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Success on the Tenure Track

Five Keys to Faculty Job Satisfaction

Cathy Ann Trower

Publication Year: 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, collegiality, and leadership. 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. An actively engaged faculty is crucial for American higher education to retain its global competitiveness. Cathy Ann Trower’s analysis provides colleges and universities a considerable inside advantage to get on the right track toward a happy, productive workforce.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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Author’s Note

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pp. xi-xiv

The views expressed in this book are mine alone.
Seven public universities are featured in this volume as “exemplary,” in that their mean results on certain Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) survey benchmarks exceeded those of all other public university participants (32 in total) in 2005– 6. It should be noted, however...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-23

This book describes the elements of the workplace that pre-tenure faculty say are most critical to their satisfaction and success (discussed in chapters 3– 6), provides quantitative data about faculty satisfaction and dissatisfaction with those factors, and showcases the policies and practices at seven public research...

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2. Study Background and Methodology

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pp. 24-36

COACHE began as the Study of New Scholars (SNS), a research project funded by the Ford Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies with two primary goals: (1) to make the academy a more equitable and appealing place for new faculty to work in order to ensure that academic institutions attract the best and...

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3. Tenure

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pp. 37-62

It seems some things never change, and one of those is that there has always been a debate1 around tenure— a debate that, simplistically stated, has pitted academic freedom and the attraction of talent to the professoriate against institutional flexibility and the prevention of complacency. What...

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4. Work-Life Integration

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pp. 63-92

In any conversation with faculty, it does not take long before the issue of work-life balance, or lack thereof, arises. Many pre-tenure faculty members find themselves wrestling with the constraints imposed by the traditional tenure- track model. Academic careers are increasingly considered a mismatch...

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5. Support for Research and Teaching

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pp. 93-121

The workplace demands of today’s college and university faculty are ever increasing.1 This is especially true for junior faculty on the tenure track, where pressure to acquire grants and to publish in top journals is mounting (O’Meara et al. 2008). Although obtaining research funding can be a painstaking process...

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6. Culture, Climate, and Collegiality

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pp. 122-155

Getting one’s mind and arms around institutional climate, departmental culture, and camaraderie among colleagues is challenging yet crucial to understanding pre-tenure faculty workplace satisfaction.1 In fact, no other measures have greater impact on global satisfaction and intention to stay (Chaffee...

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7. Engaging Leaders across the Campus

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pp. 156-181

This chapter offers ideas for university leaders (the president and provost, deans, department heads and chairs, and senior faculty) to make progress on improving the workplace for pre-tenure faculty in order to help ensure their satisfaction, success, productivity, and intentions to stay. In order to effectively...

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8. The Future of the Tenure Track

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pp. 182-202

What might be the future of the tenure track, and what core assumptions might we rethink? Like most of us, I suspect, I wish I had a crystal ball so that I knew what the future will hold in store for faculty. Since I don’t, I am wary of making predictions. Therefore, this concluding chapter will highlight...


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pp. 203-204

A: In-Depth Interview Guide

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pp. 205-213

B: Master List of Interview Categories for Coding

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p. 214-214

C: University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Faculty Appointments and Review

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pp. 215-218

D: University of Kansas General Principles for Developing Faculty Evaluation Plans

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pp. 219-222

E: Ohio State University Core Dossier Outline (Criteria for Tenure)

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pp. 223-228

F: University of Iowa Tenure Dossier

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pp. 229-232

G: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Dual-Career Academic Couples Program

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pp. 233-235

H: Mentoring at the University of Iowa

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pp. 236-238

I: Ohio State University Academic Plan Scorecard, Update 2006

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pp. 239-242


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pp. 243-248


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pp. 249-262


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pp. 263-269

E-ISBN-13: 9781421406497
E-ISBN-10: 1421406497
Print-ISBN-13: 9781421405971
Print-ISBN-10: 1421405970

Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 18 line drawings
Publication Year: 2012