2012 CHERI Survey of Faculty Members on Boards of Trustees

In April and May of 2012 CHERI conducted a web- based survey of faculty members we had identified who were serving on, or had served on, boards of trustees of academic institutions to learn about their experiences as trustees. Among the issues we asked them about was how they came to their board positions,the lengths of their terms, the roles they played on their board, whether they were voting members, the board committees on which they served, their impacts they perceived they had on board decisions, and the factors that enhanced or limited their effectiveness as board members. Links are provided below to the survey and to the CHERI working paper that summarizes what we learned from our study.

Faculty Members on Boards of Trustees: The 2012 Cornell Higher Education Research Institute Survey of Faculty Trustees.pdf (PDF, 186 KB)


American colleges and universities have historically charged the same tuition levels for all of their undergraduate majors (with the exception perhaps of laboratory fees). However, economists have long suggested that academic institutions might plausibly seek to charge different tuition levels for different majors based upon the cost of providing an education in each major and the income earning prospects that the major offers.  Similarly, institutions might plausibly charge higher tuition levels for students who are further along in their programs, because the cost of educating advanced students (smaller classes) is often higher and because advanced students are more likely to complete their programs and thus to achieve the economic rewards from their programs. Faced with financial cutbacks, a growing number of public academic institutions are adopting differential tuitions by college or major, or by year of enrollment in the program.  To gauge how prevalent this trend has become, from November 2010 to March 2011 CHERI research assistants poured through the web pages of virtually all public academic institutions that offer bachelor's degrees searching for information on differential tuitions.

2011 Survey of Differential Tuition at Public Higher Education Institutions.pdf (PDF, 59 KB)


Under the auspices of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), the Cornell Survey Research Institute (SRI) conducted a survey for CHERI in the spring and summer of 2008 of 4-year colleges and universities to obtain annual information for the 1981-2007 period on the gender of voting members and chairs of boards of trustees. The goals of the survey were to document trends in the gender of board leaders and members, to learn whether the gender composition of board members and leaders influences the gender composition of chancellors/presidents and chief academic officers, and whether the gender composition of board members and leaders, and key academic administrators influence the rate at which academic institutions are diversifying their faculty along gender lines. The brief paper Females on Boards of Trustees: Slow but Steady Progress summarizes the survey findings; later papers will provide answers to the other questions that motivated the survey.


During 2006, the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute helped to fund a study Survey of Changes in Faculty Retirement Policies 2007 that was conducted by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) of college and university retirement plans. This survey was especially concerned with early retirement incentive plans, phased retirement plans, and health insurance for retirees. Its findings update a similar study conducted by the AAUP in 2000. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, the Director of CHERI, wrote the report summarizing the findings of the earlier survey and was an advisor to the AAUP committee that conducted the most recent survey.


During the Spring of 2004, CHERI conducted a survey of institutional representatives from the universities that regularly participate in the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Faculty Salary Survey by Discipline. The survey requested permission from the representatives to access the confidential data that their institutions had submitted to OSU in 1992 on faculty salaries, by rank, for a set of disciplines. These data were to be used by CHERI researchers in a study to explain why faculty salary differentials by discipline vary widely across institutions. The response rate was almost 100% and virtually all of the representatives we contacted granted us permission to access their data submissions. A paper summarizing our preliminary findings is now available as CHERI Working Paper 60, "Why do Field Differentials in Average Faculty Salaries Vary Across Universities.pdf (PDF, 105 KB)?"

During the spring and summer of 2004, CHERI conducted a survey of public universities to document the trends that have taken place over time in graduate teaching assistants' (henceforth TAs) compensation nationwide. The survey requested information on the minimum academic year stipend paid to full-time TAs, whether there were differentials in compensation for experience, the dollar value of tuition remission received by full-time TAs (by residency status) and information on university-provided health insurance for full-time TAs. The survey requested information for academic years 1989-90 to 2003-2004, at two-year intervals, as well as for three more distant academic years: 1975-76, 1980-81 and 1985-86. The survey was distributed to the graduate deans, or other relevant central administrators at 178 public four-year universities in the United States that confer a significant number of doctoral degree each year. The survey results summarize our findings. These data were collected as part of a larger doctoral dissertation project that is addressing the growth of collective bargaining for teaching assistants at public university and whether collective bargaining coverage influences teaching assistants;' compensation. When they are available, results from the larger project will be posted as a working paper on the CHERI working paper page.


During the spring and summer of 2003, CHERI conducted a "Survey of Economics Department Chairs." The sample surveyed was economics chairs at 258 economics departments of 4-year colleges across the United States. This survey requested information on the composition of economics department faculty from 1982-1983 to 2002-2003 at five-year intervals, as well as more detailed information on the composition of the faculty teaching undergraduate classes in 1992-1993 and 2002-2003 by class levels and enrollments. The survey results provide a broad overview of the findings, as well as links to both the survey form and tabulated results.


In the spring of 2002, CHERI conducted a "Survey of Start-Up Costs and Laboratory Allocation Rules at Research and Doctoral Universities." The sample survey included: the chairpersons of three to six science and engineering departments at 222 research and doctoral institutions in the United States; the deans of the college/school where each of these departments were located; and the vice presidents / vice provosts for research in each university. The survey results allow you to view the corresponding survey responses, and also includes links to the questionnaire.pdf (PDF, 227 KB) that we sent to the universities.


In the spring of 2001, CHERI conducted a "Survey of Tuition Reciprocity Agreements at Public Research and Doctoral Universities." The sample surveyed was all 149 public research and doctoral institutions in the United States as classified in 1994 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The survey results allow you to view each institution's response to the survey, and we have also provided the questionnaire that we sent to the institutions.


In the spring of 2000, CHERI conducted a "Survey of the Relationship Between the University and Its Colleges for Selected Academic Matters." The sample surveyed was all research and doctorate institutions in the United States. Here is the questionnaire.pdf (PDF, 210 KB) used for the survey, and the results.xls (XLS, 329 KB) are displayed in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.


In the spring of 1999, CHERI conducted a "Survey of Resource Allocation Methodologies at Research and Doctorate Institutions in the United States.pdf (PDF, 1 MB)." CHERI received responses from 90% of the institutions. The questionnaire used for public_universities.pdf (PDF, 156 KB) and private_universities.pdf (PDF, 181 KB) are available, and here is a summary of the responses.