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

An analysis of job satisfaction among Millennial faculty at southeastern colleges and universities

Thesis Type:

Dissertation

Abstract:

Millennials will dominate the global workplace as the prominent generational cohort by 2020. This projection surfaces considerations for recruitment and succession planning within higher education.

This study investigated how Millennials’ workplace preferences impact faculty job satisfaction. The research inquiry was launched utilizing institutional data from four-year public and private institutions in the Southeast to assess the relationship between overall job satisfaction and mentoring satisfaction, and to compare Millennial faculty job satisfaction to senior generations. The study uses Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey data.

From the analysis of 9,496 faculty responses, the study produced statistically significant outcomes that addressed the research inquiry. The outcome of the investigation signals a strong correlation between the impacts of mentoring satisfaction and the overall job satisfaction of Millennial faculty. Pragmatic talent management and organizational development strategies are recommended to assist institutions in leveraging the power of the multi-generational workforce to attract and retain Millennial faculty.

Read the dissertation

Last updated on 10/14/2020

Effects of generation on tenure-track faculty satisfaction

Citation:

McCullough, E. E. (2013). Effects of generation on tenure-track faculty satisfaction. Western Carolina University.

Thesis Type:

Dissertation

Abstract:

The academy is generationally diversifying as Baby Boomer faculty members move into retirement and younger faculty enter the workforce. Understanding and addressing generational differences is increasingly important, as employees across a broad age range will be working together.

This quantitative study explored the effects of generation on tenure-track faculty job satisfaction. Aside from obtaining a generational snapshot of tenure-track faculty, this study sought to determine if generation could predict job satisfaction indices. Multiple regression analyses were conducted on variables obtained from a pre-existing aggregated Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey dataset. Statistically significant demographic effects emerged in seven job satisfaction indices, but multiple regression results provided little evidence to suggest demographic variables, which have frequently been used to explain differences between groups, are strong predictors of tenure-track faculty satisfaction. These findings raise questions about the credibility of claims by generational practitioners and consultants and signify that more research is needed.

Read the dissertation

Last updated on 10/14/2020

Gen X Meets Theory X: What New Scholars Want

Citation:

Trower, C. A. (2012). Gen X Meets Theory X: What New Scholars Want. Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy.
Gen X Meets Theory X: What New Scholars Want

Abstract:

 

“If they can’t understand that I want a kick-ass career and a kick-ass life, then I don’t want to work here,” sums up how many Generation X’ers (born between 1965 and 1980) view their workplace, according to Lancaster and Stillman. As a group, Gen X’ers are willing to work hard but want to decide when, where, and how. As this generation enters the professoriate in large numbers, some institutions may be wondering what hit them.

This study measured the importance of 19 job factors to recent graduates of doctoral degree programs. The primary considerations of recent graduates when choosing a job were: finding a situation in which they could do meaningful work and strike a balance between teaching and research; quality of living conditions, e.g., affordability of housing, commute, good K-12 schools, community feeling and safety, and job opportunities for spouse or partner; and balance between work and home life.

 

Read the full article

Last updated on 10/16/2020

Beyond Teaching and Research: Faculty Perceptions of Service Roles at Research Universities

Citation:

Mamiseishvili, K., Miller, M. T., & Lee, D. (2016). Beyond Teaching and Research: Faculty Perceptions of Service Roles at Research Universities. Innovative Higher Education , 41 (4), 273-285.
Beyond Teaching and Research: Faculty Perceptions of Service Roles at Research Universities

Abstract:

Faculty members in higher education institutions frequently have the responsibility of providing service activities to their institutions, professional societies, and external communities. This responsibility, however, generally carries little reward in the workplace and does not play a major role in promotion criteria. This study drew upon a sample of 4,400 research university faculty members surveyed through the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey to explore their satisfaction with service roles by academic rank. Findings showed that mid-career faculty members at the associate professor rank were significantly less satisfied with their service functions, including workload, equity, work balance, recognition, and institutional support, when compared with both assistant and full professors.

Read the full study

Last updated on 10/09/2020

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

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.

 

Read the article

Last updated on 10/16/2020

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.

Read the article

Last updated on 10/16/2020

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
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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

To stay or not to stay: retention of Asian international faculty in STEM fields

Citation:

Lawrence, J. H., Celis, S., Kim, H. S., Lipson, S. K., & Tong, X. (2014). To stay or not to stay: retention of Asian international faculty in STEM fields. Higher Education , 67 (5), 511-531.
To stay or not to stay: retention of Asian international faculty in STEM fields

Abstract:

The present study identifies characteristics of individuals and work settings that influence Asian international faculty members’ intentions to continue their employment in US research universities. Given the demand for researchers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (STEM), the higher rate of turnover among untenured faculty, and the replacement costs associated with turnover in STEM, the sample is limited to assistant professors employed in these areas. Multinomial regression analyses identified variables that “pull” and “push” uncertain faculty toward intentions to stay and leave their current institutions. The results suggest that faculty who are more satisfied with time available for research and those who express stronger organizational commitment are more likely to say they will stay. Those dissatisfied with the fairness of work evaluations and those who believe tenure decisions are not merit-based are more likely to say they will leave.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 10/21/2020

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.

