The recently released results of a survey focusing on campus climate and job satisfaction among Metro State faculty indicate general agreement on a number of broad issues. The 184-page document also shows how opinions can vary across a number of areas, including rank, school and gender.
The Faculty Climate Survey, commissioned by the Faculty Senate and spearheaded by its Diversity Committee, was conducted in February and March of 2010.
More than half (52.7 percent) of the 1,392 faculty members who were contacted completed the survey, including 69.1 percent of full-time faculty and 42.9 percent of affiliate faculty. Two versions of the survey were developed, one for full-time faculty and one for affiliate faculty.
The survey provided two valuable components that enrich data provided by the results of the broader, externally administered 2010 Campus Climate Survey, according to Faculty Senate President Kamran Sahami. “First, (the Faculty Climate Survey) asked a much wider range of questions than the external survey and second, it provided a means of independent corroboration of the external survey's results," he said.
The majority of faculty members viewed College leadership as effective to some degree, with 82.7 percent finding chairs to be “very effective” or “somewhat effective” in representing their interests. This compared to 68.6 for deans representing faculty interests, 61.7 percent for the union, 55.2 percent for Faculty Senate and 51.6 for the president.
“It isn’t surprising that chairs would be at the top of the list, especially considering faculty members have more day-to-day interactions with them,” said Sahami, who also serves as an associate professor of physics. “But seeing where others rank, it’s important we offer more opportunities for the faculty to engage other leaders on the campus whenever possible.”
The faculty also shared their opinions about various College initiatives in the abstract, including Pay for Performance (P4P), Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and master’s programs. Shared governance, differentiated workload and master's programs all enjoyed high levels of faculty support, while P4P had the lowest level of support.
Asked about implementation of initiatives, faculty were most satisfied with the implementation of master's programs and the Center for Faculty Development, and least satisfied with the implementation of differentiated workload and P4P.
The survey analysis, conducted by Assistant Professor of Sociology Gesemia Nelson, disaggregated data and compared results across a range of demographic characteristics, including rank, tenure, school, gender, race/ethnicity and sexual orientation. Sahami said “when looking at the results from the perspective of different subsets within the faculty, you learn that each comes with different views, particularly between ranks.”
For example, while 73 percent “strongly approve or “somewhat approve” of the HSI initiative, 25 percent of full professors strongly disapprove” of the initiative, compared to 11.9 percent of affiliate faculty who strongly disapprove.
Also, higher-ranking faculty members were less likely to support the addition of master’s programs, with 33.8 percent of full professors saying they “strongly approve” of master’s programs compared to 60.7 percent of affiliate faculty. Overall, 80 percent of faculty “strongly approve” or “somewhat approve” of the master’s programs, which began fall 2010 for the first time in College history.
The survey also looked at how faculty opinions varied among the three schools. For example, faculty in the School of Letters, Arts and Sciences were much less supportive of P4P, with 49.7 percent saying they “strongly disapprove,” followed by 37.8 percent for the School of Professional Studies and 33.3 percent by the School of Business.
"Although there are some slight differences of opinion from school to school and among the ranks, there is far more that our faculty members agree on than they disagree about,” said Sahami.
On the subject of resources, 85 percent were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the Auraria Library as a resource and 90 percent liked Metro Connect to some extent. Support for online courses and Blackboard received relatively high praise.
The survey results are available at the Faculty Senate website, and include faculty views on additional subjects such as retention, tenure and promotion (RTP), forms of compensation and background checks.
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