Survey shows faculty not happy with admin, BOR

Katrina Sargent

Katrina Sargent

From Sept. 21 to Oct. 10, SDSU faculty had the opportunity to voice their opinions and express their level of job satisfaction working at the university.

The Academic Senate conducted a faculty satisfaction survey to assess morale through e-mail. Surveys were sent out to 669 names on the SDSU faculty e-mail list; out of those, about 25 percent, or 165, of the faculty responded.

Laura Wight said a 24-25 percent response is huge. Wight is a librarian at Briggs Library and member of the Academic Senate. She said with a survey of this nature, generally only a four to five percent response rate is expected.

“My general sentiment is too much on it (the survey) is negative,” Wight said. “Too many people are dissatisfied in too many areas.”

“There is a feeling on campus of dissatisfaction with tenure, communication and input with the administration, and dissatisfaction with the [Board of Regents],” said Eric Hanson, the current administrative assistant of the Students’ Association and student representative on the Academic Senate.

According to a results sheet from the survey, 75 percent of the respondents were somewhat to very dissatisfied with the BOR’s respect of the faculty’s role in governing the institution, and 58 percent were somewhat to very dissatisfied with the extent to which administrators seek faculty input.

“The good news is that there is a good feeling about choosing content and teaching methods,” said Hanson.

More than 90 percent of faculty respondents were happy with the authority they have to make decisions about the content and methods used in the classes they teach.

Both Hanson and Wight cited the survey as a first step in the process of improving SDSU.

“We want to focus on the positives and be proactive on how to fix it,” said Wight.

“It is good to have the info out,” said Hanson. “Now we know why and what issues to address.”

According to Wight, the executive committee met with the president’s office to discuss the survey.

“I think they were a little surprised by the negative tone,” Wight said.

Making the administration aware is the first step of change, she said.

The process of creating this survey began a couple years ago when some senators brought up the idea of faculty satisfaction, said Wight.

Members of a subcommittee developed the survey in the spring of 2007; it was then reviewed three times by the entire Senate and distributed to the faculty in September.

The questions on the survey were designed to maintain anonymity so faculty could feel free to respond honestly.

According to Hanson, the survey also had questions universities nationwide deal with, meaning SDSU can compare its results with other universities. Questions were taken from the National Center for Education Statistics and the American Association of University Professors statement on the “Evaluation of Shared Governance.”

About 50 percent of faculty surveyed expressed satisfaction with the effectiveness of faculty leadership compared to 61 percent nationally; 41 percent were dissatisfied with the time available to advise students versus 21 percent nationally.

According to Wight, there could be another survey or focus groups in the future to discuss the results of this survey and bring about some changes.

“I think it’s a first step to take information and do good things with it,” said Wight.

Hanson sees this survey eventually leading to improvements in resources for teachers to help them improve their abilities and keep growing, as well as a chance to provide more tools and options for the faculty at SDSU.

“Students won’t see the results directly but will see benefits in the long run,” said Hanson.