January 5, 1998
By Barbara McKenna
Assistant and associate professors at UCSC were surveyed last May concerning their satisfaction with their working environment and their needs for support and mentoring. Survey results are summarized below; for more detail, visit the Web site: http://www2.ucsc.edu/ahr/survey.htm. The report is also available through department chairs.
Eighty faculty members responded to the survey, which addressed a range of topics, including, spousal/partner employment, the Faculty Welcome Series, the working environment of departments, experiences seeking assistance in departments, the Senior Mentor Program, mentoring in general, midcareer reviews, and the Teaching Support Office.
Among the findings, the survey shows that most faculty sought assistance within their departments on a variety of matters. The areas in which advice was sought most frequently were help with department politics (88 percent) and preparing personnel files (86 percent).
More than half of faculty feel the working environment of their departments is very supportive; only 8 percent said theirs is not supportive. Natural sciences faculty were most positive about their departmental environment. Concerning departmental responses to requests for assistance, natural sciences faculty were dissatisfied in an average of 29 percent of responses, compared to 39 percent for humanities faculty, 41 percent for social sciences faculty, and 61 percent for arts faculty.
Some other trends were evident in the level of a faculty member's satisfaction based on gender, race, rank, and divisional affiliations.
Men and women experience their environments quite similarly in the Natural Sciences and Social Sciences Divisions, but differently in the Arts and Humanities Divisions. In humanities, men felt their environment was very supportive, women somewhat less so. In arts, the pattern was reversed.
Although men and women differ in the percentages who seek assistance from their departments for various issues, the top three needs for both groups are help with department politics, help preparing a personnel review file, and help locating funding sources.
When respondents were broken into categories by race, differences were also evident. Faculty of color were more likely than white faculty (38 percent versus 12 percent) to report that colleagues "occasionally" hindered or discouraged their work. In addition, racial groups differed in their responses in three areas of help-seeking: white faculty were more satisfied than faculty of color with the availability of faculty assistance in reviewing work in progress, information regarding funding sources, and assistance with grant writing.
In four areas, associate professors indicated less positive feelings than assistant professors. Assistant professors generally experienced the working environment of their departments as more supportive than did associate professors.
To address these findings, a number of opportunities for informal social interaction have been initiated, new mentoring programs and trainings are in place, and the Senate Affirmative Action Committee is being asked to suggest actions to address problems where differences by sex and race/ethnicity were found. (See "Actions to address survey findings" at the Web site.
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