Florida State scores high marks in faculty satisfaction survey

A shared sense of purpose, trust in university governance and positive views of senior leadership by faculty set Florida State University apart from its peers, according to results of the latest Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education survey.

Last spring, Florida State’s faculty participated in the COACHE survey, which assesses the faculty’s level of satisfaction across multiple domains and compares the results to other universities across the nation as well as a select group of peer institutions.

The results were very positive: 94 percent of FSU faculty members would recommend their department to faculty at other universities, while 77 percent of participants said FSU is a very good place to work.

The report continues Florida State’s run of good news. In September, FSU climbed seven spots to No. 26 among national public universities in the U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” rankings. In June, Florida State completed the most ambitious fundraising campaign in university history, raising nearly $1.16 billion, and FSU placed first among all State University System of Florida institutions with a four-year graduation rate of 68.4 percent.

“It is particularly gratifying to see how successful we have become in our faculty satisfaction results and how well we do in comparison to national and especially peer institutions,” said Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Sally McRorie. “As we’ve risen in the national rankings over the past four years, the satisfaction levels of our faculty have improved markedly during the same period. Many thanks go to the leadership of Vice President Kistner and her team in ensuring strong faculty support and success.”

Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement Janet Kistner said the COACHE survey results help pinpoint the university’s strengths and areas of concern, while fostering discussions about ways to improve faculty life at Florida State.

“Relative to our peer institutions, FSU faculty are more satisfied with many of the very important aspects of their work lives,” Kistner said. “The results also identify areas with room for improvement. Over the next few months, I look forward to discussing our results with faculty groups and collaborating with them to develop programs and policies that make FSU an even better academic home for our faculty.”

In the COACHE survey, Florida State scored high marks in the faculty’s opinions on university support for faculty research and teaching. Ninety percent of those surveyed said they are satisfied with their research autonomy, and 91 percent feel they have appropriate control over what they teach.

The results also indicated that 69 percent of FSU’s faculty are satisfied or very satisfied with the president’s priorities, and 69 percent viewed the university’s shared governance as effective.

Diversity and inclusion, one of FSU’s six strategic goals, is a strength, according to the COACHE results. Seventy-six percent of the faculty said their colleagues are committed to diversity and inclusion, 71 percent reported there is visible leadership to support diversity and inclusion, and 68 percent of participants responded that they fit well at FSU.

The faculty also had positive views about the work environment at FSU: 87 percent are satisfied with their health benefits; 78 percent view their department as collegial; and 70 percent said their colleagues support a work-life balance.

The COACHE survey also highlighted some areas where Florida State will continue to work to improve: facilitating interdisciplinary work, mentoring pre-tenured faculty, enhancing support for teaching and supporting associate professors.

The university is making continual efforts to improve in areas that need work through a variety of avenues, including mentoring workshops and events that foster interdisciplinary research.

In addition, over the next few months, Kistner will meet with groups of faculty, chairs and deans to review the survey in more detail and discuss how the university can strengthen support for faculty.

Florida State is part of a 109-member national cohort of universities that recently completed the survey. The specific peer comparison group chosen by FSU included University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Texas-Austin, North Carolina State University, Indiana University and Purdue University.

FSU, which also participated in the 2014 COACHE survey, expanded this year’s study to include all specialized and nontenure-track faculty. Of the 1,838 faculty who were sent the survey, 749 responded.

To view Florida State’s 2018 COACHE survey results, visit https://faculty.fsu.edu/coache-survey-results.