The Undergraduate Teaching Faculty The 2010-2011 HERI Faculty Survey , a survey of faculty at four-year universities by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA, contains some interesting findings.
- Almost a quarter of professors at four-year universities do not consider teaching their “principal activity” (pg 19)
- The median teaching load is 2 courses per term (mean = 2.5) (pg 20)
- One-third have paid sabbatical leave (pg 22)
- Over 60 percentof professors spend 0-4 hours a week “advising and counseling” students (pg 27)
- 56.2 percent of professors spend 8 or fewer hours a week teaching (pg 92)
- 63.2 percent of professors spend 12 or fewer hours a week preparing for teaching, including grading (pg 92)
- 62.7 percent of professors identify their political beliefs as “far left” or “liberal”, 11.9 percent say they are “far right” or “conservative” (pg 36)
- 42.6 percent of professors have received an award for outstanding teaching (pg 95) [AG: Seems analogous to K-12 teachers all being rated “excellent”]
- Only 16.5 percent believe the statement “Faculty are rewarded for being good teachers” is very descriptive of their institution (pg 96) [AG: I guess those outstanding teaching awards aren’t considered rewarding]
- 47.3 percent have “Considered leaving this institution for another” (pg 95)
- 36.7 percent agreed “strongly” or “somewhat” with the statement, “Most of the students I teach lack the basic skills for college level work” (pg 97)
- 71.3 percent agreed that “To increase or maintain institutional prestige” was of “highest” or “high” priority (pg 98)
- 55.2 percent agreed “strongly” or “somewhat” that “The chief benefit of a college education is that it increases one’s earning power” (pg 98) [AG: Given the disproportionate number of op-eds by faculty declaring this to be untrue, I was (pleasantly) surprised by how high this number was.]
Note, I am very skeptical of the HERI survey numbers for part-time faculty. For example, the survey reports that less than 11 percent of part-time faculty earn less than $50,000 from their institution (pg 187), a number that seems much too low to me.