Building a Path Forward Together: Georgia State University’s 2021 – 2022 COACHE Action Plan
In the coming academic year, Georgia State will build a path forward to work on areas of focus that were identified by the COACHE survey process. You can learn more through the web version below, and download a PDF of this COACHE action plan at the bottom of the page.
Provost Hensel has also tasked deans and directors to create action plans at the college/school/institute level. You can access these plans below.
Nature of Work:Service
The COACHE survey explores the nature of faculty work related to teaching, service, and research. Service was an area of concern across all faculty groups. The data show that faculty believe there are too many service commitments, uneven distribution of workload, and lack of appropriate recognition for time spent on service. Yet service to the university, professional organizations, and the community is vital to meeting the needs of our students and accomplishing the university’s mission. We commit to changing the culture around service to value this contribution more clearly and emphasize that service is not only a responsibility of every faculty member, but also a reciprocal obligation that we owe to each other as members of our community.
Action Plan 1:
The Office of the Provost will identify best practices for allocating service assignments to ensure an equitable distribution between faculty members. Examples may include periodic rotation of committee chairs, weighting service on committees to reflect time commitment and contribution, inclusion of all faculty types where appropriate (tenure track and non-tenure track), review of departmental bylaws with respect to the allocation of service, and review of standing committees to ensure continued relevance.
Action Plan 2:
The Office of the Provost will ask all colleges to review the apportionment of service tasks over the last three years in each department to determine whether service is distributed equitably between members. Departments will be asked to engage in conversations with faculty members to identify the expected service load for a typical faculty member and develop a policy for equitable distribution moving forward.
Action Plan 3:
The Office of the Provost will require every annual review to include a discussion of service, with a focus on service rendered to the college or university. Recognizing that students in disproportionate numbers often call on women and faculty of color to provide advising and mentoring, faculty members will be encouraged to keep and report details of their service to include recommendation letters written, in-office advising sessions, etc. for purposes of documentation and discussion in annual reviews.
In response to Georgia State’s custom questions about mentoring, 46% of faculty said they were not aware of a mentoring program in their department or division, and 13% said they were unsure. When asked about currently having a mentor, formally or informally, 59% of faculty said they did not have either. Effective mentoring is critical to faculty development, and we are committed to making it available to every early-career faculty member.
Action Plan 4:
The Office of the Provost will develop a university-level plan mentoring plan and work with Colleges to support additional mentoring efforts.
Action Plan 5:
Mentoring will specifically be identified as a category of valued service in the University Promotion and Tenure manual.
Appreciation & Recognition
The COACHE survey asked faculty about a variety of ways they might feel recognized and by whom. While appreciation and recognition were an area of concern across all faculty groups, tenured faculty and under-represented minority faculty had lower levels of satisfaction. The qualitative data supporting faculty concerns range from lack of recognition for research, teaching, and service to a general feeling of being undervalued. The faculty are the university’s greatest resource, and we are committed to identifying, recognizing and praising the many contributions that are made to our students and the university’s mission.
Action Plan 6:
The Office of the Provost will implement new, concrete ways to recognize faculty at the university level and encourage similar recognition efforts at the department and college level. New awards will be considered and implemented, such as a university-level Distinguished Teaching Award (analogous to the Distinguished University Professor) and an award for faculty contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus.
Action Plan 7:
The Provost will highlight notable faculty achievements monthly in the Provost Newsletter and encourage department chairs and deans also to implement regular communications identifying faculty accomplishments.
Faculty Recruitment, Retention and Belongingness
COACHE survey results reflect concern with recruitment and retention efforts, particularly as they relate to faculty of color. There also were seven custom questions on the COACHE survey that concentrated on inclusion, belongingness, and respect. The results illustrated that underrepresented faculty in each case felt less positive in these areas than other faculty.
In 2017, President Becker established the Commission on the Next Generation of Faculty and tasked them with identifying ways to increase faculty diversity and enhance campus climate. That work currently is underway guided by the Implementation Steering Committee (ISC). In addition, in response to the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black Americans, President Becker and Provost Hensel established the Task Force for Racial Equality in June 2020. Significant campus activity has taken place arising out of their recommendations and the subsequent action plan issued by the Provost.
Georgia State is committed to ensuring equity and fairness in faculty search processes and exploring how to create a more welcoming environment to retain quality faculty members.
Action Plan 8:
The Office of the Provost will offer Best Practices in Hiring workshops, which will specifically focus on alleviating implicit bias. This training will be mandatory for all search chairs.
Action Plan 9:
The university will continue to execute on the recommendations in the Implementation Steering Committee’s action plans, which center on how to attract and retain a diverse faculty. Specifically, the Office of the Provost, Office of Faculty Affairs and Graduate School will collectively work on pipeline programming to encourage underrepresented minority doctoral students in their pursuit of faculty positions, hosting future faculty and hiring day events. Further, the Office of the Provost will coordinate recruitment efforts at the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Doctoral Scholars Institute on Teaching and Mentoring and McKnight Fellowship Program. There will be a continuation of faculty receptions to welcome new faculty and networking of current faculty from underrepresented groups.
Action Plan 10:
Georgia State will maintain and expand its virtual repository for diversity, equity, and inclusion activities (DEI website). The Diversity Database houses more than 100 programs, initiative, and policies related to DEI. The Provost will continue to support and encourage an environment dedicated to these endeavors.
Action Plan 11:
The Office of the Provost will engage in and support the six faculty affinity groups created to promote conversations and community engagement among faculty, especially those from underrepresented groups. Further, the Provost will regularly meet with faculty affinity groups to solicit feedback and identify ongoing issues challenging faculty.
Action Plan 12:
Having gathering space for faculty on our campuses may facilitate a sense of belonging. The Office of the Provost will identify an inventory of spaces across campus where faculty can gather informally and develop opportunities for community building across campus.
Lack of Support for Research/Creative Work
A number of faculty in the COACHE survey identified lack of support for research/creative work as a challenge of working at Georgia State. In particular, faculty mentioned a desire for greater support for internal interdisciplinary research clusters and expressed concerns relating to release time for scholarly and creative activities. As an R-1 university, Georgia State is committed to supporting and developing opportunities for faculty to engage in meaningful scholarly activities.
Action Plan 13:
The Office of the Provost will implement a Minimester pilot to explore, among other things, whether giving faculty members the option of more flexible teaching schedules may support them to develop more active research agendas.
Action Plan 14:
The Office of the Provost, in conjunction with the Faculty Senate, will examine the current Faculty Workload Policy and make changes where possible to support flexible teaching options, including course banking.
Action Plan 15:
The Office of the Provost will work with the Office of Research & Economic Development to facilitate the development of interdisciplinary research clusters between faculty, such as hosting discussions for identified research areas to foster collaboration.