Faculty Survey 2001-02
Mary Ann Weaver
For links to tables within this report click here
In order to learn about the kinds of people who choose to teach at Earlham, a survey conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California was given to the teaching and administrative faculty in October of 2001. The results of this survey follow and the information from it may be useful in showing the attitudes and values of the typical Earlham faculty member.
The faculty were first questioned about their age. Of the 123 faculty members who responded to the survey at Earlham, 6.5% were under the age of 30 as of December 31, 2001. This compares to 19.5% of respondents in that same age bracket surveyed in 1998. Twenty four percent were between the ages of 30 and 39 and 28% between the ages of 45 and 49. Thirty percent were ages 50-59, while only 11% were over the age of 60 and 3% were over the age of 70. In terms of all colleges and universities in the U.S., the largest age group for professors is 45-54 with 35%. Sixteen percent are over the age of 60, as compared to only 5% of the teaching faculty in 1998.
Earlham faculty were also asked about their academic rank. Table 1 below gives a summary of the results of the responses to this question from the 53 teaching faculty who completed the survey.
Academic Rank by percentage
The overall percentage of full professors at Earlham is greater than that percentage for all colleges and universities, and the percentage of staff that are lecturers or instructors is less then average. Earlham also has more Assistant Professors (32.1%) than average, and less Associate professors (18.9%) than average.
In terms of degrees earned by Earlham teaching faculty, of those surveyed 94.3% held at least a Master’s degree or other first professional degree. Seventy three percent of the respondents hold a Ph.D. in some field. At comparable colleges (private four-year institutions) 84.1% of the respondents have Ph.D.’s. As compared to all institutions (60.5%) Earlham has a higher percentage of Ph.D. teaching staff.
As well as being asked about the highest degree they had earned, Earlham professors were asked in which field they had received that degree.
Field of Highest Degree by percentage
Not surprisingly, large numbers of Earlham professors earned their highest degree in such fields as Humanities (23.5%), and Social Sciences (21.6%).
Year Highest Degree Earned
The male teaching staff at Earlham tended to receive their degrees earlier than the female teaching staff, with the earliest women receiving their degree between 1974 and 1978. All other institutions have more women receiving their degrees earlier (6.6% from 1969 to 1973), as do similar schools (6% between 1964 and 1968).
One question dealt with the issue of tenure. When asked if they were tenured, 51% of the Earlham teaching faculty respondents said that they were. This can be compared to 58.9% of faculty at all other institutions. Breaking this group down into male and female, we see that at Earlham 54.8% of male faculty and 44.4% of female faculty has tenure. Among similar colleges 61.8% of the teaching faculty reported tenure.
In addition to being asked questions about their education and their position as professors, Earlham faculty members were asked about their attitudes towards teaching. When asked about their primary interest in being a college professor, the majority (86.6%) of teaching faculty respondents said that they were either very heavily interested in teaching or that their interest leaned toward teaching. Teaching faculty at other private institutions similar to Earlham expressed the same interests as teaching faculty here, with 69.6%. While 13.5% of Earlham teaching faculty leans more toward research, 27.3% of teaching faculty at private, four-year colleges and 26.9% of teaching faculty in all institutions have this interest. No Earlham faculty member considered him/herself heavily interested in research, though 3.2% of private college professors and 3.7% of all professors see this as their primary interest.
Questions on the faculty survey did not deal solely with the college-related aspects of the professors’ lives but also with personal and familial questions. Faculty members were asked about their marital status as well as the education of partners and parents.
A question about marital status revealed that 78.8% of male professors and 90% of female professors at Earlham are married. This differs from the marital statuses of all faculties at private, four-year institutions, where the trend of more married male than female professors continues as 83.3% of the males and 66.2% of the females are married. Only 1.9% of Earlham teaching faculty are unmarried and living with a partner compared to 3.8% of faculty at private four-year colleges and 4.4% from all institutions. Twenty four point five percent of Earlham faculty have been divorced compared to 19.6% from private four-year colleges and 24.7 from all institutions.
