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COACHE faculty satisfaction survey open until April 12
emory campus tower with flowers in foreground

With just two weeks left to go, organizers of Emory’s 2023 Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) faculty satisfaction survey are optimistic that participation will surpass the 2020 survey, providing valuable feedback to help Emory leadership make decisions that improve the faculty experience. More than 40% of eligible faculty have already completed the survey, which closes on Wednesday, April 12.

Until then, the race is on.

Before the survey opened in February, the COACHE steering committee set two goals: for each school to reach 50% participation and for Emory’s participation rate to exceed the national average (dozens of peer institutions also participate in COACHE, allowing cross-institution benchmarking).

In 2020, Emory faculty responded to the survey at a rate of 32%, while the national participation rate averaged 44%. As of April 3, Emory’s total participation rate stood at 43.6%, slightly below the national average of 44.2%. Many schools and units, such as Candler School of Theology, Emory Libraries, Oxford College, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and Emory University School of Law have surpassed that first milestone as well as their total participation rates from 2020.

At the start of week seven, participation rates are as follows:

76.2% – Candler School of Theology
72.7% – Emory Libraries
69.4% – Oxford College
56.2% – Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
55.3% – Goizueta Business School
52.9% – Emory University School of Law
49.5% – Emory College of Arts and Sciences
38.9% – School of Medicine
37.1% – Rollins School of Public Health

Emory Law increased its participation by 10 points from week six to seven.

High participation rates help ensure a robust collection of data that reflects Emory’s entire faculty population, says Pearl Dowe, vice provost for faculty affairs and chair of the COACHE steering committee. “I want you to know that not only does your voice matter, but every voice matters, and it’s important that our survey results are truly representative,” Dowe wrote in a recent communication to eligible faculty.

Fellow steering committee member Jan Barton, associate professor of accounting at Goizueta Business School, notes that higher participation rates allow for a deeper analysis of survey results.

“It’s crucial to have sufficiently large sample sizes when we partition the data for analysis,” Barton says, referring to COACHE’s reporting practice of sharing only aggregate data with no cells smaller than five respondents, a policy designed to maintain the anonymity of individual participants. “For a school with a relatively small size like ours, it’s hard to get partitions at the area level that include gender and/or rank, for example, unless there’s a high degree of participation.”

Perks for participating

Eligible faculty have received a personalized survey invitation via their Emory email address from Faculty who cannot find their original link to the survey may request one by contacting

To encourage participation, the steering committee is offering a $5 coffee shop gift card to faculty members of the school with the highest participation rate. On top of the free coffee and bragging rights, greater participation leads to positive changes for faculty. Data from the 2020 survey, for example, indicated faculty concern about parental leave and compensation, which were addressed with a new policy expanding parental leave and the launch of comprehensive school-based reviews, respectively.

Mary Anne Bobinski, dean of Emory Law, says 2023 results may be useful in new ways. “The law school greatly benefited from reviewing the last COACHE survey results, and this year’s survey will provide important information about faculty needs and interests during this period of transformation,” says Bobinski, who will complete her five-year term as dean in summer 2024. New leadership in Law and other schools and units can also benefit from fresh, current data, organizers note.

After the survey is complete

At a community-wide Charter Week gathering in February, shortly before the COACHE survey launched, President Gregory L. Fenves presented a renewed vision for Emory’s strategic framework, One Emory: Ambition and Heart. A key focus area of One Emory is Faculty Eminence, which Fenves called “the foundation of Emory.”

“Through their research, faculty answer the great questions, seek knowledge and serve society through their insights, discoveries, scholarship, and artistic creations,” Fenves said during the address. “And they are the teachers who educate our students, shaping new generations of leaders.”

Through the COACHE survey, faculty have a unique opportunity for dialogue about eminence and the resources and opportunities that can best support it, Dowe notes. When the COACHE organization, which is affiliated with Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, returns survey results to Emory, university and school leadership will have the information needed to assess progress in key areas, address areas of concern and collaborate with faculty to create an environment that enhances success.

Emory Institutional Research and Decision Support (IRDS) expects to receive the first data reports from COACHE in August 2023. IRDS will begin its analysis by looking at the overall institutional findings and comparing them to national averages as well as those of Emory’s peers, which include Brown University, Georgetown University, University of Texas at Austin, Rutgers University and Tulane University.

Next, the COACHE steering committee “will then start breaking the data by school to create summary dashboards that deans can use to see their school’s data as compared to overall trends at Emory,” says Justin Shepherd, associate vice provost of Institutional Research and Decision Support and COACHE steering committee member.

Finally, IRDS and the COACHE steering committee will look at survey responses broken out by the demographic information of faculty to explore differences that may arise between groups on the various topics and modules covered in the survey. Throughout the 2023-24 academic year, data will be presented to deans, associate deans and constituents, including faculty and organizations such as affinity groups, to help schools develop plans for action.

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