Enriching the Academic Environment

Exploring Faculty Satisfaction

Emory University recognizes that our most valuable asset is our faculty. The One Emory strategic framework calls for fostering an academic environment that attracts, promotes, and retains scholars, researchers, and teachers of the highest caliber and achieves Emory’s full potential for an ethically engaged, diverse community. An inclusively eminent faculty is one in which all faculty sense they belong and find opportunities for professional growth and achievement. Articulating the details of this vision was also championed by faculty and administrative partners in the Class and Labor Report, now advanced as Toward Faculty Eminence: Inclusivity, Equity, and Professional Development.

Faculty talking at a reception

To deepen our understanding of the faculty experience and assess faculty satisfaction on multiple dimensions, Emory partnered with the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and administered their Faculty Satisfaction Survey and Workforce Mobility Survey during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Faculty talking outside

The Faculty Satisfaction Survey covered every aspect of a faculty member’s academic life, including facilities and work resources, opportunities for interdisciplinary work, mentoring and recognition, and a range of university policies related to benefits, promotion, and governance. Emory expects to gain actionable insights that will be shared with the faculty community beginning in Fall 2020.

Faculty community talking

Emory and COACHE are committed to the integrity of the survey and safeguarding the privacy of our faculty. Responses are completely confidential and will be handled through the COACHE project team. Participants’ privacy will be maintained in all published and written data, and anonymity will be ensured in the broad, summary analysis that COACHE will share with our campus.

Administration building

February 10, 2020

Launch of the Faculty Satisfaction Survey. Look for your invite from COACHE.

October 2020

Results shared with the Emory faculty community.

Fall 2020

Town halls to engage faculty in addressing insights.

About COACHE


COACHE is a research-practice partnership within the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Its mission is “the discovery of and insight into the postsecondary faculty experience.” More than 250 institutions and higher educational systems have participated in the collaborative. Leaders and faculty at these institutions gain actionable insights that help them “identify the drivers of faculty success and to implement informed changes.”

Learn more about the Collaborative

COACHE Steering Committee

Committee Chair

Christa Acampora

Deputy Provost for Academic Affairs

Members

Jan Barton

Associate Professor of Accounting

Christopher Beck

Professor of Pedagogy

Nancy Bliwise

Vice Provost for Academic Planning

Yolanda Cooper

Dean and University Librarian

Carol Henderson

Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion; Chief Diversity Officer

Tim Holbrook

Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs

Randall Lucius

Director of Organizational Development

Carolyn Meltzer

Professor/Chair of Radiology; Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Academic Advancement, Leadership, and Inclusion

Deboleena Roy

Professor/Chair of Women's Studies

Nancy Seideman

Vice President, Academic Communications and Reputation Leadership

Justin Shepherd

Director of Institutional Research and Decision Support

Eric Weeks

Professor of Physics; Director of Center for Faculty Development and Excellence

Melissa J. Daly

Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs; Director for Special Initiatives

Tara Hawes

Project Administrator, Special Assistant for Faculty Affairs

COACHE Faculty Satisfaction Survey FAQs

A: COACHE (Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education) is a collaboration of colleges and universities committed to gathering the peer diagnostic and comparative data academic administrators need to recruit, retain, and support faculty members who are critical to the long-term future of their institutions. The core element of COACHE is an electronic survey specially designed for full-time faculty like you to provide information about your experience at Emory. The COACHE Faculty Satisfaction Survey asks faculty members to convey and assess their experiences regarding promotion and tenure, the nature of their work, policies and practices, governance, access to professional support, and the general climate, culture, and level of collegiality at Emory.

The survey has a national scope: Emory is one of more than 200 colleges and universities, including many of our peers, that have participated in the survey.

However, the main reason Emory is participated was to learn more about how faculty members feel about their job so it can improve the quality of work/life for them. The COACHE survey provides participating faculty members with a powerful tool to share their thoughts with academic leaders. Each question in the survey was designed to generate a report of not simply "interesting" data but actionable data that Emory can use to improve the quality of life of its faculty members. Emory faculty will participate in the interpretation of the compiled, anonymous data the university receives, and all faculty will have the opportunity to reflect on the interpretations and actions that follow.

A: Institutions use the information from COACHE in different ways. Most will share the results in summary form with board members, academic leaders, and other groups that need to understand what it's like being a faculty member at their colleges or universities. Some institutions will analyze information from the survey report and use it in their long-range institutional planning.

At Emory, faculty on the COACHE Steering Committee will participate in the interpretation of the compiled, anonymous data Emory receives. Emory will share the summary results of the survey with all faculty, and there will be multiple opportunities for Emory faculty to reflect on the interpretations and actions that follow. This will help us focus attention and resources to make improvements in job satisfaction. As a broad, omnibus survey, it assesses a range of topics. That means the results can inform an entire suite of different and better practices.

A: Emory needs to know what you think of your work experience—the level of support you are receiving, the reasonableness and clarity of your performance expectations, and the kinds of policies that are important to your success at Emory. This will assist senior leadership in identifying the areas that can and should be improved. Given that the survey directly addresses concerns that can impact policies and strategic planning at Emory, it is imperative that you make your views known. This will give the community an answer to the question: "How well are faculty members doing at Emory?"

