The COACHE survey research is part of a national program called the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE), which has been operating from the Harvard Graduate School of Education since 2003.
More than 300 institutions nationwide participate in this survey, administered once a year, to capture faculty satisfaction with a range of aspects related to teaching, service and research, tenure and promotion, departmental engagement and collegiality, and other aspects of the academic workplace.
The University at Buffalo has engaged with COACHE to administer this survey in its respective iterations during the years 2006, 2010, 2012 and, most recently, 2017. In 2022, University at Buffalo is once more utilizing COACHE and faculty response to continue improving satisfaction here at UB.
UB has previously participated in the survey for the third time in Spring 2017 (most recent previous survey in 2011). Unlike previous COACHE surveys, which were limited to tenured and tenure-track faculty, in 2017 the survey was expanded to all full-time faculty (defined by COACHE as 75% and above), including clinical, research and other non-tenure-track faculty. The results of the 2017 survey led to the development of the office of Recognition and Awards for Faculty, as well as other initiatives aimed at improving faculty satisfaction. UB continues to work with COACHE to develop a similar survey for part-time faculty to collect data about their experience and job satisfaction for future COACHE surveys.
The results of past COACHE surveys informed decisions and policy in support of faculty across all departments. Past surveys contributed to the development of improved policies and programs that directly benefited faculty. The results of the 2022 COACHE survey will help UB assess the effectiveness of these and other initiatives so that we better understand what we do well and identifiy areas where we can enhance policies and programs to make UB an even better place to work.
The resulting data from theses surveys are shared with faculty in various forms, including faculty meetings, town halls, workshops and retreats.
All full-time faculty in a primary appointment of 0.75 FTE or more , who have been employed at UB for a year or more, are invited to take the survey. In 2022, these were over 2100 UB faculty members, including 1159 tenured or tenure-track faculty and 970 faculty members in qualified ranks (non-tenure track).
For UB to make continued progress towards our goal to be an institution that fosters diversity, inclusive excellence, and a sense of belonging and opportunity, the full spectrum of voices that form our vibrant faculty need to be heard. By broadly participating in the survey, faculty across units, disciplines, ranks, carreer stages, and different demographic and cultural backgrounds can ensure that their unique perspectives are included in the conversations, policies and processes that shape our university.
Participation entailed completing a 25-minute, web-based survey; a unique link to the survey was emailed to faculty via their UB email address from COACHE in the second week of February. Subsequently, the COACHE survey administrators followed up with four email reminders over the weeks to those who hadn't completed the survey, before the survey closed in early April.
COACHE does not use any name or email address for any purposes except for this research. The data provided to UB were received and are kept on a secure server with oversight by Craig Abbey, Vice Provost for Institutional Analysis and Planning. No administrators, staff or faculty members outside the Office of Institutional Analysis at UB have access to the unit-record data.
More information on how the survey was administered and how data are handled securely and anonymously by COACHE can be found here.
In a process approved by Harvard’s institutional review board, COACHE provided our campus with their summary report, as well as the confidential unit-record database, stripped of names and e-mail addresses. The data provided to UB have been be received and continue to be kept on a secure server with oversight by Craig Abbey, Vice Provost for Institutional Analysis and Planning. No administrators, staff or faculty member outside the Office of Institutional Analysis at UB have access to the unit-record data. To protect confidentiality and guarantee that the results of this survey cannot influence personnel decisions about individual faculty members, Institutional Analysis staff will make survey results available only with data aggregated in cells of five respondents or more, so that individual faculty and individual departments cannot be identified.
More information about the summary report to the provost and optional reports for deans can be found on the COACHE reporting pages.
COACHE questions are organized into constructs that explore different dimensions of the faculty experience. These constructs, or themes, include the Nature of Work in Research, Teaching, and Service, Personal and Family Policies, Benefits, Resources and Support, Mentoring, Interdisciplinary Work and Collaboration, Aspects of Leadership and Governance, Departmental Quality and Engagement, and Appreciation and Recognition. Answers to survey items that share a common theme are presented grouped together, and averaged into benchmarks for particular areas of facutly work/life.
In addition to the COACHE constructs, the UB Team developed a small number of custom questions to explore themes around the experience of COVID-19, efforts to increase diversity, shared governance, UB's Top-25 aspirations, and faculty awards.
Institutional Analysis is able to provide secondary analysis of the results to explore and highlight broad patterns in the data and provide support in preparing visualizations that can be shared broadly with the campus community through various presentations and on this website. The Harvard/COACHE report and additional secondary analysis by faculty-led exploration teams serve as the starting point for a campus-wide discussion of the results and a broad conversation on possible next steps. These efforts will assist with planning and developing improved academic policies and practices across campus.
For information on the 2017 faculty survey at UB and pages from the COACHE report, see here