W&M faculty see funding as a top issue

  • 2009 ReportSurvey found William & Mary faculty satisfied with their jobs but concerned about the current lack of university funding.

    2009 Report

William & Mary faculty are generally satisfied with their jobs though their top concerns and issues focus on the current lack of funding at the university, according to a recent report.

Improved salaries and increased funding for items such as faculty research, research by graduate and professional students and faculty presentations at research conferences were among the top priorities cited in the most recent survey conducted by the William & Mary Faculty Assembly.

The 2009 survey, which is conducted every three years, received a 72-percent response rate from faculty at the College. While faculty subcommittees will explore the results of the survey in greater detail in the coming weeks, the assembly presented a few highlights of the 314-page document during the most recent meeting of the William & Mary Board of Visitors.

One highlight, said Faculty Assembly Vice President and Chancellor Professor of Sociology Kate Slevin, was that 83 percent of faculty who responded to the survey stated they were satisfied in their current position. That’s up from 81 percent in the 2006 survey and slightly higher than the national average, she said.

“The survey is a great tool for the faculty and the Board,” said Anita Poston, chair of the Board’s Committee on Academic Affairs.

The survey, Slevin said, is the most comprehensive report to date and is used to assess faculty opinions and perceptions on a wide range of topics, such as faculty priorities, governance and job satisfaction. It was coordinated by Katherine Kulick, associate professor of modern languages and literatures and the Faculty Representative on the Board of Visitors.

Slevin said that faculty members will now examine the entire document, which was just recently completed, to determine how it best ties into the College’s ongoing strategic planning effort.

For example, she said, results indicate that assistant professors are more satisfied than associate professors. Eighteen percent of faculty who responded to the survey said they were “actively on the job market,” citing reasons such as salary levels and inadequate funding for research.

“I think it says William & Mary faculty want to be here but they have serious concerns about salary levels,” Kulick said.

The Faculty Assembly will now break into their four subcommittees -- the Academic Affairs, Executive and Faculty Affairs Committees, and the Committee on Planning and Resources (COPAR) -- So that they can examine specific topics of the survey. Each committee will be joined by a member of the Board of Visitors to prepare individual reports on issues, priorities and concerns at the Board’s regular meeting in April. The entire report is available on the Faculty Assembly’s Web site.

“The triennial faculty survey provides the Faculty Assembly, and other members of our community, with valuable insight into those things the faculty think are most important,” said Faculty Assembly President Gene Tracy, a professor of physics.  “It makes faculty governance more effective, and allows us to represent our colleagues in a more meaningful way.”