Those faculty members who are (or were) married or currently have a partner were asked about the level of education that their spouse or partner obtained. Many spouses of Earlham professors obtained advanced degrees, with 61.5% reporting this level of education. Forty six percent of the spouses of private, four-year college faculty had received the same level of education and 44.5% of spouses of all college and university professors earned an advanced degree.
In terms of parental education, Earlham teaching faculty tended to come from fairly educated families, with 64.2% of their fathers and 46.1% of their mothers having obtained at least a college degree. The percentages of professors at private, four-year colleges whose parents earned similar degrees are 46% and 35% respectively. While 41.5% of Earlham faculty fathers and 26.9% of their mothers earned advanced degrees, 22.5% of fathers of all college professors and 11.3% of their mothers received comparable degrees.
Another question relating to being an Earlham professor asked about the salaries that these faculty members make. When asked, a large number of faculty members (71%) reported earnings between $40,000 and $59,000 annually. Sixteen percent reported making over $60,000. In all institutions
surveyed, 51.9% of professors make between $40,000 and $59,000; and a large number (27.6%) make over $60,000.
Teaching faculty were asked about the ages of their children. As Table 4 indicates, children of Earlham teaching faculty have a similar age range to most teaching faculty nationally. The greatest distinction is in the 24 and over age bracket where 34.4% of teaching faculty nationally have children in this age bracket but only 18.9% of Earlham teaching faculty have children aged 24 or over.
Ages of Children
Earlham professors were asked questions about their activities, both in general and in relation to teaching. The results of these questions are noted in Table 5.
Though Earlham professors are very similar to all college faculties in most respects, they differ considerably from the norm in the area of research and writing on race, ethnicity, or gender issues. While 41.5% of Earlham faculty have done research or writing on women, only 24.7% of all college professors have done so. While 37.7% of Earlham professors have done writing or research on race or ethnicity, only 23.8% of professors from all institutions have done similar work.
General Activities in the Last Two Years
In the last two years, a greater percentage of (88.7%) of Earlham faculty have developed a new course, as compared to 71.4% of all teaching faculty, and 79.3% of teaching faculty of private four-year institutions.
Teaching Activities in the Last Two Years
Although their general activities might be similar to those of professors everywhere, the teaching experiences of Earlham professors are quite different from those of their counterparts elsewhere. While only 39.1% of all college professors have taught interdisciplinary courses, 79.2% of Earlham faculty have done so. Similarly, 24.4% of Earlham professors have taught ethnic studies while the national percentage is 10.2%. The emphasis on Women’s Studies is again evident as 24.4% of Earlham faculty have taught one of these courses while only 7.4% of all college and university professors have done the same. Earlham professors are also more likely to work with students on a research project, as 73.5% have done so.
Another set of questions asked the Earlham faculty how much time they spent per week in the following activities.
Hours per Week Spent on Scheduled Teaching
The majority (67.3%) of Earlham professors spend between 5 and 12 hours teaching each week, while 15.1% of Earlham professors spend 13-16 hours per week. At private colleges, a greater percentage (9.1%) spends between 17 and 20 hours on scheduled teaching.
Hours per Week Spent on Preparing for Teaching
Earlham professors seem to spend more time preparing for teaching than they do actually instructing a class since 23% spend over 13 hours in scheduled teaching and 57.6% spend over 13 hours preparing for teaching.
Hours per Week Spent on Advising/Counseling of Students
As one can see from Table 10, most Earlham professors spend 5-8 hours a week counseling students. This is not true of most college professors; the national average is 1 to 4 hours.
Hours per Week Spent on Committee Work and Meetings
Approximately 98% of Earlham professors spend at least one hour a week on committee work and meetings, compared to 95.1% of professors at private colleges and 94% of all professors.
Hours per Week Spent on Other Administration
Table 12 shows that Earlham professors are less likely than professors at other private colleges to spend no time in administrative work. Also, there is a greater percentage of Earlham faculty members who spend over 13 hours a week in administrative work (10%) than professors at other private colleges (4.5%)
Hours per Week Spent on Research and Scholarly Writing
Overall Earlham professors spend less time on research and scholarly writing then their counterparts at other institutions. Female Earlham faculty are less likely to spend time doing research and scholarly writing, with 31.6% doing none.
