Faculty encouraged to complete survey to assess satisfaction with academic life at Emory

Emory Report | April 2, 2020

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To help Emory deepen its understanding of the faculty experience and provide support as the university navigates the COVID-19 pandemic and also looks forward to the future, faculty are encouraged to complete an online survey by the extended deadline of April 20.

Emory has partnered with the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for the survey. It covers every aspect of a faculty member’s academic life, including facilities and work resources, opportunities for interdisciplinary work, mentoring and recognition, and a range of university policies related to benefits, promotion and governance. 

This survey is running at a difficult time for Emory. “We recognize that our faculty are on the front lines of our transition to remote learning in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, all aspects of our faculty’s professional and personal lives have been impacted,” notes Tim Holbrook, vice provost for faculty affairs. “The Emory administration is working continually to better understand how it can support faculty, both in times of crisis and in the times that follow. The COACHE research helps us to understand the issues that are important, in the short-term and the long-term, to you.” 

The survey takes approximately 25 minutes to complete. Responses are confidential and will be handled through the COACHE project team. Emory expects to gain actionable insights that will be shared with the faculty community beginning in fall 2020.

“Emory’s level of dedication and commitment to its faculty is huge,” says Nadine Kaslow, professor and vice chair for faculty development in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

“As faculty, we are asked to participate in countless surveys, and many times, these surveys just provide information,” continues Kaslow, who also serves as director of the postdoctoral fellowship program in professional psychology in the School of Medicine. “I appreciate that Emory is going to propose and vet action plans based on COACHE Survey data to effect actual changes that will improve the faculty experience.”

“Emory’s faculty continue to be among the university’s highest priorities,” says Christa Acampora, deputy provost for academic affairs. “Our participation in the COACHE survey is a direct response to the call by faculty leadership for the university to assess and address the faculty experience across the full spectrum of faculty ranks, practices and disciplinary expertise. 

“What we learn from the results will help us continue to advance the One Emory strategic framework, which calls for fostering an academic environment that attracts, promotes and retains scholars, researchers and teachers of the highest caliber and achieves Emory’s full potential for an ethically engaged, diverse community,” Acampora says. 

A comprehensive survey of this nature was also called for in Toward Faculty Eminence: Inclusivity, Equity and Professional Development, formerly known as Class and Labor II.

All full-time Emory faculty and faculty-equivalent librarians received COACHE Survey invitations directly from Harvard in February. According to data from April 1, Emory’s collective response rate for full-time faculty is 35 percent, in contrast to the national survey response rate average of 44.6 percent. The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted nearly every dimension of life at Emory. As a result, understandably, participation has lagged over the last two weeks. 

On a national level, Emory is one of more than 200 colleges and universities to participate in the survey. Because thousands of faculty members around the country participate in the same survey, answers will provide a basis of comparison with peer institutions.

Results will be shared with the Emory faculty community in October, and town halls will be held in the fall to engage faculty in addressing insights. Drawing upon the expertise within Emory faculty, the COACHE Steering Committee will work to develop action plans to address issues identified by the survey. The action plans will be vetted with various constituencies across the university.

For more information, please visit Emory’s COACHE Survey website.