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Announcing COACHE Job Satisfaction Survey

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University of Denver

Letter  •


On behalf of Dr. Darrin Hicks, Dr. Kate Willink and myself, we wanted to follow up and provide more information regarding the upcoming faculty satisfaction survey offered by the Collaborative for Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

COACHE, a consortium of over 200 colleges and universities, is a research initiative committed to supporting senior academic officers as they develop best practices for faculty recruitment and talent management. Membership in the collaborative enables colleges and universities to gather sound diagnostic and comparative faculty data needed to inform discussions, generate ideas and initiate meaningful, data-driven decisions. The core component of COACHE is a web-based survey specially designed for pre-tenure, tenure and non-tenure-track faculty to collect information about their experiences at their institution. 

The COACHE survey will be administered for the University of Denver between February 18 and April 7, 2019. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • The survey will be available to all full-time faculty at DU—tenured, tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty will be invited to complete the survey.
  • The survey is administered by COACHE, and the survey is completely confidential.
  • Two teams will help guide the overall administration of the survey, analyze the data and develop a comprehensive communication plan for the rollout of the results.
  • A steering committee made up of faculty and administrators will help disseminate the results and identify those areas to celebrate and those areas where we need to improve.
  • The executive committee, consisting of Dr. Kate Willink, Dr. Darrin Hicks and Dr. Jeremy Haefner, will have broad oversight of the entire process.
  • Once the data is collected, a group of faculty and administrators will analyze the results, identify areas for celebration and improvement, and assist the campus with the communication. The Office of the Provost, the Office of Teaching and Learning and the Faculty Senate will tackle the issues so that when the survey is administered again in three years, we will see improvement.

We thought we’d close with some personal reflections of why we are interested in the COACHE survey and process.

Why I am interested in the COACHE survey – Jeremy Haefner:

From my shared perspective with Chancellor Chopp, the COACHE consortium and survey are proven to be incredibly effective for identifying areas in the environment affecting faculty—areas where the university is doing a good job and areas where it needs to improve.

At my previous institution, we deployed the survey in 2013 right after the campus underwent a massive calendar conversion and I wanted to see what was on the minds of the faculty. The results were super interesting. On the one hand, faculty were pleased with the university’s health and retirement benefits, personal and family policies, governance (including trust, shared sense of purpose and productivity), and senior leadership. On the other hand, faculty felt that department engagement, department quality, tenure policies and expectations, and promotion to full professor practices were areas for improvement.

As a result of the data, we led a concerted effort to make material progress on the areas for improvement, and the results from the 2017 COACHE survey indicated we were successful. You can find short video on this process here.

Chancellor Chopp and I are interested in the COACHE consortium and survey because it will assist in our effort to make sure that our environment helps faculty members develop to their fullest potential.

Why I am interested in the COACHE survey – Darrin Hicks:

From the perspective of the Faculty Senate, the COACHE survey is, quite simply, one of the most comprehensive instruments available for assessing the state of shared governance at DU.

At the beginning of this academic year, I reported the results of the Modern Think survey to the Faculty Senate. The Modern Think survey gave us a very useful overview of employee engagement at DU, telling us that we could do much better communicating across units, fostering collaboration and creating fair processes and procedures.

The COACHE survey gives the opportunity to use an even better instrument—designed specifically to capture the unique perspective of faculty—for assessing communication, collaboration, fairness and shared governance. Where Modern Think gave us the temperature, COACHE will give us a sophisticated diagnostic instrument for understanding and addressing not only these issues, but the full range of cares and concerns of the DU faculty.

Why I am interested in the COACHE survey – Kate Willink:

After learning the teaching environment results from our ModernThink survey were only 54 percent positive (but were only scored based on three questions), I became really curious to hear more about teaching experiences on campus. The COACHE survey will provide a deeper dive into a range of teaching environment issues that impact faculty such as teaching load, promotion and tenure. I deeply appreciate that COACHE also works to represent the heterogeneous experiences of faculty on campus from rank and track to compositional diversity. My hope is that we will gain actionable data and that we can think together to identify important areas for improvement and innovative ways to create positive changes for faculty.

COACHE also allows custom questions. We added custom questions on diversity and inclusion, a core institutional priority. This data will be one indicator regarding how faculty feel about diversity and inclusion in their departments and about the role of university policies and procedures in regard to supporting diversity in recruitment and retention. As we welcome a new Senior Diversity Officer, this data will provide some touchstones to inform action and benchmark progress. In the end, my hope is that we as faculty engage with the data to initiate the changes we want to see on campus and make meaningful improvements in the lives of faculty members as individuals, in their departments, at a unit level and across campus.

We hope you’ll agree the COACHE survey is a worthwhile investment of your time, given the potential for its results to inform our process for change. Please look for more information about the upcoming survey in the near future.


Jeremy Haefner, Provost

Kate Willink, Faculty Director, OTL

Darrin Hicks, President, Faculty Senate