Your response is crucial for two key reasons. First, your answers to the questions in the survey will pinpoint areas that need immediate attention. This information is crucial to Emory’s leadership in improving faculty life. Second, because thousands of faculty members around the country participate in the same survey, your answers will provide a basis of comparison for faculty at peer institutions, which is important information for us. Ultimately, your answers will not only help improve Emory but many other institutions as well.

A: COACHE provides robust comparative data in its reporting and analytics, including the option to self-select five peer comparison institutions. Its reporting platform provides powerful diagnostics that are intuitive and draw on best practices for data collection. Most importantly, COACHE will continue to work with partners for two years after data collection to interpret results, disseminate the findings, and develop policy solutions. At the end of that period, we will survey Emory faculty once again to assess our progress.

Additionally, collaborating with COACHE is beneficial for the following reasons:

  • To get a better sense of faculty perceptions of the workplace relative to the national labor market
  • To support our accreditation processes and activities that support institutional advancement
  • To advance our strategic planning priorities
  • To provide the new president and provost with a sense of faculty dispositions

 A:

Emory COACHE Team

COACHE@emory.edu

Emory Steering Committee

COACHE Team at Harvard

coache@gse.harvard.edu

Todd Benson

Associate Director

COACHE—Harvard Graduate School of Education

8 Story Street, Suite 05-03

Cambridge, MA 02318

coache@gse.harvard.edu

617.496.3409

Harvard University Committee on the Use of Human Subjects in Research

1414 Massachusetts Avenue

Second Floor

Cambridge, MA 02138

cuhs@fas.harvard.edu

617.495.5459

A: The survey closed on April 20, 2020.

A: The instrument is designed to assess the experiences of all full-time faculty. Given that part-time faculty are an increasingly important area of study, COACHE believes that a distinctive instrument is warranted. The Faculty Satisfaction Survey looks at all ranks and appointment types, and therefore has specific adaptive branching for each population. These populations include:

  • Full-time; tenure-stream; assistant, associate, and full professors
  • Full-time; clinical, research, and teaching faculty; Senate (i.e., voting) faculty
  • Faculty-equivalent librarians

However, this does not include:

  • Faculty in their terminal year after being denied tenure
  • Senior administrators: e.g., dean, assistant dean, vice provost (but chairs may be included)

A: In researching the best survey tool to elicit the information we need to improve the environment for faculty at all levels and in all areas of the organization, we found that the COACHE program—as evidenced by its successful track record—provided us with the most effective and comprehensive approach. Beyond survey results, the COACHE program provides Emory with a series of benchmark best practices and special reports and tools that will enable us to use data in enhancing faculty satisfaction across the university.  

A: Emory has requested unit-record data in addition to the COACHE survey report, but access to that level of detail is strictly limited. The details of this data sharing will be disclosed on the first web page that you see upon clicking the unique link emailed to you. The unit-record data (without your name or email address) will be sent only to the Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support at Emory, whose director signed a statement of confidentiality legally guaranteeing that the unit-record data received by him/her will not be shared with any individuals who are in a position to make or influence personnel decisions about individual subjects. Further, only aggregate data, with no cells smaller than five respondents, will be shared with broader audiences at Emory. If you wish to receive further information about the representative assuming responsibility for the data at Emory, please send an email to COACHE@emory.edu or directly to the COACHE Team at Harvard (coache@gse.harvard.edu).

A: Confidentiality and anonymity are assured in all COACHE analyses and reports. Your name and email addresses have been retained solely for the sake of COACHE research, including reminding respondents to begin or to complete their survey and for limited and IRB-approved follow-up studies. When Emory receives the survey report, only the aggregate data is shown in the report. No identifiers are matched to reported responses and no disaggregated data will be presented for any subgroup with fewer than five respondents.

Please note that at the end of the survey, you may have been asked for the retention of your contact information for further studies. If you allowed that, COACHE will strictly protect the privacy and confidentiality of your personal information. The future studies would not be used for individual campus analysis, and no one at Emory will be notified of your participation in future studies.

There will be no direct impact of this survey on your faculty appointment. Emory will use the results to create action plans to improve the professional lives of all faculty at Emory. 

A: Yes. Information about the findings, process, and resulting action will be shared with the faculty and entire university community.

A: Upon receiving the survey results, the COACHE Steering Committee and faculty with relevant expertise will work together to develop action plans to address issues identified by the survey. The action plans will be vetted with various constituencies. 

 

Here is some specific guidance to help the School of Medicine faculty who participated in the survey:

Section 1: DEMOGRAPHIC BACKGROUND (full-time/part-time)

The survey instrument is designed to assess the experiences of all full-time faculty. If you received an invitation, you are considered a full-time faculty member in the School of Medicine, even if you are affiliated with multiple units (e.g., Emory Healthcare, VA, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta). Please indicate on the survey that you are full-time faculty.

