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U.S. Medical School Faculty Perceptions of Department Governance

Medical school faculty are a critical resource in our nation’s medical schools. Understanding factors comprising faculty job satisfaction is essential given the high costs of faculty turnover and the nation’s need to ensure a high-quality workforce in light of impending physician shortages. In this Analysis in Brief, data on how specific components of department governance differ by department type (i.e., clinical versus basic science faculty) and faculty perceptions of specific aspects of department governance in nine basic science and 24 clinical disciplines are presented.  Results show, for example, that perceptions of governance significantly differ by clinical versus basic science departments. Analyses of variation by specific department show that among clinical departments, faculty respondents in physical medicine and rehabilitation and otolaryngology were the most positive about department governance. As satisfaction with department governance is a driver of overall satisfaction with one’s department, understanding departmental differences may suggest specific tools and strategies that department chairs could use to improve the workplace for their faculty members, and, in turn, influence positive change within the medical school.

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