Faculty Encouraged to Offer Insights in Career Satisfaction Survey by Harvard

Previous survey led to better institutional support for faculty

Monday, October 14, 2013

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas will again participate in the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education, sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education to help understand the values and rewards that promote faculty satisfaction.

The survey seeks faculty responses on topics of collaboration, engagement, campus climate, governance and sources. The survey will gather data on how the faculty experiences at the University of Arkansas compare to those at other research institutions and whether the experience differs by rank, gender or ethnicity.

The survey will open for participation Tuesday, Oct. 14, and remain open until Jan. 20, 2014. 

The online survey will take approximately 20 to 25 minutes to complete, and individuals will be able to stop within the survey and return to complete the survey. A notice of the survey will also be posted on the provost’s website to indicate the legitimacy of the survey.

“The university can’t realize its vision without an engaged and productive faculty. Your success is crucial to helping the university and the state move forward,” said Sharon Gaber, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “I urge you to take a few moments to respond to the COACHE survey and let your voice be heard. We are listening.”

This year, the survey will be open to all faculty. Responses to the survey are administered by the collaborative, and complete anonymity of responses will be protected through agreements with the survey administrators. When results of the survey are determined, the university will share those results with the campus community.

U of A faculty members took part in the 2009-10 edition of study, the first time the university participated in the survey. Their responses spurred new ideas to help faculty and helped guide a variety of programmatic and policy changes at the university during the intervening three years. For instance, the university:

  • Instituted training for departmental chairs.
  • Created the Chancellor’s Commission on Women.
  • Developed forums on tenure expectations.
  • Created a vice provost position to oversee research and economic development.

“The faculty who participated in the last survey offered us targeted ideas for improving our support in the faculty realms of teaching, research and service,” Gaber said. “The information it provided showed us our strengths and identified areas where we needed to improve. We know how much we gained during the last study, and we anticipate this one will give us even greater direction.”

Data collected in the previous survey also allowed the university to compare its survey results with five peer institutions that participated: Auburn University, the University of Alabama, Clemson University, the University of Kansas and the University of Tennessee.

One highlight in the previous survey for the University of Arkansas was that faculty who responded to the previous survey perceived strong teaching support on the campus, such as the Wally Cordes Teaching and Faculty Support Center. U of A faculty rated the importance of professional assistance for improving teaching higher than at the five peer institutions. Faculty members were also more satisfied with the quality of university facilities than at some of the peer institutions.

However, the previous survey also showed that faculty members were less satisfied with research services back in 2009 and with their ability to obtain externally funded grants than faculty at some of the peer institutions. The university took steps to improve that issue, even before results were released, by commissioning an external review panel to audit the university’s research services and make recommendations on how to improve performance.

Contacts:

Sharon Gaber, provost and vice chancellor
Academic Affairs
479-575-5459, sgaber@uark.edu

Kathy Van Laningham, vice provost for planning
Academic Affairs
479-575-5910, kvl@uark.edu

Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations
479-575-3583, voorhies@uark.edu

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