Wake Forest University Reynolda campus faculty in 2017 reflected equally or more positively on their experiences than both peers at many of the other 154 institutions administering the HERI Faculty Survey and when compared to the WFU faculty in 2014. Although, differences surfaced within Wake sub-groups (e.g. by race, by gender and by tenure status) on specific survey items.
The Faculty Survey is a national survey directed at UCLA by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) and is useful for determining from faculty their satisfaction in a number of areas across the university, their focus and goals at the university, and how they spend their time. Wake Forest first administered the Faculty Survey in 1998 and has administered the instrument regularly since.
All of Wake’s full-time faculty, librarians with faculty status, and teaching administrators on the Reynolda Campus (i.e. College, Schools of Business, Divinity, and Law) received invitations to participate in the electronic survey in March 2017. A total of 349 faculty members submitted responses, representing a 54% response rate. Respondents were fairly representative of the population with the exception being more survey respondents indicated being white compared to the overall population.
Survey Construct Scores
Due to the large quantity of individual questions asked and the complexity of assessing specific areas of potential concern, HERI developed thirteen constructs which group information gathered from numerous items into a more reliable, cumulative measure. These construct scores, which provide a way of looking at overall trends among survey responses, have a population mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 10.
Wake Forest faculty scored nearly the same or higher compared to the national average on all constructs. Constructs in which all Wake Forest respondents scored above national average include the following:
- Scholarly Productivity (55.4)
- Job Satisfaction: Compensation (54.6)
- Civic Minded Values (53.9)
- Institutional Priority: Commitment to Diversity (53.5)
(Note: conservative margin of error +/- 1.2)
2017 scored higher than 2014 Wake respondents in several constructs, especially Civic Minded Values and Undergraduate Education Goal: Personal Development.
When only considering 2017 Wake full-time, undergraduate teaching faculty respondents against all other 2017 WFU full-time faculty, the construct scores were nearly the same. The exception being Wake full-time, undergraduate faculty reported higher scores in Career Related Stress.
Wake full-time, undergraduate faculty in 2017 scored higher than Wake respondents in 2014 especially in Civic Minded Values and Undergraduate Education Goal: Personal Development. Also, 2017 Wake full-time, undergraduate faculty scored higher on Institutional Priority: Commitment to Diversity than full-time undergraduate faculty in very highly selective private universities.
Individual Items of Note
Although less reliable than constructs, additional analysis of survey items included examination by race, gender, tenure status and year. What follows are items of notable difference within subgroups.
- More non-white faculty tended to strongly agree it is “essential” to develop students’ moral character and personal values, as well as enhance students’ knowledge of and appreciation for other groups.
- Non-white faculty more frequently indicated they taught an honors course.
- More non-white faculty strongly agreed that colleges have a responsibility to work with their surrounding communities to address local issues.
- Males more frequently indicated primarily teaching graduate courses, while more females indicated they have taught an honor course.
- More males than females included undergraduate students on research projects, and have more co-authored publications.
- Males tended more frequently to apply mathematical concepts and computational thinking, and included extensive lecturing in all courses. Females used rubric-based assessment, readings on racial and gender issues in courses; and frequently accepted mistakes as part of the learning process.
- Females more often reported “frequently” informing their advisees of academic support options and helped them plan their course of study.
- Compared to males, more females received resources to integrate culturally-competent practices into their classrooms; reported it is essential to teach students tolerance and respect for different beliefs; and strongly agreed that a diverse student body enhances the educational experience of all.
- Fewer tenured/tenure track faculty indicated using electronic quizzes with immediate feedback, and performances/demonstrations in class.
Items of Most Positive Movement at Wake (2017 vs 2014)
- More faculty reported to frequently seek alternative solutions to a problem in interactions with undergraduates.
- More included cooperative learning in all courses.
- A greater percentage thought it is “essential” to prepare undergraduate students for employment and further education.
- More faculty “definitely” still want to come to this institution if they were to begin their career again.
Item of Most Negative Movement at Wake (2017 vs 2014)
- Fewer reported using real-life problems in their courses.
- Fewer WFU faculty have published with graduate students.
- Fewer WFU faculty have taught an honors course.
- Fewer WFU faculty strongly disagreed of the statement that they think there is a lot of campus racial conflict on their campus.
- More faculty at WFU reported being not satisfied with the availability of childcare at their institution.
In addition to HERI items, Wake Forest added a number of custom items to the survey. A growing percentage indicated they often engage in mentoring students and communicate and interact with faculty in different schools of the university.