When asked about their professional writings, 86.5% of Earlham faculty respondents had written at least one article for an academic or professional journal. Of those, 36.5% of Earlham professors had published three or four articles, and 11.5% had produced between 11 and 20. In terms of chapters in edited volumes, 49% had written at least one. More recently, 54.9% have published at least one writing in the last two years.
Goals Noted as Very Important or Essential
The most common goals noted as very important or essential are to be a good teacher and colleague. Promoting racial understanding is more important to Earlham professors than to all college professors and yet the percentage who indicated the same decreased from 1998. Becoming an authority in their field is less important than to all college professors. Earlham professors are also more interested in environmental clean up.
Evaluation Methods Used in Most or all Undergraduate Classes
Earlham professors (5.7%) are much less likely to use multiple-choice exams for midterms and finals than all college professors (32.5%). There has been a decrease in the percentage of Earlham professors that use essays for midterms and finals since 1998, though the current percentage (45.3%) is still greater than the percentage for all college professors (42.2%). Earlham professors are also less likely to use weekly essay assignments than they were in 1998, and more likely to use term/research papers.
Instructional Methods Used in Most or all Undergraduate Classes
Class discussions are the most frequently used instructional method among all survey populations. Earlham professors use readings on women, gender, racial and ethnic issues far more than the national sample but have decreased the use of those methods since 1998. It is interesting to note that far more Earlham professors use cooperative learning and independent projects than the national average.
Goals for Undergraduates Noted as Very Important or Essential
The national sample of private colleges is more concerned than the Earlham respondents with preparing students for employment. A much larger percentage of Earlham respondents (73.1%) felt it was very important to prepare students for graduate schools than was reported by all other institutions (58.3). Earlham focuses more on personal growth, including emotional development, moral character, self-understanding and responsible citizenship. It is interesting to note that more Earlham faculty reported feeling it was less important to prepare students for family living than in 1998. Earlham faculty members (53.9) also are more interested in enhancing the out-of-class experience of students than the national sample of all institutions (39.3).
Earlham faculty were asked how many general education courses they were teaching during the current semester. The majority (53.1%) were teaching one general education course, while 12.2% were teaching two, 4.1% were teaching three, and 2.0% were teaching four. At Earlham 28.6% of professors were teaching no general education classes. Nationally, 48% were not teaching any general education courses, 21.3% were teaching one, 14.2% were teaching two, and 16.6% were teaching three or more general education courses.
The Earlham samples are generally farther left leaning than the sample from all private colleges. The number of teaching faculty that considers themselves liberal or far-left has increased since 1998. The majority of Earlham professors consider themselves liberal (66%). There is a much smaller percentage (44.4%) of Earlham administrative faculty in the liberal category.
Attitudes on Issues of Government and Lifestyles *
There are several tremendous differences among samples for these questions between Earlham faculty and the national sample. The 2001 Earlham faculty respondents agree much more strongly than the national faculty sample that community service should be given weight in admission decisions and that colleges should be involved in social problems. Concerning issues related to the participant’s institution, Earlham faculty respondents agree much more strongly that courses at Earlham involve students in community service, include the feminist perspective, and that our students are well prepared academically.
In 2001, there were a smaller percentage of Earlham professors (43.4%) who feel Western Civilization should be the foundation of undergraduate curriculum than in 1998 when 54.8% of our teaching faculty felt the same. It was surprising to find that 9.4% of our teaching faculty believes that there is a lot of campus racial conflict compared to 7.8% of all institutions faculty. This compares to 12.5% of teaching faculty in 1998 feeling the same. Earlham faculty agreed more with the statements that female and faculty of color are treated fairly than all other institutions.
Issues Noted as Being of High or Highest Priority
The Earlham respondents are more committed to recruiting more minority students and creating a diverse multi-cultural campus environment. They are also more committed to helping students examine and understand their personal values, developing a sense of community among students and faculty, and facilitating student involvement in community service. Faculty at Earlham gave a higher priority to developing student’s
leadership abilities and helping students learn how to bring about change in American society than the national norm.
