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

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.

Read the article

Last updated on 10/16/2020
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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.

Read the report

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.

Read the report

Last updated on 10/21/2020

Benchmark Best Practices: Mentoring

Benchmark Best Practices: Mentoring

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 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.

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Last updated on 10/21/2020

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

Data, Leadership, and Catalyzing Culture Change

Citation:

Benson, T., & Trower, C. (2012). Data, Leadership, and Catalyzing Culture Change. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning , 44 (4), 27-34.
Data, Leadership, and Catalyzing Culture Change

Abstract:

As the national economy has worsened, a large cadre of tenured senior faculty is graying and staying at their institutions. This has left an older set of full professors who began their careers in a different era, an overworked and underappreciated set of associate professors, and a group of assistant professors who are wondering, “What have I gotten myself into?”

By and large, tenure-track faculty want what they have always wanted: clear and reasonable tenure requirements; support for teaching and research; an environment that allows them to juggle responsibilities at work and home; and a set of colleagues to whom they can turn for mentoring, collaborations, intellectual stimulation, and friendship. But several differences between the past and present affect these faculty dramatically.

 

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Last updated on 10/16/2020

Intent to leave the professoriate: The relationship between race/ethnicity and job satisfaction for pre-tenured professors in doctorate-granting universities

Thesis Type:

Dissertation

Abstract:

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.

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Last updated on 11/06/2020

The role of citizenship status in intent to leave for pre-tenure faculty

Citation:

Kim, D., Wolf-Wendel, L., & Twombly, S. B. (2013). The role of citizenship status in intent to leave for pre-tenure faculty. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education , 6 (4), 245-260.
The role of citizenship status in intent to leave for pre-tenure faculty

Abstract:

Using a national database, this study uses discriminant analysis to explore the role of citizenship status in determining intent to leave for pre-tenure faculty members at 4-year research universities. Of the three possible responses (intend to stay, intend to leave, and undecided), two functions emerged. The first function differentiates those who intend to stay from those who intend to leave and those who are undecided. The second function differentiates between those who intend to leave and those who are undecided.

Measures of satisfaction with workplace serve as the primary indicators of function one. Race and citizenship status are the only variables significant for function two. Demographic variables, discipline, salary, and institutional variables are not significant in either function. The variables that are significant for the entire sample are similar to those significant just for non-U.S. citizen faculty. Implications of this study for institutions include attending to departmental and institutional fit, recognition of diversity among non-U.S. citizen faculty, and working toward improving various components of satisfaction.

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Last updated on 10/21/2020

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.

 

Read the dissertation

Last updated on 10/21/2020

Browse Resources by Faculty Type

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.

Read the article

Last updated on 10/16/2020

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.

 

Read the report

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

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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Browse Resources by Type

Personal and Institutional Predictors of Work-Life Balance among Women and Men Faculty of Color

Citation:

Szelényi, K., & Denson, N. (2019). Personal and Institutional Predictors of Work-Life Balance among Women and Men Faculty of Color. The Review of Higher Education , 43 (2), 633-665.
Personal and Institutional Predictors of Work-Life Balance among Women and Men Faculty of Color

Abstract:

This study examines predictors of perceived work-life balance among women and men faculty of color using data from the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE). Asian American men faculty report higher perceived work-life balance, while African American women faculty report lower perceived work-life balance as compared to other faculty members. Findings from multivariate analyses show that the strongest, most consistent positive predictor of perceived work-life balance was the faculty perception that the institution does what it can to make personal/family obligations and an academic career compatible. The findings offer important implications for institutional and departmental climate and policy.

Read the full study

Last updated on 10/07/2020

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.

Read the full study

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.

Read the full study

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.

 

Read the report

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.”

 

View the report

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.

Read the report

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.

Read the report

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.

Read the report

Last updated on 10/21/2020