In an effort to gauge faculty satisfaction and engagement, and consistently improve both, BWH’s Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (CFDD) began conducting a biannual survey in 2008 in collaboration with the Brigham and Women’s Physicians Organization (BWPO). The results of its most recent survey, conducted in 2013, were recently released.
“Given the increasing demands on physicians, the funding climate for scientists and the complexities of working in an academic medical center, and recognizing the importance of faculty vitality to organizational success, we have embarked on what has been an eight-year mission to support faculty development and diversity here at BWH, since the creation of the CFDD,” said Audrey Haas, CFDD executive director.
The faculty survey is one component of the CFDD’s comprehensive work with the BWPO to build faculty engagement at BWH.
More than 700, or roughly 27 percent, of BWH’s 2,594 faculty completed the online 2013 Faculty Satisfaction Survey. Respondents included BWH clinicians, researchers, educators and administrators who also hold academic ranks at Harvard Medical School (HMS).
Eighty-five percent of respondents reported being “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” as a faculty member at BWHC, increasing from 75 percent in 2008 and 82 percent in 2011. Eighty-eight percent said they were likely to remain at BWHC for the next three to five years.
Respondents provided feedback in areas including mentoring, academic advancement, wellness, leadership development, professional flexibility and career transitions. Faculty feedback has shaped strategic priorities for programming and resources to ensure the BWH faculty flourish in their careers.
Mentoring, particularly mentor training, is one facet that CFDD has made a priority. The percentage of faculty who reported having an identified mentor increased from 35 to 44 percent in the past five years. The need for education among mentors has decreased from 42 percent in 2008 to 26 percent in 2011, likely a result of the Faculty Mentoring Leadership Program and the Mentoring Toolkit, an online resource for mentors and mentees alike.
One of the most positive outcomes from the survey so far has been the increase in the quality and quantity of annual career reviews for faculty. Based on the 2008 survey results, a co-chaired CFDD and BWPO task force made the recommendation in 2009 that all BWH faculty should receive an annual, in-person review, with a long-term goal of increasing compliance. The percentage of respondents who reported they received an annual, in-person review jumped from 67 percent in 2008 to 83 percent in 2013.
Jessica Dudley, MD, chief medical officer of the BWPO, who co-chaired the task force, said that both the CFDD and BWPO will continue to work with department chairs to reduce the gaps.
“Department leaders and faculty are working hard to perform the annual reviews,” said Dudley. “Now we are seeing the results. Career development is important for faculty across the academic continuum for junior faculty developing their career trajectories, as well as senior faculty identifying opportunities for ongoing leadership development.”
Survey results have helped to identify issues and facilitate actionable outcomes. These accomplishments position BWHC advantageously to meet the new guidelines for HMS academic appointments that require faculty to have an identified mentor and an annual career review. Overall, Haas said she’s pleased with the results and hopes to see more participation when the survey is administered again in 2015.
“We released the survey highlights to demonstrate the impact of the survey outcomes,” she said. “We are also working to shorten the next survey in an effort to increase the response rate.”