November 19, 2018
Dear faculty colleagues,
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I know many of you are busy preparing for some well-deserved time off with your families, friends and loved ones. The time I spend with my children and family during Thanksgiving is something I cherish deeply each year, and I wish you and your families the best during this special time. Before you leave, I wanted to share with you the results of the faculty job satisfaction survey we recently administered.
Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education
Success in your professional and academic career is guided by many factors, and one of the most significant is how satisfied you are here at UT Austin. My goal is to reinforce a supportive faculty culture and address areas where we can improve so faculty members are empowered to excel.
In 2017, we partnered with the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE). This survey is designed to assess faculty job satisfaction and benchmark our results against faculty members at other research institutions across the country. Your feedback is essential as we strive to attract and retain the best and brightest scholars and teachers, increase the satisfaction of current faculty members, and make UT Austin a desirable place to build and advance your career.
The survey results are encouraging. UT Austin faculty members report high levels of satisfaction with working at UT Austin and within their departments.
Faculty identify their colleagues as the best aspect of working at UT Austin.
Faculty members were asked to identify the best aspects of working at UT Austin including topics such as benefits, various campus stakeholders, elements of the academic culture, and city characteristics. The most frequently chosen best aspects were:
- Quality of colleagues
- Quality of graduate students
- Geographic location
Faculty satisfaction varies by tenure status.
Approximately 69 percent of faculty members say they are satisfied or very satisfied with working at the university. When looking at the data by tenure status, tenured faculty are less satisfied than non-tenured faculty. There were no significant differences in satisfaction between tenure-track professors and their tenured and non-tenured colleagues.
Many top rated and lowest rated survey themes are similar to those identified by faculty at other research institutions.
Faculty members were asked to rate a series of items representing different themes about the day-to-day work life and environment at UT Austin. They most highly rated the following survey themes:
- Health and retirement benefits
- Department quality
- Department colleagues
These same themes, except for health and retirement benefits, were also rated highest by the national comparison group.
In comparison, the lowest rated themes were:
- Interdisciplinary work
- Governance adaptability (how well shared governance holds in unusual circumstances)
- Governance understanding (how well shared governance provides opportunities for input and communicates rationale behind decisions)
These same themes were rated lowest by our national comparison group.
These results are informative, and there are clearly areas where we need to work together as a campus community to improve.
The university is using these findings to inform decisions to improve support for all faculty members. I intend to continue conducting the COACHE survey every three years so we can track our progress. The next survey will be administered in 2020.
To those of you who participated in the survey, thank you. I commit to do everything I can to make UT a great place for faculty members to work and build their careers. This feedback helps to guide us.
Again, have a great Thanksgiving holiday.
Executive Vice President and Provost
The University of Texas at Austin