Attributes Noted as Being Very Descriptive of Institution
Earlham faculty perceived that it is much easier to see Earlham faculty outside of their office hours than it is for the national sample. The most significant difference in the 2001 responses compared to the 1998 responses concerned the perception of the faculty’s respect for each other, 63% of 2001 respondents felt the faculty have respect for one another compared to 84.8% in 1998. In 1998, no teaching faculty felt that they were at odds with the administration compared to 7.5% of the teaching faculty feeling that way in 2001. However, in 1995 23.4% of the faculty respondents felt that the faculty was at odds with administration. Another difference related to faculty being rewarded for good teaching. In 2001, 45.3% of Earlham professors felt they were rewarded for good teaching compared to 34.4% in 1998. However, only 14.5% of the national sample for all faculties at private colleges felt they were rewarded for good teaching.
Personal Goals Noted as Very Important or Essential
Most of Earlham faculty’s personal goals are similar to those of faculties at all institutions. However they remain more interested in helping to promote racial understanding, have congruence between personal and institutional values and influencing social values than the national norm. Earlham teaching faculty is less interested in being financially well off and becoming an authority in their field than the national average.
Aspects of One’s Job Noted as Very Satisfactory or Satisfactory
Earlham teaching faculty are overall more satisfied with their jobs than they were in 1998 and than their counterparts at other institutions. Earlham faculty’s satisfaction with salary and fringe benefits has decreased since 1998, as has their satisfaction with the quality of students. Teaching faculty relationships with administration at Earlham were more satisfactory than at other institutions, but satisfaction has decreased since 1998.
Sources of Stress
(Percentage of respondents marking “somewhat” OR “extensive”)
Females (90%) reported more stress from household responsibilities than did males (60.6%). There was a decrease in stress due to childcare for both males and females, as compared to 1998. Earlham female faculty reported more stress from a review/promotion process than their male counterparts which may be due to the fact that a greater percentage of females are untenured. Earlham male and female faculty members were less stressed about review/promotion process than faculty from all institutions. The same was true about research or publishing demands.
The faculty were asked whether they wished to remain as college professors, 51.0% of the 2001 faculty indicated “definitely yes”, compared to 48.6% nationally. An additional 41.2% answered “probably yes”, as did 32.9% nation-wide. No Earlham respondents answered “definitely no” in 1995, 1998, or 2001 although 1.4% chose this response nationally.
Earlham respondents demonstrate a greater sensitivity toward women and minorities’ issues and are more committed to social service. Overall, the Earlham faculty is more liberal than the national sample from all private colleges. Earlham is more focused on fostering students’ personal growth than are other institutions. This growth includes value, moral, and emotional development, and increased self-understanding.
While other colleges focus on preparing students to achieve specific educational and professional goals, Earlham strives to prepare students to become better people, ready for whatever futures they choose.
Like all colleges, Earlham devotes considerable energy to the collection and analysis of data describing its students and alumni. Relatively less attention is paid to the professionals (both teaching and administrative faculty) who represent such a major part of the learning environment for those students. HERI, however, does conduct surveys of teaching and administrative faculty every three years. Such data allow us to make several useful comparisons.
First, faculty attitudes, values, and goals can be compared and contrasted with those of students. The present report does not explicitly make such comparisons, but the reader may refer to various reports previously issued on student surveys. For example, 66% of Earlham faculty in this 2001 survey identified themselves as “liberal,” as compared with 59% of Earlham’s 2002 first-year class.
A second set of analyses compare/contrast Earlham faculty with those of other liberal arts colleges (members of the HEDS consortium) and with faculty of higher education institutions generally. For example, Earlham faculty (particularly teaching faculty) are more liberal politically than their counterparts at other HEDS institutions -- 66% of Earlham faculty describe themselves as “liberal” while 56% of those at HEDS schools identify themselves this way. Earlham faculty, like Earlham students, are even more liberal in comparison with faculty of all undergraduate institutions – only 42% of those faculty label themselves as “liberal.” In short, there is a congruence between Earlham’s values and ideals (as expressed in its mission statement and Quaker heritage), the political orientation of its faculty, and the attitudes and goals of the students who choose to enroll at Earlham.
