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Washington State University
Washington State University Office of the Provost

Initiatives Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education

COACHE 2022 Survey Results

Areas of Strength

  • A majority of faculty reported satisfaction in the areas of departmental leadership and collegiality, health and retirement benefits, and tenure policies.
  • More than half of the faculty reported satisfaction with support for teaching, collaboration with colleagues, mentoring, departmental leadership, departmental engagement, and promotion to professor rank.
  • Pre-tenured faculty report substantially higher satisfaction than the faculty average overall.

A few highlights:

  • 82% of pre-tenure tenure-track faculty report that they get formal feedback on progress toward tenure, and 98% report that they think they will get tenure.
  • Satisfaction with mentoring has improved by 18 percentage points since the 2014 survey. Most (87%) faculty agree with the importance of mentoring at the department level, and 82% report that being a mentor is fulfilling.
  • Most faculty report satisfaction with personal health benefits (76%) and with retirement benefits (66%).
  • Most (76%) faculty report that their department is collegial. Satisfaction with departmental leadership has improved by 9 percentage points since 2014.

Satisfaction with Domains of Faculty Experience

The survey is divided into items grouped into ten domains of faculty experience. Each domain has several subdomains (see website for descriptions of domains).

Percentage of faculty “very satisfied” or “satisfied” by sub-domain

Nature of Work 
Support for Research31%
Support for Service40%
Support for Teaching51%
Resources and Support 
Facilities and Work Resources49%
Personal and Family Policies*34%
Health and Retirement Benefits68%
Cross-Silo Work and Mentoring 
Interdisciplinary Work21%
Tenure and Promotion 
Tenure Policies61%
Tenure Expectations: Clarity***46%
Promotion to Full58%
Appreciation and Recognition 
Appreciation and Recognition35%
Institutional Leadership 
Shared Governance 
Shared Sense of Purpose21%
Understanding Issues at Hand20%
Career-Track Faculty57%

*Health and retirement benefits only. Does not include low-frequency services (e.g., partner accommodation where most faculty reported not applicable).

**87% of faculty reported agreement with the importance of mentoring in the department; only 29% are satisfied with the mentoring of career-track faculty

***76% of faculty reported that expectations for scholarship are clear; 62% reported clarity of expectations for teaching are clear. However, fewer faculty reported that expectations for other aspects of work are clear including advising (41%), being a colleague (42%) or campus citizen (24%), and engagement with the broader community (32%).

Areas for Improvement

The COACHE survey provides direction for where we need to focus our efforts to improve. Peer universities that have been gathering COACHE data and creating action plans regularly over 10-15 years have shown substantial improvement in targeted areas. We will be conducting listening sessions at each campus and with affinity groups to gather input on potential next steps. The areas we will be focusing on are:

  • Compensation
  • Equity, inclusion, and belonging
  • Mentoring for CT faculty and training for mentors
  • Promotion and tenure
  • Shared governance
  • Faculty recognition and appreciation
  • Nature of work/workload

Below we provide information about steps WSU is already taking to address these areas, some of which arose in response to our initial examination of COACHE results. We will formulate plans for additional steps to improve faculty satisfaction in these areas based on action team feedback and listening sessions to be held on each campus and with various groups during the 2023 fall semester.


Faculty reported compensation as the source of greatest dissatisfaction both in responses to salary-related survey items and to open-ended responses, and salary negotiation was the most cited topic in retention negotiations.

Recent activities in this domain:

  • Commitment from senior leadership to keep salary increases a top legislative priority.
  • The Salary Equity Process implemented in FY2023 through the Office of the Provost distributed $1,000,000 in equity raises to 224 faculty to help build greater consistency within the departmental salary structure.
  • Faculty Senate adopted a change to the Faculty Manual regarding the allocation of funds when a mass salary increase is large enough:
    • Forty percent (40%) of mass salary funds must be used for salary equity adjustments (previously was allocated to extraordinary merit, market adjustment, or equity).
    • Each faculty member will receive an equal amount of the professional development portion or the allocation, rather than an equal percentage of their salary, unless their annual reviews are below satisfactory.

Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Survey results in many categories indicate that satisfaction levels of faculty from minoritized communities are below the values averaged across all faculty. Of particular concern, faculty members in this category do not report a strong sense of belonging in their departments and reported substantially lower satisfaction with tenure and promotion processes and policies. They also reported higher frequencies of feeling that their identity caused them to be treated differently and they were less likely to report being treated fairly.

