Date of Conferral







Cheryl Keen


Low faculty job satisfaction observed in higher education institutions can result in high rates of turnover and lack of commitment. With limited research on department chair leadership and faculty job satisfaction, there is also a gap in research in small liberal arts college settings. Guided by Avolio and Bass’s full-range leadership model, the purpose of this study was to examine the association between faculty perceptions of department chair leadership characteristics and faculty job satisfaction at 3 small, liberal arts institutions in the southeastern United States. For this nonexperimental study, the college’s self-developed Adapted Employee Satisfaction Survey was distributed to 720 faculty of whom 526 responded for a response rate of 73%. The Pearson chi-square test for independence with Cramer’s V was conducted and indicated that while 65% felt satisfied with their job, only the perceived department chair leadership characteristic of comfort with feedback by department chair was moderately to strongly associated with faculty job satisfaction (V = .44). Allowance of honest expression (V = .37) had a moderate association, whereas the remaining 5 characteristics had significant associations with faculty job satisfaction but with small effect sizes: being respected by their department chair (V = .24), department chairs caring about their well-being (V = .21), confidence in leadership (V = .17), adequate communication (V = .15), and openness to input from faculty (V = .15). These findings may contribute to social change by giving insight into improving faculty’s job satisfaction, which may lead to better teaching, benefitting students’ academic experiences, and the college’s overall reputation.