

Trower, C. (2008). Young Faculty and their Impact on Academe. In Generational Shockwaves and the Implications for Higher Education . Heller, D. & D'Ambrosio, M., Eds. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.
Young Faculty and their Impact on Academe

Abstract:

Every generation blames the one before. And all of their frustrations come beating on your door. (Song lyrics “The Living Years,” 1988 Mike & The Mechanics)

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it. (George Orwell, author)

Each generation must recreate liberty for its own times. (Florence E. Allen, Federal Judge)

Each new generation is a fresh invasion of savages. (Hervey Allen, poet)*

Whichever quote you prefer, there’s plenty here to make us stop and think about the generations: blame, imagined superiority, recreation of liberty, and savagery! This is juicy stuff and it is not just fodder for good songs and great quotes; these themes are playing themselves out in the hallowed halls of academe.

Because I agree with C. Stone Brown (2005) who wrote, “it’s counterproductive to judge generational differences as a right way or a wrong way of doing tasks or learning, because there are differences in how generations feel about work, learn new tasks, and process information” (p. 30), the purpose of this chapter is to: highlight the values that shaped the policies and practices composed by the Lost Generation (born 1883–1900), which worked well for the GI (1901–24), Silent (1925–42) and Baby Boom (1943–60) Generations, which do not work so well for the 13th Generation (referred to throughout this chapter as Generation X or Gen X (1961–81).

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 10/21/2020

Socrates, Thoreau and the Status Quo

Citation:

Trower, C. (2006). Socrates, Thoreau and the Status Quo. In The New Balancing Act in the Business of Higher Education . Clark, R. L., & D'Ambrosio, M., Eds. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.
Socrates, Thoreau and the Status Quo

Abstract:

Universities are structured in a way that makes it almost impossible to deviate from the status quo, and the market gives them little incentive to change. Cathy A. Trower argues for a new model of higher education in which the focus is on inventing the future rather than on maintaining the traditions of the past, tenure decisions are made based on teaching and community involvement as well as research, and shared governance leads to constructive decision-making.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 11/06/2020

What do new scholars want?

Citation:

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.
What do new scholars want?

Abstract:

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.

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Last updated on 10/21/2020
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Socrates, Thoreau and the Status Quo

Citation:

Trower, C. (2006). Socrates, Thoreau and the Status Quo. In The New Balancing Act in the Business of Higher Education . Clark, R. L., & D'Ambrosio, M., Eds. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.
Socrates, Thoreau and the Status Quo

Abstract:

Universities are structured in a way that makes it almost impossible to deviate from the status quo, and the market gives them little incentive to change. Cathy A. Trower argues for a new model of higher education in which the focus is on inventing the future rather than on maintaining the traditions of the past, tenure decisions are made based on teaching and community involvement as well as research, and shared governance leads to constructive decision-making.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 11/06/2020
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Engineering a place for women: A study of how departmental climate influences the career satisfaction of female mechanical engineering faculty members

Thesis Type:

Dissertation

Abstract:

The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to better understand how female mechanical engineering faculty members’ career experiences in academia affect their satisfaction. The research considered differences in satisfaction reported by female and male mechanical engineering faculty members in terms of departmental climate, nature of work, resource allocations, departmental policies/practices, and overall satisfaction.

The study compared the levels of satisfaction reported in survey data collected through the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey from 2005-2010. A subset of the survey participants was interviewed to gain nuanced descriptions of faculty member worklife. 

This study identified the role of gendered divisions of labor, gendered divisions of allowed behavior, gendered symbols, and gendered interactions as reasons why female mechanical engineering faculty members are less satisfied with employment in academia than their male colleagues. Recommendations for how mechanical engineering leadership can improve the climate in the department include transparency in decision-making and encouraging senior faculty members to engage in constructive, collaborative research conversations with junior faculty members.

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Last updated on 10/14/2020

Examining faculty satisfaction, productivity, and collegiality in higher education: Contemporary contexts and modern methods

Thesis Type:

Dissertation

Abstract:

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.

 

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Last updated on 10/21/2020

Family policies and institutional satisfaction: An intersectional analysis of tenure-track faculty

Thesis Type:

Dissertation

Abstract:

Guided by an intersectional perspective, this study compares responses to the 2008 and 2009 Tenure-Track Faculty Job Satisfaction survey provided by four groups of faculty: African American women, African American men as well as white women and white men. The study examines faculty perceptions regarding the importance of family policies as related to career success, the effectiveness of family policies at the institution, and the level of satisfaction with work-life balance. The findings indicate that there are significant differences in policy perceptions and work-life satisfaction. African American women overwhelmingly indicate that eldercare policy is important to career success, while white women are more concerned with childcare policy. Significant group differences emerge in faculty assessment of childcare policy. The analysis reveals institutional-level support for care work influences overall satisfaction with the institution more than departmental support. The findings suggest care work still matters in relation to a faculty member's career advancement.

