Research in Higher Education

, Volume 46, Issue 7, pp 803–830

A Qualitative Method for Assessing Faculty Satisfaction

  • Susan Ambrose
  • Therese Huston
  • Marie Norman
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11162-004-6226-6

Cite this article as:
Ambrose, S., Huston, T. & Norman, M. Res High Educ (2005) 46: 803. doi:10.1007/s11162-004-6226-6

Universities attempt to hire the highest quality faculty they can, but they are not always successful at retaining them. Furthermore, some faculty members who do remain may not function as engaging colleagues who make others want to stay. This study investigates why some faculty members leave and why others stay by illuminating the complexities of individual experiences. Using semi-structured interviews rather than surveys, a matched cohort of 123 faculty members (half current and half former) from one institution was interviewed. Although some of their primary reasons for satisfaction or dissatisfaction (e.g., collegiality, mentoring) were predicted by general survey research, there were also unforeseeable issues that strongly influenced satisfaction and decisions to stay or leave, demonstrating the importance of institution-specific research. This paper provides a method for collecting institution-specific information as well as several arguments for conducting interviews instead of pre-defined surveys.

Keywords

faculty retention faculty satisfaction qualitative research collegiality mentoring 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Ambrose
    • 1
  • Therese Huston
    • 2
  • Marie Norman
    • 1
  1. 1.Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Seattle UniversitySeattleUSA
  3. 3.Office of the Associate Provost for EducationCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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