Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE)
The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education, or COACHE, based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is a consortium of over 250 colleges and universities committed to making the academic workplace more attractive and equitable for all faculty. The core component of COACHE is a faculty satisfaction survey specially designed to provide information about the faculty experience at their institution.
At Iowa State University, the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost works with the Faculty Senate as well as Institutional Research and other work groups that comprise faculty and administrators to plan the COACHE survey. Since 2006, Iowa State has collaborated with COACHE to conduct this survey approximately every four years. Iowa State uses faculty responses to assess needs, develop action plans, and implement best practices to strengthen hiring, promotion, retention, campus climate, and diversity. In addition, the COACHE reports provide Iowa State leaders with a powerful tool to increase the quality of faculty work-life; advance a reputation as a great place for faculty to work; and generate ideas and initiatives from faculty that enrich and expand the range of possible improvements.
Continued participation in COACHE for more than 15 years has provided Iowa State leaders with a way to track institutional progress in key areas related to faculty satisfaction. To learn more, read COACHE Throughout The Years 2005 - Present.
In 2021, 904 of 1527 eligible faculty responded to the survey, comprising a 56% response rate. The average survey completion time was 22 minutes. As Iowa State faculty work toward fulfilling the land-grant mission and meeting institutional strategic goals, COACHE data affords administrators and faculty an opportunity to examine data and explore within-campus differences for the overall faculty and across faculty subgroups. To learn more about the survey, response rates, and the COACHE benchmarks, read the Overview.
A 2021 At a Glance for All Faculty document organizes additional information about Iowa State faculty’s experiences. In addition, Iowa State provides brief reports for each of the COACHE benchmarks. Review brief reports for each topic noted below:
- 2021 At a Glance for All Faculty
- Nature of Work
- Resources and Support
- Collaboration, Interdisciplinary Work, and Mentoring
- Tenure and Promotion
- Faculty Senate
- The Department: Collegiality, Engagement, Quality, and Leadership
- Appreciation and Recognition
- All COACHE Benchmark Reports
The COACHE data affords administrators and faculty an opportunity to examine data and explore within-campus differences for the overall faculty and across faculty subgroups. It is important to work together to enhance areas of strength and collaboratively address opportunities for growth. Results are used to guide and inform initiatives for improvement. To learn more, read Take Home Points, Next Steps, and Additional Resources.
Persons can request access to the COACHE data for research purposes. For more information, complete a COACHE Data Request form.
The COACHE Action Team will collaborate with the Assistant Provost for Faculty Development to review COACHE data insights and patterns as well as develop and implement action plans and solutions across the institution and within academic colleges. All faculty (tenure-eligible, tenured, and term) are eligible to serve. Each Dean/Associate Dean recommended 1-2 COACHE Action Team Members to represent their academic college.
The Assistant Provost for Faculty Development will chair the committee and outline key priorities for the team to pursue. COACHE Action Team Member responsibilities include planning activities in collaboration with the college administration to raise awareness about COACHE and explore possible solutions; working within their academic college to develop and implement action plans and solutions based on institutional and college-level COACHE data; and promoting cross-college communications about COACHE.
To share your thoughts and gain additional information, contact your COACHE Action Team representative.
Faculty asked to complete two surveys this semester, January 28, 2021
Faculty job satisfaction survey results shared with senators, February 17, 2022
COACHE faculty survey data available online, May 24, 2022
A followup on COACHE faculty survey results, October 13, 2022
Iowa State is participating in COACHE’s Faculty and Retention Exit Survey. The Faculty Retention and Exit Survey is the only multi-institutional survey of faculty retention and departure in higher education. The overarching goal is to provide an avenue for systematic, coordinated effort for universities to collaborate in research design or data analysis and develop a common understanding of faculty mobility. Partner institutions are poised to make significant improvements in faculty exit management through a sustained commitment to this applied research.
Iowa State first participated in the survey between 2016 through 2019. This is the second time we have hired COACHE to conduct the Faculty Retention and Exit Survey. Our participation will continue through 2023. After the first administration, we gained valuable insight about factors that contributed to faculty members’ decision to stay at Iowa State as well as variations in demographic characteristics and opportunities to strengthen our training and development programs for faculty and administrators. The survey and qualitative data yielded useful data to strengthen our institutional approaches and culture.
Key areas of foci include:
- the factors influencing faculty decisions to stay or to accept external offers;
- the duration, progression, and observations of the job search and transition; and
- the qualities and importance of external offers and counteroffers.
With the guidance of subject matter experts and an advisory group of campus administrators, COACHE created the Faculty Retention and Exit Survey (FR&E) for full-time faculty who, in the prior academic year, had been involved in a retention or voluntary separation action. When partners agree to participate, we invite all of their faculty members who had an offer to work elsewhere to take part in this survey, regardless of their decision to stay or leave.
The survey’s themes span:
- the search for a new position;
- the nature of the outside offer;
- the compelling factors in a decision to depart or stay;
- the influence of spouses’ and partners’ careers;
- the counteroffer process;
- the transition to a new institution;
- the work environment; and of course,
- the demographic characteristics of our population.
With a shareable, adaptive, and validated instrument to support the individual efforts of universities to date, COACHE and its partners will better understand how to succeed at retention actions, how to prevent retention cases in the first place, and how to make smarter investments in faculty development and success. In addition, we have learned that there is value in simply asking faculty about their experiences: doing so imparts a sense, even as faculty are leaving, that their university cares about them.