A Message From Academic Affairs
What Makes a Great Academic Workplace?
A growing body of literature addresses the contrast between academic careers in research institutions and careers in liberal arts colleges. Cathy Trower, a professor in the School of Education at Harvard University has been conducting an extensive survey of new faculty over the last few years. Trower's "Study of New Scholars" attempts to tease out some of the critical factors in creating a great academic workplace. The good news is that there is much for us at Augustana to celebrate: this study and others demonstrates that faculty at liberal arts colleges are far more likely to be satisfied with their work than faculty at research institutions.
You will find a copy of the report here. I expect that this study will be useful to our conversations about tenure expectations, workload, and other aspects of faculty work at Augustana.
Some of what Trower has discovered in other areas of her study is alarming for those of us at liberal arts colleges well away from the metropolitan centers. She finds, for instance, that tenure is no longer the lure that it once was, that a majority of new PhDs would take a visiting appointment nearby over a tenure track appointment in some distant part of the country. Colleges like Augie will, as a result, need to be far more pro-active in seeking new PhDs and in creating workplaces for them. This will be all the more difficult at a time when most faculty members across the nation report increasing workloads.
I hope you will reflect on Trower's work. I invite you to send me your thoughts on how we can make progess on the efforts each of us makes toward ensuring that Augustana continues to be a community in which teacher-scholars can thrive throughout their careers. --Jeff Abernathy