We note that the results from the survey do not consider intersectionality, and the aggregated categories used by COACHE do not reflect the diversity of the WSU faculty. In addition, the response rate across demographic groups within survey respondents were highly variable, with the lowest response rates for faculty from minoritized communities.

Recent activities in this domain:

  • Increased trainings centered on inclusive hiring and mentoring practices as well as implicit bias and microaggressions.
  • Development of an Equity Lens Toolkit.
  • Requirement through the Policy on Policies that the Equity Lens Toolkit must be incorporated into review of all new policies and any current policies undergoing changes or scheduled review.


The 2022 survey results demonstrate strong improvement in satisfaction overall with faculty mentoring (satisfaction improved from 36% to 54%). Faculty find serving as a mentor fulfilling (82%) and mentoring within the department important (87%), demonstrating that faculty are eager and engaged in this important work. Nevertheless, faculty also indicate that there needs to be more support for mentoring (only 15.5% are very satisfied or satisfied with the current level of support) and more effective mentorship for career-track faculty (only 30% strongly agree or agree that there is effective mentorship for career-track faculty).

Recent activities in this domain:

  • Transformational Change Initiative/Teaching Academy Peer Observation/Co-mentoring program – pilot program focused on peer-to-peer mentoring centered on teaching practices.
    • External Mentor Program (grants to work with external mentor).
    • Recent and ongoing faculty mentoring programming events through National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD).
  • Provost’s Office/Vice Chancellor mini-grant program for mentoring activities.

Clarity of promotion and tenure processes/guidelines

Some aspects of the promotion and tenure policies and criteria are clear to some groups, but there is room for improvement.

  • Only 32% of faculty report that they receive formal feedback on promotion to professor.
  • Women and faculty from minoritized communities reported lower satisfaction with tenure and promotion policies and clarity than men and white faculty.
  • Faculty report an overall lack of clarity of expectations for duties and activities that lie outside scholarship/creative activities and teaching categories (e.g., advising, departmental citizenship, responsibility to the community).

Recent activities in this domain:

  • Annual Town Halls are being offered with information on the promotion and tenure process, timeline, expectations, and strategies, separately for career-track/tenure-track and for promotion to associate/professor.
  • Faculty Manual language was updated to emphasize that all areas of the university mission are valued in performance review.
  • College and departmental guidelines for promotion and tenure are being posted on the Office of the Provost’s website.
  • Senior Vice Provost meets with all college promotion and tenure committees in early fall semester to discuss bias and holistic evaluation of faculty work.

Appreciation and recognition

More than half the faculty report feeling satisfied with the recognition they receive from colleagues and from their unit heads. Nevertheless, fewer than 50% of faculty feel satisfied with the recognition they receive for teaching, advising, scholarship and creative activities, service, and outreach. Feeling recognized and valued by their home institution is one of the main factors in faculty retention, making this an important focus area.

Recent activities in this domain:

  • In-person training workshop in spring 2023 for deans, chairs, and directors to help them identify departments and faculty members with high scholarly productivity who qualify for but have not received national awards.

Shared governance

More than half of faculty report satisfaction with department/school leadership (57%) while satisfaction at the level of dean (39%), faculty leadership (28%), and senior leadership (25%) reflects concerns about the pace of decision making, clarity of stated priorities, and communication of priorities. Less than a third of faculty expressed satisfaction with issues of trust, shared purpose, communications and consensus building, adaptability, and productivity of shared governance.

Recent activities in this domain:

  • Communication blogs and a constituent concerns forum are now available through an upgraded Faculty Senate website. In addition, a new nomination process was recently launched to increase the inclusivity of faculty participation in senate activities, and senate meetings have moved permanently to an online format to enhance participation and equity across the system. Concerns raised by the senate executive committee, steering committee, and senate are now tracked and updated through a faculty concerns reporting mechanism.
  • As of January 2023, there is a faculty-nominated and governor-appointed Faculty Regent who serves as a voting member for the Board of Regents.

Nature of work/workload

Faculty satisfaction with the nature of their work remains roughly the same as it was in 2014, except within the realm of research for which there was some decline in satisfaction, indicating continued room for improvement.

  • Satisfaction with support for teaching, scholarship, and creative activity was low
    • Scholarship & Creative Activity Support
    • Support for travel to present/conduct research.
    • Support for student involvement (undergraduate and graduate).
    • Availability of course release for research.
    • Post-award management.
  • Teaching Workload & Support
    • Equitability of distribution of teaching load.
    • Support for teaching activities (teaching diverse learning styles, assessment, online hybrid).
  • Service Workload
    • Equitability of committee assignments, additional service compensation, and advising responsibilities.

Recent activities in this domain