Faculty Retention & Work/Life

Retention efforts can improve the climate of a department and result in better productivity and greater job satisfaction. Faculty retention efforts can also be beneficial economically, as faculty replacement costs tend to be much higher than retention costs.

We have identified the following key practices that can positively impact faculty retention, particularly for women and underrepresented minority faculty. You can find more information in the downloadable UW ADVANCE Faculty Retention Toolkit, which explores each of these key areas in detail.

  1. Create a system to monitor decision-making, to check for areas of unintentional bias, and to create opportunities for all faculty.
  2. Encourage transparency and share information equally with faculty. Include fair and open promotion and tenure guidelines.
  3. Foster a supportive and welcoming environment.While support is critical for pre-tenure and underrepresented faculty, all faculty benefit from a supportive environment with as sense of community and active appreciation and recognition of faculty accomplishments.
  4. Provide opportunities for mentoring for faculty at all levels. Mentoring promotes a sense of community and supports faculty careers.
  5. Value diverse contributions in a broad set of areas, including teaching, research, service, and creative activities. Encourage a balance of traditional, and non-traditional faculty work, such as part-time appointments and non-traditional funding. Work with departments and promotion and tenure committees to make sure that diverse faculty and diverse career paths are valued.
  6. Support the career development of new and pre-tenure faculty, as they may need extra attention when it comes to retention. There are many issues that face new faculty, and it’s important to create a connection with new faculty when they arrive on campus. Strategies can include mentoring, workload balance, access to information, and ensuring visibility. More pre-tenure faculty resources
  7. Offer opportunities for mid-career faculty support and mentoring. Mid-career faculty face a unique set of challenges; it’s important to address career development early and often. More mid-career faculty resources
  8. Use faculty development resources on campus. At UW, available workshops address topics like promotion and tenure; research, teaching and service; proposals and grantwriting; issues specific to faculty leadership; and more. More career development resources at UW
  9. Support flexible policies and practices that improve the faculty experience. Consider strategies like salary adjustments, reduced teaching loads, leaves, tenure-clock extension, dual-career hiring, and more, to help retain faculty. Make all resource decisions on a case-by-case basis. More work/life balance resources
  10. Talk to faculty on an individual level, in focus groups, with department chairs and deans, and through exit interviews to identify barriers to retention, and work to find solutions to these barriers.