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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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

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

Examining the Impacts of COVID-19 on Faculty Retention & Exit

Abstract:

For the last five years, the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) has been conducting the Faculty Retention and Exit Survey to gain a deeper understanding of the academic work environment by examining faculty mobility. In spring 2020, we added three COVID-19-related questions to the survey to capture the early effects of the pandemic.

In this webinar, Doctoral Fellow, Mai H. Vang, presents findings from the responses to those questions, which captured nine themes, including disruption of research, disconnection due to remote work, and inequities in the pandemic’s impact on particular faculty.

Download the full report of our findings and presentation slides

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Full Text

Last updated on 08/29/2022

Assessing the Needs of Part-Time Faculty: Lessons Learned from the University at Buffalo

Abstract:

According to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), approximately 40% of all faculty across all institutional types are now part-time. This subset of adjunct faculty is fulfilling a critical role in the higher education landscape, yet the variability of these appointments makes it exceedingly difficult to assess their needs and, ultimately, provide adequate support.

In 2017, COACHE partners at the University at Buffalo set out to address this knowledge gap by adapting the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey to suit the needs of their part-time faculty. In this webinar, Robert Granfield and Tilman Baumstark will share the challenges faced and lessons learned, both from their methodology and from their faculty, throughout this endeavor.

View the webinar recording

Last updated on 10/27/2020

Success After Tenure: Lessons in Engaging Midcareer Faculty

Abstract:

Mid-career faculty actively seek professional satisfaction and personal well-being in their careers at the departmental and institutional level. However, a growing body of research tells us that the policies and practices in place at colleges and universities do not always support this goal. This webinar, “Success After Tenure: Lessons in Engaging Mid-Career Faculty,” offers an inside take on the themes of the book Success After Tenure: Supporting Mid-Career Faculty and provide real-world best practices from practitioners in the field.

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Last updated on 10/27/2020
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Faculty Departure and Retention at Small Liberal Arts Colleges

Faculty Departure and Retention at Small Liberal Arts Colleges

Abstract:

Voluntary faculty departures can often be prevented, but a lack of common exit procedures have hindered institutions’ ability to create proactive practices of faculty retention and instead harbor reactive tendencies with little positive outcome. Through interviews with 22 CAOs at liberal arts colleges, Patrick D. Reynolds, former Visiting Practitioner to COACHE, discovered partner employment and career choice were the two most prominent reasons for departures. Outliers also revealed that work and social environments, especially for faculty members of minority groups, often played a role in dissatisfaction.

Download the whitepaper

Last updated on 05/20/2021

Effective Academic Governance: Five Ingredients for CAOs and Faculty

Citation:

Ott, M. W., & Mathews, K. (2015). Effective Academic Governance: Five Ingredients for CAOs and Faculty. The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education.
Effective Academic Governance: Five Ingredients for CAOs and Faculty

Abstract:

The COACHE research-practice partnership is designed to enact organizational change for the benefit of faculty and, by extension, the institution. But does every college's system of shared governance have what it takes to meet their own or, indeed, higher education’s most pressing challenges? This white paper looks beyond the rhetoric toward a more differentiated understanding of the ingredients of effective academic governance. Ott and Mathews offer a five-factor framework grounded in the literature, developed from interviews, and, now, tested in a survey of thousands of faculty. The report concludes with advice for assessing and fostering the qualities of “hard” and “soft” governance practices essential to sustainable change in the “real world” decision-making of committees, assemblies, senates, councils, and unions.

Download the full text

Last updated on 10/16/2020

Benchmark Best Practices: Tenure and Promotion

Benchmark Best Practices: Tenure and Promotion

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 the general thrust of faculty satisfaction along key themes. This white paper discusses the themes of tenure policies, tenure clarity, and promotion.

Administrators and faculty alike acknowledge that, at most institutions, the bar to achieve tenure has risen over time. While it is impossible to eliminate anxiety from the minds of all pre-tenure faculty members, or the pressures exerted on their lives en route to tenure, academic leaders can improve the clarity of tenure policies and expectations without sacrificing rigor. And while the academy has recently improved many policies for assistant professors (e.g., research leave; stop-the-tenure-clock; part-time tenure-track options), it has done far less for associate professors. Ideas have emerged from COACHE research on tenured faculty.

Read the report

Last updated on 10/21/2020
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