Vanderbilt University has joined peer institutions in the administration of a national survey on faculty job satisfaction in order to assess and, where necessary, make improvements to the faculty experience.
Vanderbilt is partnering with the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) to identify the drivers of faculty success and to implement informed changes. COACHE is a research and membership organization that has been operating from the Harvard Graduate School of Education since 2003.
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan Wente informed faculty about the survey in a message emailed to them Feb. 1. The survey is designed for full-time, tenured and tenure-track faculty, and excludes faculty in their first year at Vanderbilt.
Participating faculty are encouraged to share their opinions through the job satisfaction survey, which was emailed to them by COACHE on Feb. 3. Participation will entail completing the 25-minute, Web-based survey. COACHE ensures absolute confidentiality of all responses by faculty; the organization houses the raw data, with the Vanderbilt administration and faculty only able to see the aggregate responses. To ensure this confidentiality, COACHE will not provide any analysis involving less than five faculty members. For example, COACHE would not share an assessment of the experience of minority faculty members for a particular department if that department has less than five underrepresented minority faculty members. To give faculty time to respond and to secure a good response rate, the survey will remain open until April 10. The data will be ready for analysis by mid-summer.
The survey will provide information in areas such as the nature of the work (overall, research, teaching and service), resources and support, interdisciplinary work, collaboration, mentoring, tenure and promotion, work and personal life balance, and recruitment and retention, among others.
“To make the best possible decisions in regard to how best to support our amazing faculty, we need to learn more about their thinking about teaching, research and service,” said John Geer, vice provost for academic and strategic affairs. “The results from this survey will play an important role in that process.”
A key part of this survey will be gathering information to advance the university’s understanding of diversity on campus. In particular, the survey will ask faculty a series of unique questions that will shed light on their experiences and thinking in a range of areas, including gender, race and ethnicity, disabilities, sexual orientation, and gender identity. George C. Hill, vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion, appointed a committee to help identify a useful set of questions.
“We are pleased to participate in the faculty survey,” Hill said. “It is a beginning as we start to evaluate the description of and thoughts about the climate here at Vanderbilt related to equity, diversity and inclusion. We will be engaging in other opportunities soon as well.”
A summary report and analysis of the results, which will include comparisons to faculty responses from similar institutions, will be made available by the start of the fall semester.
For questions or more information, please contact Chelsie Whitelock at (615) 343-5697 or