Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
May 16, 1997

Survey: Most faculty satisfied with appointments

Two-thirds would give teaching and research equal weight in promotion decisions

by Linda Charles
Almost three-fourths of the faculty responding to an attitude survey reported that they were somewhat or very satisfied with their appointments overall.

Results of the 1996 Faculty Attitudes and Trends Survey, a follow-up to a survey conducted in 1992, were distributed at the May Faculty Senate meeting. The survey was distributed in April to 1,611 tenure-track faculty and drew a 70 percent (1,112) return rate.

Teaching freedom

Nearly one-fourth of the faculty (24 percent) reported they were "very satisfied" with their appointments overall and another 47 percent said they were "somewhat satisfied." Only 3 percent reported being "very dissatisfied" and 13 percent "somewhat dissatisfied." Another 12.5 percent reported they were neutral on the question.

A strong majority of faculty were satisfied with the freedom they have to make decisions about the content and methods used in courses they teach. Most (74 percent) reported they were very satisfied and another 19 percent reported they were somewhat satisfied. Only 0.7 percent reported they were very dissatisfied and 4 percent, somewhat dissatisfied.

Keeping up in field

Most faculty feel they don't have enough time to keep current in their fields, however. More than half (54 percent) were dissatisfied with the time available for keeping up while 31 percent were satisfied.

More than half (56 percent) reported satisfaction with their freedom to do outside consulting while faculty were evenly divided over whether there was enough support for professional development, with 40 percent satisfied and 40 percent dissatisfied.

Administrative ratings

Generally, the closer administrators were to a department, the higher their effectiveness ratings by faculty. Departmental administrators were rated excellent by 27 percent of the respondents good by 36 percent, fair by 20 percent and poor by 15 percent. College administrators were rated excellent by 13.5 percent, good by 40 percent, fair by 30.5 percent and poor by 14 percent. University administrators were rated excellent by 4 percent, good by 31 percent, fair by 40.5 percent and poor by 21 percent.

Student preparation

Faculty were split on the question of whether incoming undergraduate students had adequate basic skills. Approximately 48 percent said students had adequate skills while 43 percent disagreed.

Graduate student preparation garnered higher marks. Sixty percent reported graduate students began their studies with the necessary basic academic preparation.

More than two-thirds agreed (46 percent, "strongly" and 21.5 percent, "somewhat") that excellence in research and teaching should have equal weight in determining promotion. The majority also felt that research is rewarded more than teaching, with 64 percent agreeing strongly and 22.5 percent agreeing somewhat.


Nearly half (49 percent) reported they were satisfied with their salaries. Thirty-eight percent were dissatisfied. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) were satisfied with the opportunity to advance in rank and 22 percent, dissatisfied.

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