Formed in 2016 as a joint Faculty Senate/Office of the Provost committee, the Mid-Career Faculty Development Committee is engaged in a three-year process to identify and provide recommendations that address concerns of mid-career faculty. (On hiatus in 2020-2021)
The committee's work is informed by surveys of SLU faculty conducted through a partnership with the Collaborative On Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE), an initiative of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While SLU’s alliance with COACHE provides a strategic means of assessing, streamlining, and enhancing SLU’s faculty development efforts generally, a particular focus of the committee’s work is improved understanding of how mid-career faculty workload impacts the transition from associate to full professor. One tangible result of the committee's work thus far is the University's institutional membership to the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity.
1. Collect data on the number, time-in-rank and demographic characteristics (e.g., age, race, gender, etc.) of faculty that are currently ranked as associate professors at SLU. Among associate professors, are there commonalities among those with time-in-rank for longer than five years?
2. Through interviews, surveys, or other techniques, develop a basis for explaining why some associate professors appear to remain at that rank for extended periods of time, including:
- How many faculty seek promotion but fail to be promoted?
- If associate professors decline to apply for promotion, what are the reasons?
- Are promotion guidelines designed in ways that disadvantage mid-career faculty?
- Is there a lack of incentive for seeking promotion?
- Are expectations for tenure and promotion not aligned with promotion to full professor?
- Do associate professors become unduly burdened with administrative or service work that impedes their ability to complete the work necessary for promotion?
- Are there teaching expectations particular to associate professors that impede their ability to develop their scholarly and professional profile?
- Does the university support research and creative productivity, and grant-seeking, in ways that speak specifically to mid-career faculty concerns?
- Do the university’s policies on work/life issues (e.g., medical and parental leave; lack of subsidized/onsite childcare; etc.) contribute to difficulties for those seeking promotion to full professor?
- Can information on these issues be disaggregated by race and/or gender?
- Does the new Provost’s Faculty Workload Policy affect the prospects for mid-career faculty promotion?
3. What does existing literature and/or practices at comparable or aspirational institutions suggest as best practices for supporting and promoting mid-career faculty?
- Toby Benis, College of Arts and Sciences/English, Co-chair
- Kira Banks, College of Arts and Sciences/Psychology
- Julie Birkenmaier, College for Public Health and Social Justice/Social Work
- Craig Boyd, School for Professional Studies
- Charles Croissant, University Libraries
- Robert Cropf, College of Arts and Sciences/Political Science
- Scott Duellman, Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business/Accounting
- Roobik Gharabagi, Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology/ Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Sam Jordan, School of Law
- Laura McLaughlin, Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing
- Karen Myers, School of Education
- Silvana Siddali, College of Arts and Sciences/History
- Sara Steele, Doisy College of Health Sciences/Communication Science and Disorders
- Constance Wagner, School of Law
- Jinsong Zhang, School of Medicine/Pharmacological and Physiological Science
- Debie Lohe, Office of the Provost, Co-chair
- Jane McHowat, School of Medicine
- Matthew Christian, Office of the Vice President for Research
- Miriam Joseph, Office of the Provost
- Gina Merys, Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning
- Mark Ferris, Chaifetz School of Business (Fall 2016-Spring 2018)
- Christine Hachem, School of Medicine (Spring 2017)
- Sam Jordan, School of Law (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Jean Krampe, Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing (Fall 2016-Spring 2018)
- Debra Lohe, Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning (Fall 2016 - Fall 2017)
- Angela Sharkey, School of Medicine, ex-officio (Spring 2017)
- Anders Walker, School of Law (Fall 2017 - Spring 2018)
- Mary White, Doisy College of Health Sciences (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
During the Spring of 2017, the Mid-Career Faculty Development Committee (MCFDC) oversaw SLU's participation in the Harvard Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) survey as part of the data-collecting phase of the committee's work. COACHE provided SLU the data in a form that compares our results to other participant universities, but they also gave us the raw data for our responses. This data was provided to our OIR director, who agreed to make it available only in a manner that protects the identity of the respondents (no group will be reported unless it has at least five respondents).
The COACHE survey asked questions in the following categories:
- Nature of Work: Research
- Nature of Work: Teaching
- Facilities and Work Resources
- Health and Retirement Benefits
- Tenure Policies
- Leadership: Divisional
- Leadership: Faculty
- Shared Governance
- Departmental Engagement
- Appreciation and Recognition
- Global Satisfaction
- Nature of Work: Service
- Nature of Work: Other
- Personal and Family Policies
- Interdisciplinary Work
- Tenure Clarity
- Leadership: Senior
- Leadership: Departmental
- Institutional Governance and Leadership
- Departmental Collegiality
- Departmental Quality
- Recruitment and Retention
In addition, SLU participated in the optional survey modules for non-tenure track faculty and for clinical faculty. The non-tenure track faculty module asked questions about contract and promotion processes. The clinical faculty module asked questions about support for patient care and clinical work.
The COACHE survey can break out the results in the following demographic groups (no group for a department, college, etc., will be reported unless it has at least five respondents):
- Tenured Faculty
- Tenure Track Faculty
- Associate Professor
- Female Faculty
- Faculty of Color
- Underrepresented Minority Faculty
- Pre-Tenured Faculty
- Full Professor
- Male Faculty
- White Faculty
- Asian Faculty