Third, it is helpful to examine changes in Earlham faculty’s survey responses over time. This report offers many comparisons between those faculty’s 1995, 1998 and 2001 data. For example, there has been a steady increase (from 19% to 27% to 34%) in the proportion of Earlham faculty using experiential learning approaches with their students. It was also good to see that, while 23% of the faculty in 1995 described the faculty as being at odds with the administration, only 8% agreed with that description in 2001.
An interesting example of faculty/institution discordance, however, appears in the case of the national reputation of Earlham. There has also been a substantial decrease (from 70% in 1995 to 58% in 1998 to a mere 28% in 2001) in the percentage of faculty who see it as a high priority to increase or maintain institutional prestige. Similarly, the percentage who view it as a high priority to enhance the institution’s national image has fallen from 75% in 1995 to 61% in 1998 to only 49% in 2001. Both of these latter findings are puzzling in light of the institution’s emphasis over the corresponding period (and currently) in increasing its national visibility and respect!
How do Earlham faculty view Earlham? Asked about their degree of agreement or disagreement with various descriptive statements, virtually all (98%) agreed that faculty have an interest in students’ problems (vs. 78% nationally) and a similar percentage (98%) agreed that faculty here are committed to the welfare of Earlham College (vs. 85% nationally). Describing Earlham, 83% of faculty agreed that it is easy to see faculty here (as opposed to only 46% agreeing nationally). Less encouraging are the data showing that only 62% of Earlham faculty agree that faculty here respect each other (but this still exceeds the national average of 39% and the HEDS figure of 42%).
Are Earlham students well-prepared academically when they arrive on campus? Less than half of the faculty (47%) agree that they are. This contrasts with 54% of the HEDS faculty who agree with this but compares favorably with the 32% of faculty nationally who find their students academically well-prepared. On the other hand, 89% of Earlham faculty agree that our students are committed to community service (vs. a mere 28% nationally and 46% for the HEDS group) and 74% agree that community service is given weight in the admissions process here.
Additionally, 98% of the faculty agree that community service is encouraged here. In the curriculum, 72% of the faculty believe that courses here involve students in community service (vs. 35% nationally and 40% at HEDS schools). In contrast, while only 43% of Earlham faculty would agree that Western civilization should be the foundation of our undergraduate curriculum (vs. 53% at HEDS schools), fully 75% advocate strengthening the place of diversity in that curriculum (vs. 55% nationally) and 83% agree that courses at Earlham reflect feminist perspectives (vs. 36% nationally and 59% at HEDS schools).
What do Earlham faculty hold as goals for their students’ education? Nationally, 67% of faculty view it as very important to “prepare students for employment,” while the corresponding proportion for Earlham faculty is 52%. In contrast, 58% of national faculty and 61% of faculty at HEDS institutions see “preparing students for graduate education” as very important, but 73% of EC faculty rate such graduate school preparation as very important.
It is striking that the most highly-endorsed faculty goal for students at Earlham is that of “developing moral character” (with 83% saying this is very important versus only 56% nationally). A close second in importance at Earlham is the goal of “developing personal values” in students (seen as very important by 79% of faculty vs. 58% nationwide). In terms of the goal of “preparing for responsible citizenship,” 77% of Earlham faculty rate this as very important vs. about 60% of faculty nationally.
Faculty also rated the importance of various goals for their institution. Earlham faculty and faculty at HEDS colleges agree that “promoting intellectual development” is one of the most important goals (with 89% of both groups saying this is very important). Beyond this, however, Earlham faculty stand out in emphasizing the importance of a number of additional goals (i.e. rating these as very important). Those include: helping students understand their personal values (96% vs. 50% nationally), developing a sense of community among students and faculty (93% vs. 48% nationally), creating a diverse multi-cultural environment (85% vs. 54% nationally), facilitating students’ community service (85% vs. 38% nationally), helping students learn how to bring about change in American society (85% vs. 27% nationally), recruiting more minority students (79% vs. 51% nationally), developing leadership (66% vs. 45% nationally), and promoting religious/spiritual development (64% vs. 22% nationally). It is not surprising to note that having congruence between one’s personal values and the values of the institution within which one works was rated as very important by 72% of Earlham faculty (vs. 54% nationally).
