Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE)
Faculty Satisfaction Survey
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 faculty experience at their institution.
At Iowa State, the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost administers the COACHE survey every four years. We use the survey results and participant feedback to assess needs and to implement future best practices with regard to hiring, promotion, retention, campus climate, and diversity. The institutional data reports provide Iowa State leaders with a powerful tool to increase the quality of work-life for our faculty; to advance a reputation as a great place for faculty to work; to provoke better questions from and more informed decisions by prospective faculty; and to generate ideas and initiatives from faculty that enrich and expand the range of possible improvements.
Learn more about the spring 2021 COACHE survey in this brief video message from Provost Jonathan Wickert and Faculty Senate President Carol Faber.
ISU 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.
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.
ISU 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.