 

Read the dissertation

Last updated on 10/14/2020

Family policies and institutional satisfaction: An intersectional analysis of tenure-track faculty

Thesis Type:

Dissertation

Abstract:

Guided by an intersectional perspective, this study compares responses to the 2008 and 2009 Tenure-Track Faculty Job Satisfaction survey provided by four groups of faculty: African American women, African American men as well as white women and white men. The study examines faculty perceptions regarding the importance of family policies as related to career success, the effectiveness of family policies at the institution, and the level of satisfaction with work-life balance. The findings indicate that there are significant differences in policy perceptions and work-life satisfaction. African American women overwhelmingly indicate that eldercare policy is important to career success, while white women are more concerned with childcare policy. Significant group differences emerge in faculty assessment of childcare policy. The analysis reveals institutional-level support for care work influences overall satisfaction with the institution more than departmental support. The findings suggest care work still matters in relation to a faculty member's career advancement.

Read the dissertation

Last updated on 10/21/2020

Work life balance and job satisfaction among faculty at Iowa State University

Thesis Type:

Dissertation

Abstract:

This study utilized the existing database from the Iowa State University 2009-2010 Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey to explore faculty work life balance and job satisfaction among academic disciplines. This research sought to determine if (a) work life differs by academic discipline group: (b) job satisfaction differs by academic discipline, and (c) there is a relationship between faculty work life and job satisfaction and whether this relationship differs by academic discipline group, and (d) if academic discipline has a unique effect on faculty work and life balance.

The results indicated that there is a significant relationship between work life and job satisfaction. When controlling for demographic and professional experience, the result also indicated that age and climate, and culture were significant predicators for work life balance. The results also showed that female faculty have lower job satisfaction, and indicated that the level of job satisfaction was lower for hard pure disciplines than soft pure disciplines.

Read the dissertation

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.

 

Read the full text

Last updated on 10/16/2020

Climate Change: Creating Space for Interdepartmental Problem Solving at Skidmore College

Climate Change: Creating Space for Interdepartmental Problem Solving at Skidmore College

Abstract:

Historically, academic departments at Skidmore College operated with large degrees of autonomy from one another. Groups rarely collaborated, which made it difficult for faculty and administrators to address climate and leadership challenges across divisions. In the absence of a centralized group equipped with the tools and resources needed to address these issues, Skidmore partnered with the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) and conducted the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey to identify ways to improve departmental climates.

Using Skidmore’s survey results as a baseline for their first meeting, the team, which Skidmore leaders dubbed the ‘COACHE Collaborators’, worked together to identify three areas of departmental climate in need of attention: collegiality, diversity and inclusion, and work-life balance.

Download the case study

Last updated on 02/08/2021

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.

Read the article

Last updated on 11/18/2020

To stay or not to stay: retention of Asian international faculty in STEM fields

Citation:

Lawrence, J. H., Celis, S., Kim, H. S., Lipson, S. K., & Tong, X. (2014). To stay or not to stay: retention of Asian international faculty in STEM fields. Higher Education , 67 (5), 511-531.
To stay or not to stay: retention of Asian international faculty in STEM fields

Abstract:

The present study identifies characteristics of individuals and work settings that influence Asian international faculty members’ intentions to continue their employment in US research universities. Given the demand for researchers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (STEM), the higher rate of turnover among untenured faculty, and the replacement costs associated with turnover in STEM, the sample is limited to assistant professors employed in these areas. Multinomial regression analyses identified variables that “pull” and “push” uncertain faculty toward intentions to stay and leave their current institutions. The results suggest that faculty who are more satisfied with time available for research and those who express stronger organizational commitment are more likely to say they will stay. Those dissatisfied with the fairness of work evaluations and those who believe tenure decisions are not merit-based are more likely to say they will leave.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 10/21/2020

Browse Resources by Faculty Type

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.

Read the dissertation

Last updated on 10/14/2020

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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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.

 

Read the dissertation

Last updated on 10/09/2020

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

Family policies and institutional satisfaction: An intersectional analysis of tenure-track faculty

Thesis Type:

Dissertation

Abstract:

Guided by an intersectional perspective, this study compares responses to the 2008 and 2009 Tenure-Track Faculty Job Satisfaction survey provided by four groups of faculty: African American women, African American men as well as white women and white men. The study examines faculty perceptions regarding the importance of family policies as related to career success, the effectiveness of family policies at the institution, and the level of satisfaction with work-life balance. The findings indicate that there are significant differences in policy perceptions and work-life satisfaction. African American women overwhelmingly indicate that eldercare policy is important to career success, while white women are more concerned with childcare policy. Significant group differences emerge in faculty assessment of childcare policy. The analysis reveals institutional-level support for care work influences overall satisfaction with the institution more than departmental support. The findings suggest care work still matters in relation to a faculty member's career advancement.

