The University Record, January 16, 1996

Faculty to be surveyed on their perceptions of their environment

By Jane R. Elgass

A survey designed to find out "what is going well with faculty and what needs attention" was mailed yesterday to all instructional faculty on the Ann Arbor campus.

Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education (CSHPE) and the Center for the Education of Women (CEW), the "U-M Faculty Work-Life Study" is designed to gather information about the careers and working conditions of U-M faculty members in order to understand how faculty perceive their work environments.

In a letter accompanying the survey, Robert T. Blackburn (CSHPE) and Carol S. Hollenshead (CEW) note that "in this time of changing leadership for the University, faculty satisfaction and retention are critical to Michigan's future. Like you, we are concerned when colleagues we value choose to leave the University or are not satisfied with their work life and career. This is a particularly appropriate time to inform the University of what is going well for faculty and what needs attention."

Development of the survey was guided by a 16-member Faculty Advisory Board and is financially supported by the Office of the Provost and the two Centers---CSHPE and CEW.

It is hoped that the results of the study will provide "a sound basis for recommendations concerning needed improvements to enhance the quality of faculty life," Blackburn and Hollenshead say in their letter.

The survey has been carefully designed to ensure confidentiality of all respondents. Reports will be based on aggregate data and will be reviewed by the Faculty Advisory Board prior to release.

Summary findings will be made available to faculty, administrators, deans and those involved in selecting a successor to President James J. Duderstadt.

"The project is not aimed at identifying the `good' and the `bad,'" Blackburn and Hollenshead note, "but rather to let the University know where it might do better. Our analyses should suggest the kinds of changes that will benefit all faculty."

To encourage faculty to complete the survey---since the developers are not in a position to compensate them---a bit of an incentive is offered. Four $500 award-winners will be selected by lot from among those who complete the survey. The money will be deposited in the winners' U-M accounts to be used for anything related to their appointment---such as books, supplies, computer equipment, hiring a student assistant, conference travel, etc.

Faculty are encouraged to complete and return the survey as soon as possible.

Questions? Contact the Faculty Work-Life Survey, 998-6695, or e-mail to


Faculty Work-Life Study Advisory Board

Frances Aparicio, associate professor of Spanish and of American culture; A. Lorris Betz, professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases, of pediatrics-neurology, of surgery and executive associate dean, Medical School; Cleo Caldwell, research investigator, Institute for Social Research; Mary Corcoran, professor of political science and public policy and of social work;

Taylor Cox, associate professor of organizational behavior and human resources management; Carolyn Frost, associate dean and professor of information and library studies; Erdogan Gulari, professor of chemical engineering and of macromolecular science and engineering; James Jackson, professor of psychology and research scientist;

Janet Lawrence, associate professor of education; Michael Martin, professor of biology; William Martin, professor of nuclear engineering and associate dean-administration, College of Engineering; Terrence McDonald, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and professor of history and LS&A associate dean for academic appointments;

Beth Reed, associate professor of social work and of women's studies; Abigail Stewart, professor of psychology and of women's studies and director, Institute for Research on Women and Gender; Sharon Sutton, associate professor of architecture; and Warren C. Whatley, associate professor of economics and at the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies.