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Faculty Worklife Survey

Academic Affairs surveyed faculty during Spring 2011 to determine their perceptions of workload, satisfaction with work, support, climate, and personal responsibilities. Additionally, the survey sought to determine the types of work and personal stressors faculty members’ experience.

Overall, the survey presents a view of the complexity of perceived workload experienced by faculty at a comprehensive, state-supported institution. The results indicated that:

  • CSULB faculty members exemplify the teacher/scholar model.
  • Research productivity is extremely high given the demanding teaching load.
  • Faculty members are satisfied with their employment at CSULB, despite trying budgetary times.
  • Teaching CSULB students is the most rewarding and satisfying aspect of faculty work.

This report provides descriptive summaries of the survey items. Items were also analyzed (Chi Square Analysis, accounting for differences in category size) to determine differences by college and academic rank of faculty. Overall, few differences were found by college. Expected differences were found among faculty academic rank categories.


The Survey

  • Adapted from the Cornell Faculty Worklife Survey (with permission from Cornell; no fee)
  • Adapted by a faculty ad hoc committee with representatives from each college, CAPS, CFA, and the Academic Senate. The ad hoc committee also reviewed results and made recommendations for follow-up activities.
  • The survey contained 50 Likert-style items that asked faculty to characterize their satisfaction with work and support for work, workload, work environment, climate, work stressors, and personal and family responsibilities, personal and family stressors, worklife balance. Two open ended questions asked faculty to characterize the best and worst aspects of their work at CSULB.
  • Administered (electronically) to all Unit 3 employees (approximately 2,000 faculty)
  • 529 faculty completed the survey; exceeding the number required for a 95% confidence interval

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Faculty Respondent Demographics

  • All colleges and academic ranks were represented - consistent with the population:
    • part-time lecturers, n = 142
    • full-time lecturers, n = 48
    • assistant professors, n = 100
    • associate professors, n = 82
    • full professors, n = 143
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  • Age range, 30 – 75; Average age, 48
  • 290 respondents characterized themselves as female
  • 192 respondents characterized themselves as male
  • 47 respondents declined to state their gender identity
  • 274 respondents characterized their ethnic/cultural identity as Caucasian or white
  • 181 respondents provided an ethnic/cultural identity other than white; 51 different ethnic/ cultural identifies were reported (e.g., African-American, Chinese-American, Mexican-Irish, Pilipino-Mexican, Norwegian-American, etc.)
  • 74 respondents declined to state their ethnic/cultural identity
  • All academic ranks were represented:
    • part-time lecturers, n = 142;
    • full-time lecturers, n = 48,
    • assistant professors, n = 100;
    • associate professors, n = 82;
    • full professors, n = 143
  •  
  • All colleges were represented including coaches, librarians, and CAPS.
  • Initial appointment at CSULB:
    • 47% lecturer
    • 42% assistant professor
    • 9% associate professor
    • 2% full professor
  •  
  • Commute to CSULB:
    • 37% less than 5 miles
    • 20% 5 to 10 miles
    • 17% 10 to 20 miles
    • 13% 20 to 30 miles
    • 13% 30 or more miles
     

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The Results


Workload

  • Average percent of time faculty reported spending on teaching/teaching related activities was 57% (STD = 26.7).
  • Average percent of time reported spent on RSCA was 17% (STD = 14.5).
  • Average percent of time reported spent on Service was 13% (STD = 10.1)
  • Average number of student taught in 10/11 = 164
  • Faculty reported spending about 3 hours per week engaged in “informal” (in addition to office hours and formal advising duties) advising and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students.

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Research Productivity (10/11 Academic Year)

  • Average number of articles published in peer-reviewed journals = 2 (STD = 1)
  • Average number of reviews, articles in edited volumes, encyclopedia entries, reference articles during = 2 (STD = 1.3)
  • Average number of textbooks, research reports, manuals = 1.3 (STD = .64)
  • Average number of conference and other invited presentations = 2.6 (STD = 1.4)
  • Average number of performances or art exhibitions = 1.4 (STD = 1.2)
  • Average number of grant proposals = 1.7 (STD = 1)

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Overall Satisfaction with Work

  • 71% of faculty reported being satisfied with their work at CSULB.
  • Lecturers reported higher levels of work satisfaction than T/TT faculty.
  • Full Time Lecturers reported the highest level of satisfaction with work.
  • CLA faculty reported less overall satisfaction than members of other colleges/units.
  • Work satisfaction was associated with personal satisfaction regardless of rank or college.

