ThemePercentage of Respondents Who Commented on This ThemeIssues That Comprise This Theme
Workload
 Overworked and understaffed
 Hiring practices to try to cope with workload28%
  • Faculty workloads perceived to be excessive and extremely varied.

  • No time for professional development to learn skills needed for the job.

  • Extensive weekend and evening work to complete routine job functions.

  • Perception that academic positions are more work and higher stress than private practice.

  • No appreciation for teaching by administration increases faculty concern over workload.

  • High burnout and high turnover.

  • Challenge of constantly integrating new faculty into the teaching of the curriculum.

  • Too many faculty are not productive, which increases workload; too many “retired in place” faculty.

  • Difficult to be effective researcher given teaching load; administration has unrealistic expectations about how much research can be accomplished by clinical faculty in one or one-half day per week.

Faculty-administration relationships 27%
  • Dental school administrators are out of touch with “in the trenches” faculty.

  • Adverse environment: “us” (administration) against “them” (faculty); lack of a collegial atmosphere.

  • Administration makes decisions that influence curriculum implementation without seeking faculty input.

  • Lack of faith in capacity of school leaders to solve problems facing dental schools.

  • Perception that administration does not respect faculty.

  • Perception among faculty that any feedback given to the administration is seen as complaining and griping.

  • Perception that deans push new plans without planning or consultation with faculty; “change for change sake.”

  • Dean sets the environmental tone for the school, either positive or negative.

The dental school within the academic health center 21%
  • Sense that dental school environment is less academic than other schools at health science centers.

  • Concerns about how other schools perceive dental school.

  • Lack of support from central administration of the HSC/parent university.

  • Lack of research collaboration with other schools.

  • Lack of effort to develop programs in the community.

  • No effort by dental school to establish links to other schools; perception of self-imposed isolation.

  • Perception that dental schools lack innovation; sense of stagnation; “school is in limbo” and is not evolving to keep pace with other HSC schools.

  • Challenging environment for educational mission; too much emphasis on generating income vs. teaching.

  • Aging physical plant in comparison to other HSC schools; inadequate facilities that are not attractive to faculty candidates or prospective students.

Compensation 13%
  • Perception among faculty that they are overworked and underpaid.

  • Awareness of how salary issues negatively influence students’ consideration of an academic career.

  • Awareness of how salary is a barrier to recruiting quality faculty with teaching or research experience.

Unequal promotion standards and compensation for teachers and researchers 12%
  • Standard recruitment and hiring practices are bypassed in order to get researchers.

  • Other faculty members have to teach more and do more university service to compensate for researchers.

  • Perception that reward system is not linked to performance.

  • Concern that new faculty are hired at higher salary than long-standing faculty, which affects morale and collegiality.

Professional development 12%
  • Perception that dental schools devote inadequate effort to development of faculty skills.

  • New faculty are not well oriented to schools and parent universities; have to seek information on their own.

  • Faculty do not receive career guidance.

  • Mentoring is “hit or miss,” although some proactive department chairs provide excellent mentoring.

  • Schools do not provide funding to support travel to professional meetings.

Other Themes and Associated Issues Described by 10% or Less of Respondents
Recruiting and retaining faculty for the future (10%)
  • Hiring primarily addresses immediate needs and plugging gaps rather than long-term goals of the school.

  • Hiring practices lean toward “buddies”; cronyism and inbreeding.

  • Perception that younger faculty who graduated from different schools have difficulty getting hired.

Lack of infrastructure to maintain research program (7%)
  • Lack of laboratory facilities within the dental school building for biomedical research.

  • Beg, borrow, and steal approach for research staff and resources.

  • Insufficient funding base to support core research equipment, statisticians, and lab technicians.

Differences in teaching philosophy among faculty (7%)
  • Young faculty seen as “too soft” and “easy graders.”

  • Older faculty perceived to be antagonistic toward students.

  • Perception that many faculty are “too set in their ways,” which stifles curriculum innovation.

  • Comments reflect generalist versus specialist debate about focus of the curriculum.

Faculty proactivity needed for success in academia (5%)
  • Faculty have to “make it work” through their own initiatives rather than assuming that the school will help you be successful.

  • Academic dentistry can be stimulating, rewarding, challenging.

  • Some chairs provide effective mentoring.