Since the faculty committed to such goals make up an important part of our students’ learning environment, it is not surprising that more than half of our entering students have consulted Loren Pope’s book, Colleges That Change Lives, a source that is widely respected for its identification of colleges that contribute significantly to the development of character in their students. Clearly, our students choose Earlham, in part, because of its emphasis on character development and just as clearly, faculty give strong endorsement to this goal.
Another important value is reflected in the fact that 77% of Earlham faculty endorse the goal of seeking to “promote racial understanding” as very important while only 54% of faculty nationally and 61% of HEDS colleges share this priority. Likewise, 75% of Earlham faculty believe that it is very important to “enhance students knowledge of racial/ethnic groups” versus 57% of faculty at all institutions and 62% of HEDS faculty. It is not surprising, therefore, that Earlham faculty have incorporated a multi-cultural requirement into our general education program. As a matter of fact, 38% of EC faculty have engaged in research or writing on race or ethnicity (vs. 28% of HEDS faculty and 24% nationally) and 24% of Earlham faculty have taught a course on “ethnic studies” (vs. 15% at HEDS schools and 10% overall).
Earlham faculty are very concerned about the personal and emotional development of their students – 62% say it is very important to “provide for emotional development” of students (vs. only 33% of HEDS faculty and 35% of national faculty). Earlham faculty also stand out in their emphasis on the goal of fostering “student self-understanding,” with 77% at Earlham seeing this as very important (vs. 60% nationally). Additionally, Earlham faculty stand out in the priority they give to “preparing students for graduate education,” with 73% identifying that goal as very important (vs. 58% nationally and 61% for HEDS schools). This, of course, fits well with Earlham’s outstanding track record in the production of doctoral degrees among its graduates.
Reflecting on the nature of higher education, it is not surprising that 77% of Earlham faculty (vs. 64% of national faculty) agree that tenure attracts the best faculty, but it is somewhat unexpected that fully 34% of the Earlham group agrees that tenure is outmoded (vs. only 31% for faculty nationally). Perhaps this may be related to the fact that a mere 6% of Earlham faculty accords importance to the goal of hiring faculty “stars” (vs. 26% of faculty nationally who see this as very important). Another finding that is a mixture of good and bad news is that only 45% of Earlham faculty agree that faculty here are rewarded for good teaching, but this does compare favorably with agreement in this respect by HEDS faculty (29%) and even more so with the figure for the larger national sample (only 15%).
A very substantial 81% of Earlham faculty indicated overall satisfaction with their job (compared to 77% nationally). Satisfaction with the quality of students at Earlham was cited as a very important component of this feeling by 66% (vs. only 44% nationally). On the other hand, satisfaction with the opportunity for visibility for other jobs was cited by only 32% of Earlham faculty (vs. 44% nationally and 46% at HEDS schools) while satisfaction with salary and fringe benefits was noted as a factor in overall job satisfaction by only 29% of Earlham faculty vs. 49% overall and 61% at HEDS institutions. With respect to gender, an overwhelming majority (94%) agreed that women faculty at Earlham are treated fairly (vs. 85% nationally).
It is difficult to assess how such feelings may translate into career behaviors. It is interesting to note, however, that 29% of HEDS faculty but only 19% of Earlham faculty plan to work beyond age 70. Conversely, 36% of HEDS faculty but only 28% of Earlham faculty have considered early retirement. On the other hand, fully 40% of Earlham faculty (vs. 31% at HEDS schools) have considered leaving academe.
A major concern by Earlham faculty in recent years has been the sense of busyness that pervades the campus. A number of findings in this survey appear to have implications for this situation. Fully a quarter of Earlham faculty (25%) report spending more than 12 hours per week on teaching (i.e. in direct classroom contact with students), which contrasts with only 15% of our HEDS colleagues and 30% nationally. In addition, 58% of Earlham professors spend more than 12 hours per week in preparation for teaching, compared to 51% in HEDS schools and 42% nationally. Advising also takes its toll, with 60% spending more than 4 hours per week while only 38% of HEDS faculty and 36% of national faculty do so. Committee work, too, adds to the burden, as 50% of Earlham faculty, but only 25% of HEDS faculty and 27% nationally, spend more than 4 hours per week in committee activity. In terms of other administrative tasks, 26% at Earlham (vs. 21% for HEDS and 23% nationally) say they spend more than 4 hours per week doing this. Finally, while only 31% of Earlham faculty indicate that they spend more than 4 hours per week doing research and scholarly writing, 43% of faculty nationally and 48% of HEDS faculty report this level of scholarly work.
