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

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Browse Resources By Topic

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

The workplace satisfaction of newly-tenured faculty members at research universities

Thesis Type:

Dissertation

Abstract:

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.

 

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Last updated on 10/14/2020

Success on the Tenure Track: Five Keys to Faculty Job Satisfaction

Citation:

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

Abstract:

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.

 

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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

Perspectives on What Pre-Tenure Faculty Want and What Six Research Universities Provide

Citation:

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.
Perspectives on What Pre-Tenure Faculty Want and What Six Research Universities Provide

Abstract:

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.  

View the report

Last updated on 10/21/2020

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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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.

Read the chapter

Last updated on 10/21/2020
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Browse Resources by Faculty Type

Browse Resources by Type

Faculty Perceptions of Work-Life Balance: The Role of Marital/Relationship and Family Status

Faculty Perceptions of Work-Life Balance: The Role of Marital/Relationship and Family Status

Abstract:

This study examined correlates of work-life balance perceptions for faculty from various marital/relationship and family statuses using data from the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey. We found lower work-life balance among single (rather than married/partnered) faculty. These findings call for colleges and universities to directly address the work-life struggles of single faculty members with and without children. Our findings also underscore the importance of institutional support for making personal/family obligations and an academic career compatible for all faculty.

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Last updated on 01/12/2021

Non-Tenure Track Faculty Satisfaction: A Self-Determination Model

Citation:

Crick, K. A., Larson, L. M., & Seipel, M. T. (2019). Non-Tenure Track Faculty Satisfaction: A Self-Determination Model. Journal of Career Assessment , 28 (3), 425-445.
Non-Tenure Track Faculty Satisfaction: A Self-Determination Model

Abstract:

Full-time non-tenure track faculty, commonly referred to as NTT faculty, shoulder much of the teaching load within academic institutions. Self-determination theory (SDT) has shown promise as a conceptual frame for characterizing the relationship between environmental support factors and NTT faculty satisfaction. Full-time NTT faculty were sampled nationwide to investigate an SDT-based model positing basic psychological needs (i.e., volitional autonomy and relatedness) as mediators between six environmental support indices and NTT faculty satisfaction. Structural equation model results showed volitional autonomy and relatedness fully mediated the relationships between the six environmental supports and both indices of faculty satisfaction. 

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Last updated on 11/18/2020

Work–Family Balance and Tenure Reasonableness: Gender Differences in Faculty Assessment

Citation:

Lisnic, R., Zajicek, A., & Kerr, B. (2019). Work–Family Balance and Tenure Reasonableness: Gender Differences in Faculty Assessment. Sociological Spectrum , 39 (5), 340-358.
Work–Family Balance and Tenure Reasonableness: Gender Differences in Faculty Assessment

Abstract:

Perceptions of work–family balance and of the reasonableness of tenure expectations are key faculty retention factors. Using the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey, which includes data from 2,438 tenure-track assistant professors, Rodica Lisnic, Anna Zajicek, and Brinck Kerr explore whether faculty assessment of departmental and institutional support for family influences their perceptions of the reasonableness of tenure expectations.

Results reveal that women are less likely than men to report tenure expectations as scholars are reasonable and that departments and institutions are supportive of family-work balance. Departmental support for family-work balance, caring for an ill family member, satisfaction with family-friendly policies, and workload have the strongest association with reasonableness. Satisfaction with family-friendly policies has a significant relationship with reasonableness of tenure expectations only for faculty with family care responsibilities. These results have implications for family-friendly policies and practices in academia.

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Last updated on 10/02/2020

COACHE Summary Tables 2014: Selected Dimensions on Faculty Workplace Climate by Discipline, Race/Ethnicity, and Gender

Abstract:

These tables present data from the 2014 Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey focusing on workplace climate, including responses to questions about workload, mentoring, departmental engagement, collaboration, and clarity around tenure decisions. Results are disaggregated by department, race/ethnicity, and gender.

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Full Text

Download the summary tables

Last updated on 10/28/2020

Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey Data Snapshots

Abstract:

These charts present data from the 2013 Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey, focusing on results across seven public universities. The charts represent the arithmetic mean, by academic area and by rank and tenure status, of select COACHE survey results. "NTT” faculty are full- time, non-tenure-track faculty. All items were rated by respondents on a five-point scale of satisfaction, agreement, etc. Thus, for example, faculty were asked not to report the number of courses they teach, but to rate their satisfaction with the number of courses they teach.

Download the snapshots

Last updated on 10/28/2020

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

Building a Better Exit Study: A National Effort to Understand Faculty Retention & Turnover

Abstract:

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. 

Watch the webinar

Last updated on 10/28/2020
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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