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The 2020 Inside Higher Ed Survey of Chief Academic Officers

The 2020 Inside Higher Ed Survey of Chief Academic Officers


“Only 22 percent of provosts believe their institution is very effective at recruiting and retaining talented faculty members, according to the 2020 Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers by Inside Higher Ed.

The results are the lowest measured to date in the nine years Inside Higher Ed has conducted this survey, and nearly half of what they were from 2012 to 2014.

The totals come from Inside Higher Ed‘s annual survey of provosts (or equivalent job title when a college doesn’t have a provost). This year, 597 provosts answered at least some of the questions in the survey.

Among the findings:

  • Eighty-seven percent of provosts characterize their institution’s academic health as “excellent” or “good.”
  • Nearly all provosts say that that their college is effective in providing a quality undergraduate education, but only 57 percent of the provosts said that their institutions were “very effective.” In addition, when asked about elements of providing a quality undergraduate education, many provosts were ambivalent about how their institutions are doing.

About the Survey

Inside Higher Ed’s 2020 Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers was conducted in conjunction with researchers from Gallup. Inside Higher Ed regularly surveys key higher ed professionals on a range of topics.

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 2 p.m. Eastern, Inside Higher Ed will present a free webcast to discuss the results of the survey. Register here for the webcast.

The Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers was made possible in part with support from Oracle, Watermark, Phi Kappa Phi and Gallup.

  • Eighty-one percent of provosts agree or strongly agree that tenure remains important and viable at their institutions. That is a record high figure, but 77 percent of the provosts said that their institution relies significantly on non-tenure-track faculty for instruction — and they don’t see that changing.
  • More than eight in 10 provosts believe that the concept of a liberal arts education is not understood in the United States — even though 87 percent believe that liberal arts education is crucial to undergraduate education.
  • Provosts are divided on whether counting the number of students majoring in a field is an appropriate criterion for deciding whether to eliminate a department. Last year, they were more inclined to disagree.
  • Three-quarters of provosts are concerned about the trend of shutting down departments, now prevalent in higher education.
  • Provosts are much more likely to expect that STEM programs and professional or preprofessional programs will receive major allocation of funds at their institution in the coming year than to think arts and sciences programs will.
  • Seventy-two percent of provosts strongly agree or agree that higher education has tolerated sexual harassment by faculty members for too long, but only 15 percent believe the same about their own institution.
  • Most provosts favor tough policies to prevent sexual harassment, including barring all faculty-student romantic relationships and dismissing tenured faculty members who have been found guilty of harassment. They overwhelmingly believe their college has clear policies in place to prevent sexual harassment by faculty members and that it responds fairly and effectively to such allegations.”


Posted on: February 13, 2020, 8:07 am Category: Uncategorized

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