Higher education is operating in a rapidly changing global environment that is more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous than we have ever experienced. To function in such an environment, colleges and universities must understand fully the changing needs of the professoriate upon which the success of the enterprise depends. Recruiting, retaining and advancing this diverse and talented faculty will require both structural (policies and programs) and cultural (environmental) changes within higher education institutions. To sustain and advance institutional missions, colleges and universities are crafting “ win/win” solutions for greater workplace flexibility. As these opportunities have been implemented and utilized by faculty, they have increased retention and satisfaction for faculty by creating a better fit for integrating both professional and family needs. This flexibility is required throughout the career arc to meet the needs of the four generations of faculty in our current work force.
The National Higher Education Coalition, composed of college and university Presidential Coalition Partners and the American Council on Education (ACE), is developing a campaign to engage their colleagues in creating an increasingly broader awareness of the positive benefits of workplace flexibility for both institutions and their faculties. Successful implementation of flexible options in academic settings depends on leadership support in both words and actions, training of key leaders – provosts, deans, department chairs, search and tenure and promotion committees, tracking of key metrics and an openness to changing the culture to accept new ways of working.
ACE, its Presidential Coalition Partners and Presidential Champions will reach out to additional colleagues asking them to sign the statement of support for workplace flexibility and to raise awareness and expand flexibility options availability to faculty within their own institutions and to reach out to colleagues more broadly in the larger academic community. This effort will encourage more colleges and universities to adopt sound workplace flexibility policies to change the culture to be more attuned to the needs of the four generations of faculty within our institutions who all want more flexibility to balance their professional and personal needs, especially at key transitions in their lives. In return, campuses will benefit from a more stable, productive and satisfied workforce.
This campaign will raise awareness and increase commitment among higher education leaders to implement more flexible opportunities for faculty throughout their careers and create within these institutions a positive supportive environment that attracts and retains the most talented and diverse individuals within the academy thus ensuring our colleges and universities remain competitive in the current fast paced global economy.
Please contact us if you would like to help spread awareness about the importance of faculty career flexibility and join this campaign!