Faculty Retention

Charge

The Faculty Retention Committee was charged by the Strategic Planning Council with examining all aspects of faculty retention on campus. West Virginia University invests resources in recruiting, hiring, supporting and developing new faculty, so that loss of productive faculty is damaging to the success and mission of the institution. In some cases, faculty may be hired who cannot meet requirements for promotion or tenure, while in other cases successful faculty may elect to seek other employment. Research and other non-tenure track faculty may elect to seek tenure track positions elsewhere. The Committee was charged with:

  1. Quantifying the financial and resource impacts of faculty loss to the institution. Identifying the time period required for the training and development of new faculty and the impact of faculty loss on research productivity.
  2. Gathering data on faculty retention with respect to frequency, rank, type and discipline.
  3. Examining the relationship between faculty hiring and faculty retention.
  4. Identifying changes in resources, structure, culture, work-life balance, teaching/research/service balance and mentoring that may increase retention of faculty. Performing a simple cost-benefit analysis to highlight the worth of promoting faculty retention.
  5. Suggesting pathways to optimize WVU success through improved retention of faculty.

The Committee interacted with the Strategic Planning Council and provided the Council with a brief final report.

Executive Summary

Issue

When contributing faculty members leave, failure to retain them constitutes a major cost for the University, given the time, expense, and resources necessary to replace such faculty.

Goal

Retain high quality faculty who contribute to the mission of West Virginia University.

Strategies

To ensure success, West Virginia University must:

  • Provide a work environment that is comparable and competitive with its peers, in terms of compensation (salary and benefits), workload (research, teaching, and service), and career development/support (start up/pilot funds, training, core equipment, mentoring).
  • Continue to recruit and hire faculty who have the potential to achieve the goals assigned to them, ensure that they fully understand those goals, and provide an environment in which they can achieve those goals.
  • Ensure the best fit possible between the expectations, personal needs and values of the faculty member, his/her family, and the Morgantown living environment.
  • Develop methods, for individual academic units and for the institution as a whole, that measure faculty retention rates, reasons for faculty departures, and the extent to which those factors are impacting current faculty members that West Virginia University wishes to retain, as well as provide recommendations for correcting problems that arise.

Conclusions – August 27, 2010