Published February 16, 2022
UB is once again participating in the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) survey of faculty career satisfaction.
This national research survey, operated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and specifically designed for full-time faculty, assesses faculty views on an important range of university policies, practices and working conditions in order to provide institutions with valuable feedback and benchmarking data. More than 300 institutions have taken part in the survey, which is conducted annually, since it began in 2003.
The survey records faculty satisfaction with a variety of topics related to teaching, service and research; tenure and promotion; departmental engagement and collegiality; and other aspects of the academic workplace, UB administrators say.
COACHE provides faculty “an opportunity to share their voice and offer input into all dimensions of faculty life,” says Tilman M. Baumstark, associate vice provost for faculty affairs.
The exercise offers an opportunity for faculty “to weigh in and highlight the areas where there is great satisfaction or considerable concern,” adds Robert Granfield, vice provost for faculty affairs. “It’s an opportunity for the university to take stock in itself.”
Participation in COACHE is a collaborative effort at UB, Granfield says, with an advisory group of faculty and staff overseeing the effort, including compiling 15 UB-specific questions that were added to the general COACHE survey. These questions focus on such topics as any lingering effects of the pandemic that may be affecting faculty productivity and well-being, shared governance and UB’s ongoing diversity efforts.
This is the fifth time UB is participating in the COACHE survey; the last survey was administered in 2017. By participating in the survey, UB has gathered data that have contributed to the development of improved policies and programs that enhance faculty career success and satisfaction, Granfield and Baumstark say. Among them are a revised faculty mentoring program, creation of a task force to look at professional development and promotion policies, and the recent hiring of a director of faculty recognition, who is tasked with identifying, supporting and managing nominations for prestigious faculty awards.
In addition, a number of academic units have updated and created their own policies based on data gathered through COACHE, Granfield adds.
Once data have been gathered, results will be taken “on the road,” Granfield says, and shared with faculty at various forums, including faculty meetings, town halls, workshops and retreats.
He conceded that completing the 25-minute, web-based survey is “a big ask” of faculty, but it can be completed in small segments. The survey will remain open into early April.
The survey launched last week, and all full-time, tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty should have received a unique link to the survey from COACHE (firstname.lastname@example.org) in their UB email account. All responses are confidential, and COACHE will not use any name or email address for any purpose except this study. More information about the COACHE survey and UB’s participation in it is available online. Those with questions may contact Granfield via email or at 645-3594, or contact COACHE directly.
Granfield calls COACHE “one important mechanism to ascertain the views of our faculty.”
Adds Baumstark: “This is an opportunity for everyone to come together and make UB a better place — a better place to work, to prosper in their career and to find satisfaction engaging with students, colleagues and the community.”