Faculty job satisfaction survey results shared with senators

Assistant provost for faculty development Tera Jordan presented results of the COACHE faculty job satisfaction survey at the Feb. 15 Faculty Senate meeting.

The 2021 survey was administered from Feb. 1 to April 13 and had a 56% response rate (856 of 1,527 eligible faculty). All full-time faculty except those in their final year at Iowa State receive the survey. Administrators at the assistant dean level and higher don't participate in the COACHE survey. The response rate varied among groups:

  • 64% of underrepresented faculty
  • 61% of women faculty
  • 60% of white faculty
  • 42% of Asian faculty

Four areas faculty selected among the best aspects of working at ISU are:

  • Quality of colleagues (30%)
  • Cost of living (17%)
  • Academic freedom (16%)
  • Support of colleagues (14%)

Four areas they selected in need of improvement are:

  • Compensation (27%)
  • Geographic location (22%)
  • Too much service/too many assignments (15%)
  • Lack of diversity (14%)

Seventy percent of faculty said they would choose to work at ISU again, but only 55% would strongly recommend their department as a place to work, Jordan said. Thirty-five percent would recommend their department with reservations, a number similar to peer institutions.

Universities that complete the COACHE survey are allowed to compare their results to up to five other institutions. Iowa State selected the same peers from previous years: North Carolina State University, Purdue University, Texas Tech University, University of California, Davis, and Virginia Tech.

"It allows for custom questions that gives us a rich source of data and information in the survey," Jordan said. "Compensation and too much service were also in the top four areas and at about the same percentages for improvement for our peer institutions."

ISU faculty have participated in the survey every three to four years since 2005-06. Jordan said survey results contributed to several changes, including improved clarity and guidelines for faculty advancement and review, strengthening of faculty mentoring and enhanced faculty leadership programing.

Survey results will be posted on the provost's website when they are prepared.

Strategic plan

Vice president for research Peter Dorhout presented a progress update on the next university strategic plan. A second town hall for faculty and staff is Feb. 21 (4:30-5:30 p.m., 0114 Student Innovation Center). It also will be livestreamed.

Start time

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert said conversations have begun to determine if class start times will remain as they are or revert to the pre-pandemic schedule. Beginning in fall 2020, the passing time between Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes was increased by five minutes, from 10 to 15 minutes, to provide more time to empty classrooms and ease congestion. Classes currently begin at 7:45 a.m. and end at 6:20 p.m. instead of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Committee shuffle

Faculty Senate president Andrea Wheeler announced University Professor of biomedical sciences Tim Day is leaving his position as chair of the judiciary and appeals committee to serve in a role for President Wendy Wintersteen. University Professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering Steve Freeman will serve as interim chair until Day's term ends in May. Matthew Frank, industrial and manufacturing systems engineering professor, will replace Freeman as chair of the governance council.

Other business

Senators will vote at the March meeting on a name change for the undergraduate agriculture and society major, to agricultural and rural policy studies, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Ninety-one percent of current students voted in favor of a name change in a recent survey, and sociology department faculty voted 17-0 in favor of the change. Students said the current name is confusing to employers.

Senators also approved a change to the catalog in effect policy to clarify students can graduate under a catalog from the previous six years. The change adds a year due to students taking longer to graduate. The year range can cover the period a student is enrolled at an accredited college or university, not just ISU.