The Three C’s of College Campus Climate

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The Three Cs to survival in academia for tenure-track faculty or junior faculty are Climate, Culture, and Collegiality, according to a new study by the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE), a research project based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. More than 4,500 junior faculty from 51 colleges participated in the survey. See highlights of the report.

What is interesting about this report is that implementing its findings won’t cost money.

Instead, it requires faculty and administrators to focus on their individual and collective behavior and its impact on junior faculty. Note that collegiality was the most predictive indicator of overall satisfaction for both sexes. Collegiality implies that we be good to one another, care about each other, and reach out to one another. It challenges us to share our knowledge and experiences not only with our students, but also with one another. It challenges us to be invested in each others success as much as we are in the success of our students. It invites us to mentor junior faculty even without being anointed with the title of "mentor."

There are many campuses where collegiality is prized and nurtured. Unfortunately, there are also many campuses where junior faculty walk on egg shells. They are sidelined, used as pawns in political battles, assigned committee work that no one else wants and classes that no one else wants to teach. They must be careful not to "upset" senior faculty. They must please the colleagues in their discipline, department, college, and university if they want to receive tenure. They are ignored and marginalized in subtle and blatant ways. They are told this is all part of the "pay your dues" proposition. Unfortunately, junior faculty perpetuate this model once they become tenured and the cycle repeats itself.

How would junior faculty rate you, your department, and your college or university on the collegiality index?

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