Survey shows prof dissatisfaction

Approximately 25 percent of university professors feel that pushing diversity may cause unqualified students being accepted into, according to a recent survey released by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

Titled “The American College Teacher,” the report identified trends among college instructors in the United States. Conducted every three years, the study was based on surveys of job satisfaction, opinions on students and personal beliefs of over 40,000 professors at 421 colleges and universities.

According to a HERI press release, only half of educators who participated in the study said that they are satisfied with the quality of their undergraduate students, while 36 percent agree that faculty members, on their respective campuses, feel that most students are academically prepared. Furthermore, while 90 percent of professors praise the idea of a campus filled with racial diversity, roughly one-quarter said that efforts to promote diversity has resulted in the “admission of too many underprepared students,” according to the online publication “Inside Higher Ed.”

Professors at private universities were more likely to be satisfied with the quality of their undergraduates than those teaching at public institutions, according to the report. While 75 percent of instructors at private schools were pleased, only half of public school professors had similar feelings, according to “Inside Higher Ed.” Overall this year, 41 percent of America’s faculty believe most students they teach to lack the basic skills for college-level work, the press release stated.

Jennifer Lindholm, director of the survey, stated in a press release that despite the impression created by the numbers, the percentage of satisfied professors has increased over the last two surveys.

“While it may be disheartening that just 50 percent of today’s faculty are satisfied with the quality of their students, it should be noted that the current figure is actually higher than it has been in recent years,” Lindholm stated in a press release.

Forty-four percent of educators were satisfied with the quality of students in 2001, while only 42 percent were satisfied in 1998, HERI stated the press release. In addition, the survey reported that those college professors who are self-described liberals outnumber their conservative counterparts, corresponding to 52 percent and 20 percent of the instructor population, respectively. In the 2004-05 academic year, 29 percent identified themselves as moderates, a contrast to 40 percent 15 years ago, the press release stated.

Faculty members’ views on goals for undergraduate education also varied, although they said that the top three were developing students’ abilities to think critically, helping students master knowledge in a discipline and promoting students’ ability to write effectively, with 99, 94 and 87 percent of the faculty backing each, respectively.

“The focus of today’s faculty is developing the practical skills embedded in a liberal education,” UCLA education professor and director of the Higher Education Research Institute Sylvia Hurtado stated in a press release.

Only 30 percent of faculty members view the chief aim of a college education as increasing students’ financial-earning potential.