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

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.

Download the full text

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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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.

 

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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.

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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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Career Stage Differences in Pre-Tenure Track Faculty Perceptions of Professional and Personal Relationships with Colleagues

Citation:

Ponjuan, L., Conley, V. M., & Trower, C. (2011). Career Stage Differences in Pre-Tenure Track Faculty Perceptions of Professional and Personal Relationships with Colleagues. The Journal of Higher Education , 82 (3), 319-346.
Career Stage Differences in Pre-Tenure Track Faculty Perceptions of Professional and Personal Relationships with Colleagues

Abstract:

Despite a steady decline in available faculty tenure-track positions, future vacancies in tenure-track positions provide opportunities to diversify faculty ranks with new female faculty and faculty of color. This impending employment shift in faculty demographics may change departmental climates, pre-tenure faculty socialization processes, and professional and personal relationships between pre-tenure female faculty and faculty of color and their colleagues.

This study examines pre-tenure faculty members' perception of collegial relationships with colleagues. We primarily focus on the organizational socialization of female faculty and faculty of color, and faculty in different pre-tenure career stages. We found differences in satisfaction with collegial relationships between faculty by gender, race, and pre-tenure career stages.

 

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Last updated on 10/16/2020

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
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Browse Resources by Type

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

The possibility of promotion: How race and gender predict promotion clarity for associate professors

Citation:

Kulp, A., Wolf-Wendel, L., & Smith, D. (2019). The possibility of promotion: How race and gender predict promotion clarity for associate professors. Teachers College Record , 121 (5).
The possibility of promotion: How race and gender predict promotion clarity for associate professors

Abstract:

Past studies have strongly suggested that equity issues affect advancement through the academic pipeline. This study uses cross-institutional results from the 2010 through 2012 Faculty Job Satisfaction Surveys to offer analysis and potential solutions for the problem.

The study asks whether cultural taxation in the form of heavy service and advising—often associated with underrepresented minority faculty and women faculty—is a factor in advancement through the academic pipeline, and also examines the influence of ideal-worker norms and work/family demands on perceptions of promotion clarity. The analysis suggests that the factors associated with lack of clarity about promotion are more structural than individual.

Read the full study

Last updated on 10/13/2020

The Working Environment Matters: Faculty Member Job Satisfaction by Institution Type

The Working Environment Matters: Faculty Member Job Satisfaction by Institution Type

Abstract:

Ongoing shifts in faculty roles and responsibilities—particularly the increasing use of part-time and non tenure-track positions—may lower faculty job satisfaction and diminish academia’s appeal for highly qualified candidates. Faculty attitudes, in turn, can have concomitant effects on student learning, academic scholarship and institutional success. This study examines faculty job satisfaction across different types of institutions using data from the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey and explores how gender, race, age and other personal factors interact with faculty expectations, experiences, and perceptions of the work environment to determine satisfaction.

Although some faculty reported low job satisfaction and a few expressed enough dissatisfaction to consider leaving the profession, most full-time faculty appear satisfied with their work. Women reported lower salaries than men, but not lower overall job satisfaction.

 

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Last updated on 10/09/2020

Benchmark Best Practices: Departmental Leadership

Benchmark Best Practices: Departmental Leadership

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 departmental leadership and faculty satisfaction with chairs’ or department heads’ pace of decision-making, stated priorities, and fairness in evaluating faculty work.

COACHE’s 2010 pilot study of tenured faculty found that faculty desire from the administration a clearly articulated institutional mission and vision that do not change in ways that adversely affect faculty work. Faculty also wish for clear expectations for the mix of research, teaching, and service or outreach; support for research and teaching; and a sense that their work is valued. Deans and department chairs can improve faculty morale through communication, and particularly by involving faculty in meaningful decisions that affect them. Deans and chairs are also responsible for supporting faculty in adapting to any changes to mission and institutional priorities.

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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.

Read the report

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.

Download the full text

Last updated on 10/09/2020