Faculty Exit Interviews

Procedures For Exit Interviews For Departing Faculty Members

The Faculty Exit Study, an annual effort led by the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs,  offers each tenured or tenure-track faculty member who is leaving Penn State an opportunity to participate in an exit interview, an exit survey, or both. The goals are to better understand the experiences of tenure-track faculty members at Penn State and to respond to faculty concerns.

Each college and campus will develop procedures for designating one faculty member as an Exit Interview Officer (EIO). The EIO might be a current faculty member, one who retired within the past two years, or an ombudsperson. The EIO should not be a human resources representative or someone who reports directly to the dean/chancellor. Diversity should be considered when selecting an EIO. (See the list of current Exit Interview Officers.)

All departing faculty – whether they were leaving as a result of other job offers or opportunities, denial of tenure, or retirement – are invited to be interviewed. The Human Resources (HR) Representative or Director of Business Services (DBS) will forward names of departing faculty to the EIO. The EIO will contact the faculty member to set up the exit interview. The EIO is encouraged to stay in contact with the HR representative or DBS. If the departing faculty member or college or campus officials believe the exit interview should be conducted by an administrator in the Provost’s office (e.g., the Provost or one of his Vice Provosts, rather than the college EIO), that can be arranged. Faculty who ask to be heard at both levels are given that opportunity. The Vice Provost for Academic Affairs is the contact person in the Provost’s Office. Exit interviews for minority faculty also include an interview with the Senior Faculty Mentor.

You are encouraged to use the following documents to conduct faculty exit interviews. (downloadable .docx files)

Interviewees should be assured of the confidentiality of the process, but be told that their responses will be shared with the Provost and, unless they have some objection, with their deans/chancellors. EIOs should print a copy of the interview questions appropriate to the reason the faculty member is departing. A written copy of the interview should be passed on to the dean/chancellor unless the EIO has been asked not to share information with the dean/chancellor, but instead to pass on to the Provost. Interviewees should also be asked whether or not they wish their names identified when these responses are shared. Copies of the responses are forwarded to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.

An optional online Faculty Exit Survey is available to all departing faculty. (A paper copy of the survey is available upon request.) Departing faculty members who choose not to be interviewed may also participate in the survey. EIOs should make the departing faculty member aware of the survey during the interview. This survey is intended only for departing faculty members and not for non-academic staff.

The Vice Provost for Academic Affairs will summarize responses as they relate to their colleges in ways that will ensure the confidentiality of individual responses. Although the forms will be coded to reflect respondents’ demographics, all information is confidential and will be presented in aggregate form in a report from the Provost’s Office. In cases where individuals might be identifiable due to the demographic coding, breakdowns will not be disseminated that reveal those figures. The general patterns of responses will be shared each year with the Academic Leadership Council and the Faculty Affairs Committee of the University Faculty Senate. The goal is to understand faculty concerns so that the University can be more responsive to them.

Faculty Exit Survey Results, Reports, and Analysis are available for review online.

For more information about and any materials from the Exit interview Officers Workshop held in October 2016, contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.