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Satisfaction with CSULB Support for Work

  • 56% of faculty reported satisfaction with support for teaching.
  • Faculty reported the highest level of satisfaction with teaching support as library support for teaching/learning, course management and enrollment, and faculty development.
  • Faculty reported the lowest level of satisfaction with teaching support as support of innovation in teaching, classroom space, and teaching materials.
  • 17% of faculty reported satisfaction with support for RSCA.
  • Overall, faculty reported relatively low satisfaction for all areas of support for RSCA with financial support and time to conduct research least satisfying.
  • 71% of faculty reported satisfaction with support for service.
  • Faculty reported being most satisfied with the Center for Community Engagement and support for service learning.
  • Faculty reported being least satisfied with equitable distribution of service assignments.
  • Assistant and Full Professors reported more dissatisfaction with support for service than ranks.

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Satisfaction with CSULB Work and Work Environment

  • Faculty were most satisfied with the opportunities to make a difference in student’s lives and the intellectual stimulation of their work
  • Faculty were the least satisfied with their opportunities to collaborate with colleagues outside of their department.
  • Faculty reported that they place their highest value on teaching and their availability to their students.
  • Faculty reported that they place less value on service outside the university and mentoring junior faculty.
  • Faculty reported feeling respected by their students, immediate peers, senior faculty, and staff.
  • Faculty reported spending weekends and holidays working.
  • Faculty reported that they find joy in their work.
  • Faculty reported that they feel comfortable sharing their views in faculty meetings.
  • Faculty reported that they feel their scholarship is supported by their colleagues.
  • Overall, faculty reported satisfaction with their department chairs.
  • Most faculty members reported that they had not received mentoring at CSULB (71%).

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Department/Unit Climate

  • Faculty members are connected mainly at the department/unit level and this is where the prime conditions of their work life are formed.
  • Faculty reported that their department provides a supportive climate.
  • Faculty perceived their department climate as supportive of opportunities for women faculty.
  • Faculty perceived that their department provided a supportive climate and opportunities for under-represented minority faculty.
  • Faculty feel much less connected to the college offices and university offices.
  • Faculty reported that their department was not adequately supported and valued by the University
  • T/TT faculty report higher levels of stress with department politics than other faculty.
  • Full Professors rated their department colleagues more aggressive and/or more individually oriented than did other ranks.

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Work Stressors

  • Overall, faculty reported stressors related to having enough time to do all that is required of them across the three work areas: teaching, RSCA, and service.
  • Time to work on RSCA and financial support is lacking.
  • All T/TT faculty members found RSCA activities more stressful than lecturers.
  • PT, assistant, and associate professors found issues associated with their advancement (RTP and Range Elevation) stressful.
  • All T/TT faculty (but not full time lecturers) found departmental politics stressful.
  • All faculty (except full time lecturers) found minor administrative tasks stressful.
  • All faculty (except full time lecturers) found managing travel stressful.
  • All faculty (except full time lecturers) found meeting with students stressful.
  • CLA faculty reported higher levels of stress associated with teaching than other colleges.
  • Overall, faculty members perceived that all aspects of their work represent “high priorities” by their department, unit, or college.

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Personal and Family Responsibilities

  • Overall, faculty reported a high level of satisfaction with life outside of work.
  • 75% of faculty reported having a partner or spouse.
  • 26% of faculty reported that they are in a “commuting” relationship with their spouse or partner some or all of the time.
  • 54% of faculty reported that they are parents or legal guardians.
  • 18% of faculty reported that they are responsible for managing care for someone who is ill or disabled.
  • 66% of faculty reported that they were satisfied with how their work and personal lives worked together.

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Personal Stressors

  • Faculty reported less overall personal stress than work-related stress.
  • Childcare and starting a family ranked as the highest stressors in faculty personal lives.
  • Quality of schools, housing costs, and personal finances also ranked among the top personal stressors for faculty.

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Open Ended Items

  • Faculty reported that students and making a difference in students’ lives contributed the most to their quality of work.
  • Faculty reported that heavy workload and department politics created the most work distractions.

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More Information

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