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: Interdisciplinary Work & Collaboration

Benchmark Best Practices: Interdisciplinary Work & Collaboration

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 collaboration—within departments, outside of departments but at the same institution, and outside the institution—and attitudes toward interdisciplinary work.

While interest in interdisciplinary work has increased, and this type of work attracts many graduate students and early-career faculty, the academy has not yet fully embraced interdisciplinary work. Unchanged policies, structures and cultures are institutional disincentives, as they are still best-suited to narrower work within disciplines. This includes publication vehicles, multiple authors, peer review, and reward structures.

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Last updated on 10/21/2020

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

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

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

International Faculty in American Universities: Experiences of Academic Life, Productivity, and Career Mobility

Citation:

Kim, D., Twombly, S., & Wolf-Wendel, L. (2012). International Faculty in American Universities: Experiences of Academic Life, Productivity, and Career Mobility. New Directions for Institutional Research , 155, 27-46.
International Faculty in American Universities: Experiences of Academic Life, Productivity, and Career Mobility

Abstract:

In the past 20 years, the number of international faculty members at American universities has continued to increase rapidly. This growth is evident in data showing that the proportional representation of foreign-born faculty easily surpasses that of domestic underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. The increasing presence of international faculty members is validated using multiple data sources, and their professional experience is examined in terms of the perception of academic life, productivity, and career mobility.

The primary interest of this chapter on international faculty and their professional experiences in U.S. higher education institutions is based on the assumption that international faculty are considered to be different than domestic faculty in their academic experiences, largely due to their cultural, educational, and language backgrounds. 

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 09/24/2020

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

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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Gender Differences in Faculty Member Job Satisfaction: Equity Forestalled?

Citation:

Webber, K. L., & Rogers, S. M. (2018). Gender Differences in Faculty Member Job Satisfaction: Equity Forestalled? Research in Higher Education , 59, 1-28.
Gender Differences in Faculty Member Job Satisfaction: Equity Forestalled?

Abstract:

Guided by Hagedorn’s (2000) theory of faculty job satisfaction, mindful of social and organizational structures of higher education, and acknowledging recent changes in the academic labor market, this study examines satisfaction for approximately 30,000 tenured and tenure-track faculty members in 100 US colleges and universities. Findings revealed similarity between female and male faculty members in some aspects of work satisfaction, but difference in other areas in which women reported lower satisfaction. Findings also revealed that perceptions of department fit, recognition, work role balance, and mentoring are more important to women faculty’s satisfaction than male peers. These findings have implications for policy and practice.

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Last updated on 11/18/2020

Reasonableness and clarity of tenure expectations: Gender and race differences in faculty perceptions.

Abstract:

This dissertation studies how higher education policies and practices can affect faculty retention and proposes changes that higher education institutions need to make to retain their faculty. The first manuscript investigates the reasonableness of tenure expectations as it relates to work-life balance, the second explores whether women’s and men’s assessments of tenure-related departmental practices influence their perceptions of clarity of tenure expectations, and the third looks at how the intersection of gender and race influences faculty perceptions of clarity of tenure expectations. The dissertation uses Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey data from a sample of 2,438 tenure-track assistant professors at research universities.

 

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Last updated on 10/09/2020

The Situational Context of Tenured Female Faculty in the Academy and the Impact of Critical Mass of Tenured Female Faculty on Pre-tenure Faculty Job Satisfaction: A Four Discipline Study

Thesis Type:

Dissertation

Abstract:

This research studies the convergence between critical mass, discipline and gender in the academy. Critical mass theory is based on the concept that when a "nonmajority" group reaches a minimal threshold they can generate lasting change within an organization. While women receive doctoral degrees in higher percentages than their male colleagues, they do not ascend the ranks in the same proportions (Touchton, McTighe Musil, & Peltier Campbell, 2008). A critical mass of tenured female faculty has the ability to positively impact the environment for pre-tenure faculty at the departmental level.

The study used data from the 2011-12 COACHE survey of faculty in finance/accounting, management, English and history. A critical mass of tenured female faculty positively impacted environments for pre-tenure females and males in history and females in management. In management departments without a critical mass of tenured female faculty, females were significantly less satisfied while their male colleagues were significantly more satisfied. Further qualitative research is needed to better understand environments using the lenses of critical mass, discipline and gender.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 10/21/2020

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.

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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.

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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

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.”

 

View the report

Last updated on 10/21/2020
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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.

Read the report

Last updated on 10/21/2020

Benchmark Best Practices: Interdisciplinary Work & Collaboration

Benchmark Best Practices: Interdisciplinary Work & Collaboration

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 collaboration—within departments, outside of departments but at the same institution, and outside the institution—and attitudes toward interdisciplinary work.

While interest in interdisciplinary work has increased, and this type of work attracts many graduate students and early-career faculty, the academy has not yet fully embraced interdisciplinary work. Unchanged policies, structures and cultures are institutional disincentives, as they are still best-suited to narrower work within disciplines. This includes publication vehicles, multiple authors, peer review, and reward structures.

Read the report

Last updated on 10/21/2020

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.

Read the report

Last updated on 10/21/2020