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Last updated on 10/21/2020

Browse Resources by Type

Does the environment matter? Faculty satisfaction at 4-year colleges and universities in the USA

Does the environment matter? Faculty satisfaction at 4-year colleges and universities in the USA

Abstract:

Faculty members seek employment in an environment that offers good fit and work satisfaction. This study examined faculty satisfaction by institution type (baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral, and research) for recent full-time faculty members in 100 4-year institutions in the United States.

Analysis of the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey showed that respondents in baccalaureate colleges reported the highest satisfaction. Subsequent analyses to examine strength of difference across institutional type confirmed initial differences for some facets of satisfaction, but not for others. Results showed that faculty perceptions of the institutional environment firmly contribute to their satisfaction. The authors discuss the implications of their findings for policies and programs.

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Last updated on 10/15/2020

Faculty Leadership and Institutional Resilience: Indicators, Promising Practices, and Key Questions

Citation:

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

Abstract:

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.

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Last updated on 10/07/2020

The Academic Environment and Faculty Well-Being: The Role of Psychological Needs

Citation:

Larson, L. M., Seipel, M. T., Shelley, M. C., Gahn, S. W., Ko, S. Y., Schenkenfelder, M., Rover, D. T., et al. (2019). The Academic Environment and Faculty Well-Being: The Role of Psychological Needs. Journal of Career Assessment , 27 (1), 167-182.
The Academic Environment and Faculty Well-Being: The Role of Psychological Needs

Abstract:

In response to recent research on the well-being of higher education faculty, which has lacked a theoretical model, this study used self-determination theory to model the well-being of 581 tenured and tenure-eligible faculty members at a large midwestern university. The study looked at the relationships between environmental factors (e.g., administrative support, research support, promotion and tenure support) and faculty well-being (i.e., teaching/service satisfaction and global satisfaction), hypothesizing that volitional autonomy, perceived competence, and perceived relatedness would partially mediate these relationships. Results of path analysis indicated that all relations between the environment and teaching/service satisfaction were fully mediated by volitional autonomy and perceived competence, whereas all relations between the environment and global satisfaction were partially mediated by perceived relatedness. These findings highlight that psychological needs are central in understanding the relations between the environment and faculty well-being. The study discusses additional implications and future directions for research.

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Last updated on 10/07/2020

Highlights Report 2008: Selected Results from the COACHE Tenure-Track Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey

Highlights Report 2008: Selected Results from the COACHE Tenure-Track Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey

Abstract:

The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education provides academic leaders with peer data to monitor and improve work satisfaction among full-time, tenure-track faculty. More than 130 four-year colleges and universities have joined COACHE to enhance the quality of life for pre-tenure faculty and to enhance their ability to recruit, retain, and develop those faculty. The core element of COACHE is the Tenure-Track Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey. We now have job satisfaction data on over 8,000 pre-tenure faculty.

The COACHE Survey assesses faculty experiences in several areas: clarity and reasonableness of tenure processes and review; workload and support for teaching and research; importance and effectiveness of policies and practices; and climate, culture and collegiality on campus.

This COACHE Highlights Report complements the Institutional Report with an overview of results across all COACHE sites in the 2005-06, 2006-07, and 2007-08 cohorts. This year’s Report provides results disaggregated by race/ethnicity; by university control; and by gender.

 

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Last updated on 10/21/2020

COACHE Benchmark Exemplars, 2005-07

COACHE Benchmark Exemplars, 2005-07

Abstract:

While the majority of junior faculty at America’s colleges and universities are satisfied at work, some institutions are doing particularly well in this regard. The Tenure-Track Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey, administered by the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) in 2005 and 2006, determined that some colleges and universities are “exemplary” on certain key dimensions of faculty work/life.  The COACHE Survey considered the following categories in its assessment: tenure practices, clarity, and reasonableness; effectiveness of key policies (e.g., mentoring, childcare, and leaves); nature of work: teaching, research and support services; work and family balance; satisfaction with compensation; climate, culture, and collegiality; and global satisfaction.

“We are again recognizing those colleges and universities that are succeeding in their efforts to improve the quality of work/life for their junior faculty,” said Dr. Cathy Trower, COACHE Director.  “By earning and maintaining the distinction of being a great place for new scholars to work, these exemplary institutions will be most able to attract and retain top academic talent in an increasingly competitive faculty labor market.”

 

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Last updated on 10/21/2020
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Benchmark Best Practices: Nature of Work: Teaching

Benchmark Best Practices: Nature of Work: Teaching

Abstract:

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.

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Last updated on 10/21/2020

Benchmark Best Practices: Nature of Work: Service

Benchmark Best Practices: Nature of Work: Service

Abstract:

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.

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Last updated on 10/21/2020

Benchmark Best Practices: Nature of Work: Research

Benchmark Best Practices: Nature of Work: Research

Abstract:

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.

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Last updated on 10/21/2020