COACHE Faculty Satisfaction Survey highlights Mason’s strengths, provides roadmap for improvements

Mason has much to be proud of in terms of its positive faculty and departmental leadership, atmosphere, and collegiality, an extensive survey shows.

Faculty gathered Wednesday, Dec. 4, to hear the key findings from the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) Faculty Satisfaction Survey, which was administered last spring through a partnership with Harvard COACHE.

The survey results highlighted Mason’s areas of strength and growth that were benchmarked against a cohort of 103 institutions as well as five peer institutions chosen by the Mason COACHE Leadership Team and Provost S. David Wu.

Provost Wu praised the high response rate for the survey, with 63 percent of Mason full-time instructional/research faculty responding. That is 13.5 percent higher than other similar institutions that administered the survey.

“The high response rate from faculty speaks volumes about the people who care about this institution and care how we can improve faculty satisfaction,” Wu said. “Armed with this data, it gives us a pretty clear mandate in terms of priorities, things we really need to pay attention to in terms of improving all sort of faculty and professional life.”

Peer institutions were selected based on R1 Carnegie classification, institutional size, number of faculty, institutional mission, and successful use of COACHE data to initiate change. Those institutions were Iowa State University, North Carolina State University, Purdue University, University of Central Florida, and Virginia Tech.

Kim Eby, Mason’s associate provost for faculty affairs and development, and Jaime Lester, associate dean of faculty development and strategic initiatives, presented the key findings.

The report from Harvard COACHE identified Mason’s areas of strength as departmental collegiality, departmental quality, departmental leadership and faculty leadership.

Additional analyses by Mason’s COACHE Leadership Team indicated the following areas of strength: faculty would recommend Mason as a place to work, departmental/local academic unit culture and leadership, faculty leadership, satisfaction with support for teaching and learning, and visible leadership for support of diversity.

“Our Mason COACHE initiative is deepening our understanding of faculty satisfaction at Mason based on comprehensive data that is benchmarked with our peers,” Eby said. “This is a long-term commitment we’ve made as an institution.

The COACHE Leadership Team also identified areas for growth, including salary and compensation; the renewal, promotion, and tenure process; mentoring and mentoring support; appreciation and recognition from the university; and support and reward for interdisciplinary work.

“The survey results will allow us to develop a better picture about faculty satisfaction and retention, and our aim is to use the results to create action plans that will help us better understand different faculty and their professional responsibilities, with the ultimate goal of improving faculty lives,” Eby said.

Throughout the spring 2020 semester, the COACHE Leadership Team will continue to share the data in meetings with deans, department chairs and colleges, in addition to workshops with key subgroups and facilitated focus groups.

Action plans will then be created to be implemented between fall 2020 and fall 2021. A follow-up COACHE Faculty Satisfaction Survey will be administered in spring 2022.

For more information about the Mason COACHE Faculty Engagement Initiative, visit Mason COACHE. Direct any questions to