Dianne H. Meyer, Ph.D.
The most important activity of a department chairperson is the recruitment and retention of excellent faculty. All of the measures of a department's success are dependent on the talent and quality of its faculty, including research and teaching productivity, student recruitment, funding, clinical efforts, department visibility, and national reputation. In programs of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) the recruitment and retention business has heightened because the projected number of doctoral graduates in the discipline is insufficient to meet the anticipated number of faculty vacancies (Petrosino, Lieberman, McNeill, & Shinn, 1999).
Are the Rules Changing?
Recent developments suggest that traditional assumptions about faculty recruitment may be changing.
Generally speaking, money is not the major motivator for scholars.
Challenge, growth opportunities, flexibility, and meaningful work are far
more important. In the sciences, salaries have increased substantially
along with costs for start-up packages. Table 1 compares traditional
perks used in faculty recruitment with new attractions (Schneider, 1998).
|Table 1. Recruitment Perks For Faculty|
|Traditional Perks||New Attractions|
Recruitment "To-Do" List
Why Is It Important?
In view of the fact that new CSD faculty may continue to be hard to
find in the near future, programs should work to retain the good faculty
that they have. There is a price to pay for losing a faculty member
and having to recruit another. Research suggests that replacing
a key person in an organization will cost between 70 and 200 percent of
the person's compensation (Kaye & Jordan-Evans, 1999). This cost
involves both direct and indirect expenses, as outlined in Table 2.
The time and expense involved in retaining good faculty are an important
investment into the well-being of the department.
|Table 2. Costs of Losing a Key Faculty Member|
|Direct Costs||Indirect Costs|
Why Do Faculty Stay?
Studies have shown that the top three reasons for staying in an organization are the same, regardless of the industry and level of worker (Kaye & Jordan-Evans, 1999). When asked what keeps them at the workplace, 90% of respondents list:
For the purposes of this workshop, I recently asked two groups of CSD
professionals why they stayed in a position and what could lure them away.
The first group was the faculty at Rush University, which is comprised
of 7 Ph.D. and 9 master level faculty, and the second was the 15-member
executive board of the Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
With both groups combined, there were 9 Ph.D. and 19 master's prepared
individuals; 18 worked in the university setting and 10 worked as clinicians
in a medical or school setting. Tables 3 and 4 summarize the responses
that were received to this informal survey. The factors important
to these individuals in our own professions are similar to those reported
by workers in general.
|Table 3. Responses of Ph.D. Faculty to an Informal Survey About Faculty Retention|
|Reasons To Stay||Reasons To Leave|
|Table 4. Responses of Master's Prepared Faculty/Staff to an Informal Survey About Retention|
|Reasons To Stay||Reasons To Leave|
Why an individual faculty member stays or leaves is no doubt unique to that individual and to the particular setting. It is very important to ask faculty members why they stay or what would keep them. If the questions are not asked, the chairperson may be operating on incorrect assumptions. One faculty member may need substantial changes to stay, while another may need only a better parking spot!
Dolores Battle (1999) has provided an excellent discussion of the problems and issues related to retention of minority faculty. She pointed out that despite excellent efforts, faculty members at many institutions remain disproportionately male and white, especially at the senior ranks. Additional strategies are needed to retain minority faculty members and to support a climate of acceptance.
Generation X refers to 44.5 million Americans born between 1965 and 1976. Baby Boomers may feel challenged by the Xers' mind-set towards work and their definition of a career. At the risk of over-generalizing, these are the characteristics associated with Xers (Kaye & Jordan-Evans, 1999):
Battle, D. E. (1999, October). Retention of minority faculty in higher education. Special Interest Division 10 Issues in Higher Education, 7-12.
Kaye, B., & Jordan-Evans, S. (1999). Love 'em or lose 'em. Getting good people to stay. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler .
Petrosino, L., Lieberman, R. J., NcNeil, M.R., & Shinn, R. E. (1999). 1998-99 Survey of undergraduate and gradu.ate programs. Minneapolis, MN: Council of Academic Program in Communication Sciences and Disorders .
Schneider, A. (1998, May 29). Recruiting academic stars: New tactics in an old game. The Chronicle of Higher Education, p. A12.
Schneider, A. (1999, September 9). Public-private faculty-pay
gap is $15,300 and growing, scholar says. The Chronicle of Higher