This fall, we are looking forward to fielding our triennial US Faculty Survey. This will be the eighth cycle of this long-standing research initiative through which we examine faculty research and teaching perspectives and practices across a variety of institutional and disciplinary contexts. Through this ongoing work, we have now mapped for over two decades the evolving attitudes and behaviors of scholars on a range of topics, including the discovery and access of scholarship, research dissemination and preservation, instructional methods and course materials, and the many roles of the library.

With each cycle, we have refreshed the survey instrument to ensure it maintains its relevance. Given the significant, and in many cases unexpected, environmental changes to higher education since we last fielded the survey in 2018—most notably over the last year—we will be expanding the survey to provide the higher education field with up-to-date, actionable data for decision-making and strategic planning. The US Faculty Survey 2021 will continue to track trends from previous survey cycles while also introducing new items and questions to keep up with areas of emerging importance.

In preparation for these updates, we have gathered a wonderful group of advisors to help shape the thematic areas of expansion for the national survey:

  • Consuella Askew, Associate University Librarian, Rutgers University
  • MJ Bishop, Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation, University System of Maryland
  • Flower Darby, Educator, Author, Speaker
  • Bethany Nowviskie, Dean of Libraries, Senior Academic Technology Officer, and Professor of English, James Madison University
  • Devin Savage, Dean of Libraries, Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Peter Schiffer, Frederick W. Beinecke Professor of Applied Physics, Yale University
  • Denise Stephens, Dean of Libraries, University of Oklahoma
  • Elaine Westbrooks, Vice Provost for University Libraries and University Librarian, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Conversations with our advisors and the library assessment community, including both library directors and past local survey participants, paired with reflections on our findings from the last survey cycle have guided us to consider several key areas in which to expand the questionnaire for the 2021 survey cycle. We are thrilled today to preview these areas that we expect will greatly shape new items and questions throughout the instrument:

  • Instructional support: What services do faculty find most valuable for teaching, particularly for online instruction? Can remote support from the library and other providers rival in-person assistance?
  • Equitable and holistic teaching practices: Are faculty examining and revising their pedagogy and course materials to promote more equitable learning outcomes? What evidence do faculty most often consult to inform changes to the courses they teach?
  • Perspectives on scholarly outputs and open access models: To what extent have faculty formed opinions about how open access publishing models should be funded? How actively are faculty pursuing non-traditional avenues to disseminate their research? And what new services would faculty most value to support their evolving scholarly communication needs?
  • Capacity and evaluation: How much time do faculty spend on research, teaching, and service? How important are each of these responsibilities for tenure, promotion, and other forms of evaluation?

We are looking forward to providing the community with an updated snapshot of faculty research and teaching practices and how they have shifted over the course of the last three years. As we further develop and test our questionnaire over the next few months, we will continue to share updates.

In the meantime, please join us for a webinar on Thursday, June 3 at 12pm ET to hear more about the new themes for the US Faculty Survey 2021 and how institutions can field it locally in tandem with the national survey this fall. We will share more about the updates to the instrument and hear from past participants Frances Maloy (Union College) as well as Annette Stalnaker and Donna Tolson (University of Virginia) about how they have used their findings for decision-making and strategic planning.