Higher Education Research Institute

Survey of UM Tenure-Track Faculty
Spring 2011

Thank you to those faculty members who responded to the Spring 2011 Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) survey. There was a reasonably good response rate; across UM, 38% (N = 206) of tenured and tenure-track faculty members completed the survey. A link to the breakdown of the demographic results for the survey can be found in the column at right.

The full data report organized by theme is posted in the right-hand column. The Faculty Development Office Steering Committee has prepared four thematic summaries to highlight key points from the HERI data. Every few weeks this spring, we will post a new summary on this page; past summaries will be accessible in the right-hand column. For questions about the survey, please contact Amy Kinch in the Faculty Development Office at 243-5897.

Job Satisfaction, Institutional Priorities, and Interaction with Students

The 2011 HERI survey included a number of questions focusing on faculty satisfaction, institutional priorities, and interaction with students. Results from these sections are summarized below. There are many ratings in this section and so items are listed only when there was evidence that UM Faculty reported responses at a rate that was significantly different as compared to faculty of other public universities. Of course, interested parties can examine all the data in detail on the right by clicking on: “Full survey report by theme.”


HERI items in this category measure satisfaction with various aspects of the faculty experience. Based on results from this section there are three areas where faculty report more positive satisfaction than faculty from other public universities. These include:

  • Given the opportunity to begin their careers again, UM faculty are more likely to still want to come to their current employer, the University of Montana, as compared with faculty from other public universities (70.3% vs. 67.4%, p < .05);
  • UM faculty are also more satisfied with (a) their social relationships with other faculty (72.2% vs. 63.9%, p < .05); and (b) job security (85.2% vs. 71.2%, p < .01).
In several areas, UM faculty report less satisfaction with, primarily, economic considerations, compared to responses obtained from faculty from other public universities. Specifically, UM faculty are significantly less satisfied with their salary (28.4% vs. 47.0%, p < .001); their health benefits (40.6% vs. 72.3%, p < .001); retirement benefits (30.3% vs. 67.1%, p < .001); and opportunities for scholarly pursuits (41.3% vs. 60.0%, p < .001).   Findings with less statistical significance include dissatisfaction with office/lab space (63.9% vs. 69.7%, p < .05); clerical/administrative support (44.8% vs. 55.2%, p < .05); and tuition remission for children/dependents (40.0% vs. 56.1%, p < .05). Faculty also expressed dissatisfaction with teaching load (43.8% vs. 59.1%, p < .001), though their reported teaching loads are not significantly different from faculty at peer institutions; UM faculty reported teaching, on average, 2.27 courses during the semester, compared to 2.24 courses by faculty from other public universities (NA).

Institutional Priorities

HERI items in this area offered UM faculty an opportunity to rate their views of UM’s institutional priorities. UM faculty responses indicated that the following UM priorities occur at a rate LESS THAN indicated by faculty from other public universities. 

  • Increase or maintain institutional prestige (61.4% vs. 74.8%, p < .001);
  • Hire faculty 'stars' (19.0% vs. 43.4%, p < .001);
  • Enhancing the institution’s national image (62.8% vs. 82.1%, p < .001);
  • Pursuit of extramural funding (70.1% vs. 80.2%, p < .01). For this same question, 2004-2005 results were 76.9% for UM and 78.0% for public institutions (NA).
  • Increasing the representation of minorities in the faculty and administration (25.9% vs. 39.3%, p < .01)
  • Strengthen links with the for-profit, corporate sector (40.9% vs. 57.6%, p < .001)

Compared with faculty from other public institutions, more UM faculty agree strongly or somewhat with the following statements:

  • Racial and ethnic diversity should be more strongly reflected in the curriculum (59.4% vs. 49.4%, p < .01);
  • UM should hire more faculty of color (81.0% vs. 72.0%, p < .05);

UM faculty also report great strengths of the university when compared with other public universities:

  • Faculty are committed to the welfare of this institution (93.6% strongly or somewhat agree vs. 88.0%, p < .001);
  • Faculty here are strongly interested in the academic problems of undergraduates (91.0% vs. 81.8%, p < .001);
  • Faculty facilitate student involvement in community service (44.5% vs. 33.4%, p < .001); It is a high priority at the university to help students learn how to bring about change in society (37.2% vs. 26.7%, p < .001). Note that in 2004-2005, this difference was not significant (26.5% for UM and 26.9% for other public institutions).

UM faculty also indicated that: colleges should be actively involved in solving social problems (83.7% strongly or somewhat agree vs. 74.4%, p < .05) and that colleges have a responsibility to work with their surrounding communities to address local issues (92.2% vs. 86.3%, p < .05)

Interaction with Students

HERI items in this area provided faculty with an opportunity to express their opinions on interactions between faculty and students. Positive significant results were found on the following items, suggesting that faculty view themselves as highly involved in their students’ welfare:

  • It is easy for students to see faculty outside of regular office hours (98.7% vs. 93.0%, p < .001);
  • Most students are treated like “numbers in a book” (21.3% vs. 37.3%, p < .001);
  • Faculty are interested in students’ personal problems (87.8% vs. 76.6%, p < .001);
  • As mentioned above, faculty at UM are strongly interested in the academic problems of undergraduates (91.0% vs. 81.8%, p < .001). In 2004-2005, the difference between UM faculty’s strong commitment in this area and that of others was comparable (80.3% vs. 65.3%, NA).