Section 1: DEMOGRAPHIC BACKGROUND (tenure eligibility)

Newly hired faculty at the School of Medicine are tenure-eligible, though not everyone pursues tenure. If you plan on applying for tenure during your tenure-eligibility period, you should view yourself as on the tenure clock and mark "Not tenured but on the tenure track ." If you do not plan to apply for tenure, even if you are still in your eligibility period, you should consider yourself not to be on the tenure track and mark, "Not on the tenure track."

Sections 3 and 4: NATURE OF WORK—SERVICE/TEACHING (students)

Teaching in the School of Medicine can involve medical students, interns, residents, and fellows. When responding to questions about students in these sections, use a broad definition of students that best fits your circumstances.

Section 4:  NATURE OF WORK—TEACHING

Some of the questions about teaching and teaching resources seem most aligned with classroom teaching rather than the bedside teaching and mentoring that is more typical of School of Medicine faculty. COACHE has informed us that we cannot change the questions, so please respond as best you can with your teaching activities in mind.

Under “Section 1. Demographic Background,” how should librarians approach questions about “faculty” and appointment term?

  • For the purposes of this section, the word faculty is equivalent to librarian. For example, “visiting librarian” is equivalent to “visiting faculty.”
  • Given the structure of Emory Libraries' Promotion and Renewal process, all librarians are considered Not-Tenure Track (NTT).
  • Athough we have terms of appointment rather than contracts, for the purposes of the COACHE survey, librarians should consider their appointment term when asked about their contract. Please note: LITS librarian appointments are considered "Fixed-term renewable" for the purposes of this COACHE survey.
  • In considering your rank, the LITS librarian rank structure is equivalent to the faculty rank structure (i.e., professor = librarian, associate professor = associate librarian, etc.). Since visiting librarians are not ranked, they are considered "Other" for the purposes of the COACHE survey.
  • In describing your primary work responsibility, please feel free to select the answer you feel best represents your position. If you don't see yourself represented in the listed responsibilities, you may select "Other."
  • If asked about an administrative title, please select the answer you feel is most equivalent. If you don’t see yourself represented, you may select “Other.”

"Section 2, Nature of Work—Overall," how should librarians interpret questions regarding teaching, administrative tasks, and departmental service?  

  • In this section, you will rate your satisfaction with each category separately. Depending on your answers, you may be asked follow-up questions.
  • Questions regarding satisfaction with teaching are measuring satisfaction with aspects of teaching semester-long, credit-bearing courses. Teaching does not encompass library-instruction sessions, workshops, etc.
  • For librarians, the division between administrative tasks and departmental service are more defined than for many faculty members. Evaluate these two categories separately (i.e., department or program administration is considered an administrative task, not service to the organization).
  • You may consider both service to the profession as well as service to the institution when contemplating your satisfaction related to service.

For "Section 3, Nature of Work—Service," what type of service is relevant?

  • For this section, you may consider both service to the profession as well as service to Emory University Libraries.

For "Section 4, Nature of Work—Teaching"

  • This section in designed to measure satisfaction with aspects of teaching semester-long, credit-bearing courses. Teaching does not encompass library-instruction sessions, workshops, etc. If you do not teach semester-long, credit-bearing courses, please select "Not Applicable" for all questions in this section.

How should a librarian approach "Section 5, Nature of Work—Research"?

  • For this section, please consider any research activities you have done for professional development. In the context of the handbook, this would include research associated with scholarship and creative endeavors as well as research associated with professional development.

How should a librarian approach "Section 7, Interdisciplinary Work"?

  • Interdisciplinary work is work that spans two or more disciplines. This includes either traditional academic disciplines (e.g., English, chemistry, etc.) or professional library disciplines (e.g., information literacy, metadata, etc.) If you are unsure about whether or not you engage in interdisciplinary work, please feel free to reach out to the COACHE Champions for assistance. 

Section 8 inquires about collaboration. How should collaboration be viewed for librarians?

  • For the purposes of this survey, collaboration encompasses any work that you engage in with others regardless of discipline. This question is broader than the questions on interdisciplinary work.

Section 11A involves shared governance. How should librarians view this inquiry? 

  • For this section, please consider governance at the university level. Examples of shared governance include both University Senate and Employee Council.

Questions in "Section 12, Engagement" refer to departments and other criteria. How do these inquiries relate to the roles of librarians?

  • When considering the questions in this section, the "department" refers to the library as a whole.
  • Apply the following equivalencies if they arise:
    • Non-tenure track equates to early-career librarians (0-10 years)
    • Pre-tenure equates to mid-career librarians (10-20 years)
    • Tenure equates to late-career librarians (20+) 

What equivalencies should we draw in "Section 14, Climate"?

  • Non-tenure track equates to early-career librarians (0-10 years)
  • Pre-tenure equates to mid-career librarians (10-20 years)
  • Tenure equates to late-career librarians (20+)

"Section 17, Global Satisfaction" refers to the chief academic officer. Who plays that role at Emory?

  • For this section, the “chief academic officer” is the provost.

Click Here to Download PDF