Task Force Report - May 31, 2001
2.2 Faculty Retention Surveys and Interviews
In this subsection, we report
the key findings of exit interviews of departing faculty, interviews
of individual chairs and faculty regarding successful and unsuccessful
retention cases, an interview of the Boulder Faculty Assembly (BFA)
Faculty Affairs Committee, and a meeting of Junior and Senior Women's
Faculty Focus Groups. Further details are provided in Appendices C-F.
Finding #5 -
Noncompetitive salaries represent the most-cited factor in faculty retention,
especially among male faculty.
As seen in Appendix
C, 12 of 14 male faculty but only 4 of 13 female faculty cited noncompetitive
salaries as a very important (4 or 5 on a 5-point scale) factor in their
decision to leave CU Boulder. From the data in Appendix D, 5 of 9 unsuccessful
retention cases and 13 of 17 successful retention cases in the humanities
cited salary as prominent in their consideration of outside offers.
Faculty salaries relative to peer institutions were also the most frequently
cited issue in interviews of science faculty, engineering faculty, and
the BFA Faculty Affairs Committee (Appendices D and F). Senior women
faculty but not junior women faculty expressed concern over salaries
and gender equity (Appendix F).
Finding #6 -
Lack of research support (financial, library holdings, travel, graduate
research assistants) is the second-most-cited factor in faculty retention
From the Faculty
Exit Questionnaire (Appendix C), 12 of 27 faculty cited insufficient
financial support for research or creative work as an important factor
in their decisions to leave CU-Boulder. Lack of research support was
also cited in 3 of 10 unsuccessful retention cases and in 8 of 17 successful
retention cases in the humanities, and the need for high-quality graduate
students and for matching and infrastructural funds for equipment, facilities
and special initiatives was noted by physical-science and engineering
faculty (Appendix D).
Finding #7 -
A sense of professional isolation, including a lack of supportive and
friendly colleagues, is an important concern, for both male and female
faculty, and it is the third-most-cited factor in retention cases.
Five of 13 female
faculty and seven of 14 male faculty indicated in the exit questionnaire
that a sense of professional isolation was an important factor in their
decisions to leave CU-Boulder (Appendix C). The Women's Faculty Focus
Group noted that professional isolation includes a lack of friendly
colleagues and inclusion in their primary unit, and unsympathetic/rude
students in classes.
Finding #8 -
Partner/spouse employment is the fourth-most-cited factor in faculty
retention, especially among female faculty.
Five of 13 female
faculty (all with academic partners) and three of 14 male faculty cited
employment situations for their significant others or spouses as a very
important factor in their decisions to leave CU-Boulder (Appendix C).
Amongst humanities retention cases, four of ten faculty who departed
and three of 17 faculty who stayed noted that spouse/partner opportunities
were important factors in their consideration of outside offers (Appendix
D). The importance of spousal hires is even more important for junior
faculty, figuring prominently in approximately 50% of the recent retention
cases in arts and humanities for untenured faculty (Appendix D).
Finding #9 -
Other, less frequently cited factors in faculty retention cases include
lack of financial support for teaching activities, insufficient housing
assistance programs, noncompetitive benefits (health insurance, retirement,
dependent tuition), insufficient staff support, increased administrative
burden on faculty, poor quality office and laboratory space, and the
need for flexibility in workload and childcare options.
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