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Most Harvard Professors Are Satisfied on the Job

Report: “Faculty Climate Survey 2013″

Institution: Harvard University

Summary: Harvard University’s periodic faculty-climate survey reveals that most professors at the Ivy League institution are satisfied on the job. Yet female faculty members report higher levels of stress about child-related issues and elder care than do men. And if they’re mothers, they have more household duties than do their male counterparts. Seventy-two percent of the faculty participated in the survey, which was most recently conducted in the 2012-13 academic year.

Findings:

  • A majority of professors, 81 percent, are satisfied with their job.
  • Two-thirds of tenure-track faculty members have a formal mentor, while only 4 percent have no mentor at all.
  • A majority of professors, 81 percent, said their department or school is a “good fit.”
  • Tenured female and underrepresented minority faculty members said they had to work harder to be perceived as legitimate scholars.
  • More than 25 percent of faculty members said they were dissatisfied with the amount of money available for conferences and travel, the support for securing grants, and the amount of time available for scholarly work.
  • Tenured women reported spending a median of 20 hours a week on household duties, compared with 10 hours a week for tenured men. For women on the tenure track who have children and a working partner or no partner, household duties ate up a median of 40 hours a week, compared with an average of 20 hours a week for men.

Bottom Line: Harvard’s faculty-climate survey shows that most professors are satisfied with their jobs and officials can point to areas of improvement since 2007, when the survey was first conducted. Yet some gender gaps persist, just as they do at peer universities.

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