At Earlham, only 30% of faculty cited opportunities for research as a very important factor in their decision to pursue an academic career (contrasted with 48% of faculty nationally). On the other hand, 81% of Earlham faculty cited opportunities for teaching as a key factor in their choice of a teaching career (vs. 71% nationally). The chance for autonomy in one’s professional role was noted as very important by 62% of Earlham faculty vs. 78% of faculty nationally.
Another interesting facet of reported workload is that of gender differences. A greater percentage of women faculty at Earlham (32%) than men faculty (21%) spend more than 12 hours teaching, while more male professors (61%) than female professors (53%) say they spend more than 12 hours preparing. One is tempted to conclude that the amount of time available for preparation for teaching is limited by the number of hours one must spend in the classroom. If one imagines that such a situation could lead a teacher to feel chronically under prepared, it could add to the sense of busyness we (especially women faculty) feel. In terms of advising or counseling students, more women than men (69% vs. 55%) say they spend more than 4 hours per week. The difference is even more pronounced in the case of committee service, with 39% of males and 69% of females reporting spending more than 4 hours per week. Likewise, in relation to administrative tasks, 34% of women versus 22% of men say they spend more than 4 hours per week doing this. In general, it appears that there is a greater disparity between male faculty and female faculty in relation to hours per week spent in most aspects of one’s professional role. It may be relevant also that HEDS faculty report that 83% of male faculty versus 66% of female faculty are married while Earlham faculty say 79% of males but 90% of females have a marital partner. This may add even further to the sense of busyness. Of uncertain relevance is the fact that 35% of HEDS faculty have a partner who is also in academe while the figure for Earlham faculty is 50%.
Are there aspects of our approach to teaching that might contribute to the pressures we feel? For example, 42% of HEDS faculty but 62% of Earlham faculty report having team-taught a course in the past two years. In terms of evaluation methods, 60% of Earlham faculty require term papers (vs. 45% of HEDS faculty and 37% nationally); 60% require student presentations (vs. 45% of HEDS faculty and 37% nationally); and a mere 6% of Earlham faculty utilize multiple-choice exams in most or all of their courses (vs. 14% at HEDS schools and 33% nationally). Cooperative learning is frequently used at Earlham – 66% of faculty here say they use this in most or all of their courses (vs. 45% for HEDS and 43% nationally) and 36% use group projects in most or all of their courses (vs. 27% for HEDS and 26% nationally). Additionally, 51% at Earlham (vs. 38% at HEDS schools and 37% nationally) use independent projects in most or all of their classes and 28% at Earlham allow multiple drafts of work (vs. 25% for HEDS and 19% nationally). The headline for this area is that the teaching methods preferred at Earlham certainly contribute to our busyness.
Faculty were asked directly to evaluate sources of stress in their lives. A variety of factors were said to contribute somewhat or extensively to perceived stress – household responsibilities (more so for women faculty than for men, a difference that especially stood out at Earlham); marital friction (especially a factor for women faculty at Earlham); lack of a personal life (both males and females at Earlham rate this as a major source of stress, more so than for faculty nationally); review or promotion (cited more by women than men and this difference was especially notable at Earlham). It was interesting to note that faculty meetings were cited as a source of stress for 65% of female faculty but only 52% of male faculty at Earlham (nationally, 52% of males and 58% of females cited faculty meetings as a stress factor).
What can we conclude from all of this? It appears that Earlham faculty have good reason to feel both overly busy and genuinely satisfied with their professional life. They have affiliated with an institution that shares and supports their commitment to teaching, their desire for community and their personal values. On the other hand, some of their worst tendencies toward overwork are embraced and affirmed by that same institution, leading to a “culture of busyness” in which it is difficult for an individual faculty member to follow a different professional lifestyle.