C-Change Faculty Survey

A tool measuring dimensions of the existing culture in order to address the professional and personal development of faculty in academic medical centers

Development of the C-Change Surveys

The National Initiative on Gender, Culture and Leadership in Medicine, known as C-Change (for culture change) and housed at Brandeis University, is dedicated to improving the culture of academic medicine through research and action. Our objective is to promote an inclusive, affirming, relational and energizing working environment for all medical school faculty and trainees, at the same time increasing the diversity of leadership in academic medicine.

In an initial phase, C-Change has conducted in-depth interviews with male and female faculty in five academic medical centers in order to document the culture and issues affecting faculty productivity and well-being.1-3,5-10 Those qualitative interview data served as basis for the construction of an extensive quantitative survey instrument, the C-Change Faculty Survey,© which systematically explores and documents the experiences of medical school faculty and the organizational culture in their academic medical centers.

Randomly selected faculty in each of a stratified random sample of 26 schools were surveyed using the Survey. This large, nationally representative dataset of faculty responses serves as a rigorously analytic resource to investigate important topics, such as the vitality and retention of academic faculty. Survey findings in individual institutions provide a solid foundation for developing activities to support an enhanced working environment and set of values in academic medicine. Our national normative C-Change Survey data allow medical schools to compare themselves with other similar institutions. Recent C-Change research11 identifies dimensions of the culture as measured by the survey that predict faculty intention to leave due to dissatisfaction.

The C-Change Faculty Survey is available for use by academic medical centers wishing to assess and improve their culture and existing practices in order to create a more academically productive, inclusive, diverse and humanistic environment where all people can thrive. The Surveys allow detailed exploration of the foundations of the development of human capital, (e.g., trust, relationships, perception of opportunity, professionalism and the learning environment) as well as the waste of such human capital. (e.g., disconnection, causes of dissatisfaction, burnout and desire to leave academic medicine) When used in parallel, the Student and Faculty Surveys provide credible and powerful tools for improvements. Survey findings can address accreditation requirements.

Content of the C-Change Faculty Survey

The C-Change Faculty Survey assesses medical faculty perceptions of their organizational culture and professional experiences. It consists of 74 questions that assess levels of vitality, trust, competition, professionalism, feelings of being valued and belonging, gender and diversity inclusion and equity, and other constructs related to the organizational culture for faculty. It also collects data on faculty roles (e.g., percent time spent in research, education, administration, clinical time) and faculty perception of their school’s support for career development, mentoring and work-life management. It assesses burnout and faculty commitment to their institution, as well as intention to leave academic medicine.

Twelve discrete scales with demonstrated statistical reliability, developed to summarize C-Change data along important dimensions of the culture, allow comparison of sub-populations and investigate outcomes of interest.

An example of the C-Change Faculty Survey in use: University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Administration of the C-Change Faculty Survey

The C-Change Faculty Survey is fielded electronically and takes about 15 minutes to complete. The Survey is hosted on a secure external website and administered by the C-Change team at Brandeis University to ensure confidentiality of responses and help achieve a high response rate.  Data are provided to schools in aggregate form to protect the anonymity of respondents.

C-Change works closely with medical schools to understand any unique needs they might have in survey adaptation or fielding, and administers the Survey. C-Change works in collaboration with each institution to develop a strong communications plan to enable a high response rate. Depending on the size and analytic needs of the institution, C-Change can recommend and develop a sampling plan or field the Survey to the full census of the faculty, as appropriate.

Analysis and Reporting of Study Findings

C-Change creates the scales representing dimensions of the culture and other analytic variables of interest, and prepares data tables with frequencies for all survey variables. National faculty data are provided as comparison to help identify similarities and differences with the study institution.

Fee Structure

Budgeting for the C-Change Surveys depends on study specifics, such as the size of the study population, analysis of sub-populations, or tailoring the survey to institutional needs. The C-Change research team has developed a streamlined process to manage survey data collection, analysis, and reporting.

Customization for Different Populations

The Survey can be adapted for faculty in other health care disciplines and higher education, and for staff.

Data – Action Cycles

Assisting institutions to collect and use their faculty survey data effectively and constructively are central elements of the services provided.

Selected C-Change Publications Regarding the C-Change Faculty Survey

  1. Pololi LH, Evans AT, Civian JT, Vasiliou V, Gibbs BK, Coplit LD, Gillum LH, Brennan RT. Mentoring faculty: A U.S. national survey of its adequacy and linkage to culture in academic health centers. J. Continuing Education in the Health Professions. 2015;35:176-184.

  2. Pololi LH, Evans AT, Civian JT, Gibbs BK, Coplit LD, Gillum LH, Brennan RT. Faculty vitality — surviving the challenges facing academic health centers: a national survey of medical faculty. Academic Medicine. 2015;90:930-936.

  3. Pololi LH, Evans AT, Gibbs BK, Krupat E, Brennan RT, Civian JT. The experience of minority faculty who are underrepresented in medicine, at 26 representative U.S. medical schools. Academic Medicine. 2013;88:1308-1314.

  4. Pololi LH, Civian JT, Brennan RT, Dotollo AL, Krupat E. Experiencing the Culture of Academic Medicine: Gender Matters, A National Study. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2013;28:201-207.

  5. Pololi, LH, Krupat E, Civian JT, Ash AS, Brennan RT. Why are a quarter of faculty considering leaving academic medicine? A study of their perceptions of institutional culture and intention to leave in 26 representative medical schools. Academic Medicine. 2012;87:859-869.