Saturday, August 25, 2012
Cathy A. Trower (Harvard University, Graduate School of Education), Success on the Tenure Track: Five Keys to Faculty Job Satisfaction (2012):
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? And what makes an institution a great place to work?
In 2005–2006, the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education surveyed more than 15,000 tenure-track faculty at 200 participating institutions to assess their job satisfaction. The survey was designed around five key themes for faculty satisfaction:
- Tenure Clarity
- Work-Life Balance
- Support for Research
Success on the Tenure Track positions the survey data in the context of actual colleges and universities and real faculty and administrators who talk about what works and why. 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 how to increase their employee satisfaction. Additional chapters discuss faculty demographics, trends in employment practices, what leaders can do to create and sustain a great workplace for faculty, and what the future might hold for tenure.
- Chronicle of Higher Education, What Makes Professors Happy on the Tenure Track? A New Book Explains
(Hat Tip: Derek Muller.)
Update: Glenn Reynolds (Tennessee) adds a sixth key to faculty job satisfaction:
I’ll add one more: Outside income. When I first got tenure, I talked to the older guys who seemed happy in their positions to try to figure out what worked, and all of them mentioned that. It doesn’t have to be a lot — a few thousand bucks a year is enough, really — the key is to feel sufficiently independent that you don’t become one of those people who obsess over whether this year’s raise is two percent or two-and-a-half. And yes, such people exist. They’re not among the happy faculty, though. . . .