Survey: faculty want higher salaries

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February 8, 2008

4:31 PM

__81 percent satisfied with position at the College__

p. In a 2006 survey that was released at yesterday’s Board of Visitors meeting, 81 percent of faculty reported feeling “very satisfied” or “moderately satisfied” with their position at the College.

p. This figure is part of a detailed faculty survey written and administered by the Faculty Assembly.

p. “Generally speaking, the faculty are very satisfied to be here,” Provost Geoffrey Feiss said.

p. Faculty satisfaction registered as 78 percent in 2003 and 86 percent in 1999 (the survey is administered every three years). Only 3 percent described themselves as “very dissatisfied” in 2006, while 5 and 4 percent chose “very dissatisfied” in 2003 and 1999, respectively.

p. Out of a list of 16 goals to address, faculty members ranked salaries, research and student financial aid as the highest priorities. For departments in the undergraduate Arts and Sciences, these goals were always ranked as the top three in that order; other academic areas’ choices varied, but these three areas almost always prevailed (though in varying orders) over the other 13 choices.

p. “We know that we have salary problems here,” Feiss said.
Feiss said there were two ways to interpret salary dissatisfaction. Either people are thinking about leaving, or the College has a faculty strong enough that they can consider going somewhere else.

p. Dissatisfaction with research support (63 percent) and salary (60 percent) were the top two reasons faculty expressed for putting themselves back on the job market.

p. FA President Alan Meese said faculty satisfaction follows economic trends and that in years when there are more salary increases, satisfaction is higher.

p. In the last two years, 62 percent of faculty considered permanently leaving their positions; this rate was 69 percent in 2003. This is significantly higher than at all other four-year universities, for which the result was 43.2 percent. However, participation in the 2003 survey was only 37.8 percent, while the College’s faculty response rate to this survey was 73 percent.
Seventy-one percent of faculty disagreed or strongly disagreed that they spend the same amount of time on teaching as on research. Fifty-one percent said that they spent more time on teaching than on research; 73 percent disagreed that they spent more time on research than teaching.

p. A slight majority in the schools of business and education disagreed that they spent more time on teaching than on researching. Sixty-eight percent of natural sciences in the school of Arts & Sciences, 80 percent in the Marshall-Wythe School of Law and 90 percent in the Virginia Institute of Marine Science disagreed. In the school of Arts & Sciences, 81 percent of the humanities and 60 percent of social sciences faculty strongly agreed or agreed that they spend more time on teaching than on research.

p. Majorities in the latter two areas were dissatisfied with the balance between teaching and research, though combined responses yielded a 53 percent satisfaction rate for the same subject. Seventy-three percent reported they would like to spend more time on research. Slight majorities in nearly all the academic departments except those of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science feel pressure to do more research than they are currently doing.

p. Majorities of professors in the Arts & Sciences humanities, social sciences and natural sciences departments and the schools of business and law said that they do not spend more time researching than teaching. Majorities in the school of law and VIMS said that they do.

p. This is the sixth time the survey has been administered; it is given to full-time tenured and tenure-eligible faculty.

p. __Flat Hat News Editor Austin Wright contributed to this report.__

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