By SUSAN JONES
The provost’s office quietly released the results of last year’s COACHE survey of full-time faculty on job satisfaction, and some of the issues raised on the 2016 survey — clarity on tenure expectations and policies and the timeframe for promotion to full professor — have improved but continue to be a concern.
“Although we have much to be proud of, there are still areas where we can improve,” Laurie Kirsch, vice provost for Faculty Affairs, Development and Diversity, said in a letter to faculty sent before she stepped down from that role at the end of June. “These results serve merely as a guide for future discussions on how to increase job satisfaction and how to help ensure the continued success of our faculty.”
The survey from the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education was administered in spring 2019 and had a 42 percent response rate at Pitt — slightly less than the average (46 percent) of the 103 institutions that participated. Pitt’s responses include 467 tenured, 186 tenure-stream, and 591 appointment-stream faculty.
In addition to being compared to all 130 participating schools, Pitt also was measured against five peer schools — Indiana University–Bloomington, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, Purdue University, University of Virginia, and University of Texas at Austin.
2019 COACHE Results on 25 Key Benchmarks
The first column (mean) is the overall score (between 1 and 5) for all faculty respondents at Pitt.
The next columns (overall through urm) describe how faculty responses at Pitt compare to similar faculty at other COACHE institutions, i.e. tenured vs. tenured, men vs. men, etc.
The triangle symbols represent the results that fit COACHE’s criteria for “areas of strength” (in green) and “areas of concern” (in red).
The triangle symbol on the left is the comparison of Pitt with its five peers — Indiana University–Bloomington, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, Purdue University, University of Virginia, and University of Texas at Austin. If the triangle is green, it means that Pitt ranks 1st or 2nd among peers. If the triangle is grey Pitt ranks 3rd or 4th, and if the triangle is red Pitt rank 5th or 6th. If the triangle is white, there is insufficient data for comparison.
The triangle symbol on the right is the comparison of Pitt with all members of the cohort. The green triangle means that Pitt is in the top 30%, the grey triangle means that Pitt is in the middle 40%, and the red triangle means that Pitt is in the bottom 30%.
Overall, 94 percent said they would recommend or strongly recommend their department as a place to work and 74 percent said if they had to do it again, they would select Pitt. These numbers are identical to the survey results from spring 2016.
Compared to all participating institutions, Pitt faculty are more satisfied, or in the top third, in 10 of the 25 benchmarks.
- Nature of Work: Research
- Nature of Work: Teaching
- Facilities and Work Resources
- Personal and Family Policies
- Health and Retirement Benefits
- Interdisciplinary Work
- Leadership: Senior
- Leadership: Divisional
- Governance: Shared Sense of Purpose
Pitt faculty felt overall that interdisciplinary work is rewarded in merit and promotion. Among all institutions and peers, faculty were especially positive about opportunities for collaboration within their department and the effectiveness of mentoring outside their department.
Compared to all participating institutions, Pitt ranked in the bottom third in only the Departmental Leadership benchmark. When looking at peers, Pitt faculty also were less satisfied (in the bottom third) in the Facilities and Work Resources benchmark, including equipment, classrooms, library resources, and computing and technical support.
Overall, Pitt faculty also were less satisfied on discussions of undergraduate student learning, faculty teaching schedules, the number of courses taught, level of courses taught, and support for teaching.
Find the details about the 2019 and 2016 surveys on the provost’s website.
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at email@example.com or 412-648-4294.
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