Read the dissertation

Last updated on 10/21/2020

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

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.

Read the article

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.

 

Read the full text

Last updated on 10/16/2020

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

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.

 

Read the dissertation

Last updated on 10/14/2020

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.

 

Read the article

Last updated on 10/16/2020

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.

Read the article

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.

 

Read the dissertation

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

Clear as Mud: Promotion Clarity by Gender and BIPOC Status Across the Associate Professor Lifespan

Citation:

Kulp, A. M., Pascale, A. B., & Wolf-Wendel, L. (2021). Clear as Mud: Promotion Clarity by Gender and BIPOC Status Across the Associate Professor Lifespan. Innovative Higher Education.
Clear as Mud: Promotion Clarity by Gender and BIPOC Status Across the Associate Professor Lifespan

Abstract:

Mid-career faculty members often seek to advance to the highest faculty rank of full professor, but research suggests women and Black, Indigenous and Other People of Color (BIPOC) faculty face inequitable patterns in advancement to the full professor rank. This study focuses on associate professors’ perceptions of promotion clarity, or the degree to which they are clear about the processes and criteria for advancing to the full professor rank.

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Women Faculty in STEM Disciplines: Experiences with the Tenure Process and Departmental Practices

Women Faculty in STEM Disciplines: Experiences with the Tenure Process and Departmental Practices

Abstract:

Using Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey data, the purpose of the study is to explore predictors of perceptions of tenure clarity for faculty in STEM and non-STEM fields. We use the gendered organization framework to examine whether for four groups of faculty (women and men in STEM and women and men in non-STEM), assessment of fairness in tenure decisions and evaluations, messages about tenure requirements, mentoring, and relationships with peers have a similar effect on their assessment of tenure clarity. Women in STEM fields are less likely to perceive the expectations for tenure as clear or to assess tenure decisions and evaluations as fair, mentoring as effective, and relationships with peers as satisfactory.

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Last updated on 01/19/2021

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

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

Abstract:

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

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Last updated on 01/12/2021
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COVID-19 Impact Study: Technical Report

Citation:

Foster, D. (2020). COVID-19 Impact Study: Technical Report . COACHE Partner Strategy Workshop, The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education.

Abstract:

The findings from a series of statistical analyses present compelling evidence that the disruption to campus operations caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) in March 2020 impacted faculty perceptions of some aspects of their campus environment. This impact was felt across all institutions that participated in the COACHE Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey (JSAT) for a subset of JSAT benchmarks and specific items. At the same time, some benchmarks and most items were unaffected. The majority of the benchmarks and items that were impacted concerned leadership, governance, and decision-making. Additional analyses of the differences between benchmark scores with and without the presence of post-disruption responses suggest that the degree of change with the inclusion of post-disruption responses is negligible in practical application and does not warrant additional data cleaning for valid interpretation of report findings.

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Selected Dimensions of the Faculty Workplace Experience

Citation:

(2019). Selected Dimensions of the Faculty Workplace Experience . The AAC&U 2019 Annual Conference, Washington, DC.

Abstract:

In conjunction with the AAC&U Annual Meeting, COACHE is providing access to digital spreadsheets summarizing results from its Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey, including responses from approximately 43,000 faculty at 2- and 4-year colleges and universities. COACHE Summary Tables 2019 provides responses organized by major Carnegie Classification and disciplinary groups, then by faculty rank (and tenure status), race/ethnicity, or gender. The following tables were extracted from COACHE Summary Tables 2019 for use in our discussion.

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Last updated on 03/11/2021

COACHE Summary Tables 2019: Selected Dimensions of the Faculty Workplace Experience

Citation:

Azubuike, N. O., Benson, R. T., Kumar, A., & Mathews, K. (2019). COACHE Summary Tables 2019: Selected Dimensions of the Faculty Workplace Experience.

Abstract:

These summary tables include data from the 2019 Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey, focusing on the faculty workplace experience, with data presented by institution type, discipline, rank (with tenure status), race/ethnicity, and gender. Survey dimensions shown in the summary tables include questions about the nature of faculty work, facilities and family resources, interdisciplinary work, tenure clarity, promotion, and shared governance.

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Last updated on 10/28/2020
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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.

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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

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

Abstract:

In 2016, COACHE partnered with the University of California System to pilot our newest undertaking -- the Faculty Retenion and Exit Survey. This survey is the only multi-institutional study of faculty retention and exit, and examines the costs, conduct, and causes of faculty turnover. 

In this webinar, Kiernan Mathews and Todd Benson describe how the survey came to be, and outline some of the initial findings from the pilot study along with some practical recommendations for Academic Affairs administrators. 

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Last updated on 10/28/2020

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.

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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.

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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.

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Last updated on 10/21/2020
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