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How to Retain Faculty Using Team Building

If our goal in education is to serve students, wouldn’t it make sense that we find and foster the best faculty to help our mission? Think of a review you’ve given recently. You probably did so for one of two reasons, the service was exceptional, or the service was horrible. The same conversations can occur in a social setting with friends. We talk about amazing workplaces and workplaces that are less than desirable.  

Even in a classroom full of students, educators can still feel very much alone. According to several studies, isolation can push teachers to leave the profession altogether. One study mentioned in “Support, Collaborate, Retain” found that when educators did not have access to collaborative relationships, 1 out of every 5 left the profession. However, when institutions provided opportunities for educators to collaborate with one another, their teacher retention rates increased. 

Furthermore, when educators can’t successfully instruct their students, they become doubtful of their abilities and may consider switching professions. In fact, a Harvard report confirms that when educators lack self-efficacy, they are more likely to stop teaching. 

With attrition at risk, what do we do? All for one and one for all, right? Inter-colleague relationships are one of the main reasons faculty stay with their universities. These collegial friendships are integral to not only morale but organizational success. After all, when faculty leave, we’ve got to re-credential, interview, hire, and train faculty-all which cost time and money.  

The level of support that educators receive can make a huge difference in how they feel about their jobs and whether they stay. A survey from the Center for Teacher Quality, which included responses from 32,000 educators, revealed that support and connection from colleagues and administrators is one of the most significant factors in an educator’s decision to stay or leave the profession. By ensuring that educators feel supported and cared for, administrators can retain faculty. One way to show support is with a focus on team building. I think we would all recognize the importance of team building, but all too often this happens sparingly, if at all.  

Fostering positive relationships between colleagues through team building is a good idea, but it’s not necessarily easy. The key is to not rely solely on standard team building exercises that encourage people to get to know each other. Instead, organizations should use activities that create a sense of unity because happy, engaged faculty are often the best recruiters for other faculty and students.  

Here are things you can do to retain and engage your faculty: 

  • Pair faculty with effective mentors 

  • Recognize and reward faculty talent 

  • Challenge faculty professionally 

  • Invest in faculty learning and development 

Team building activities give employees a chance to bond with their co-workers, learn more about what makes them tick, and improve their comradery. By improving faculty engagement and boosting faculty morale, team-building activities can help retain top talent for years to come. 


Douglas, E. (2022). Team building: Is investing in comradery the key to retention? Human Resource Director. Retrieved from  

Webber, A. (2022). Retaining High Potential Employees: Can Team Building Help? TeamBonding. Retrieved from  

N.A. (2023). Proven Strategies for Increasing Teacher Retention Rates. Retrieved from  

About the Author

Michele Poulos has been in education for the past twenty years, working in elementary, secondary and post-secondary settings. She has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, a Master's Degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Psychology. She has learned and taught in traditional and online environments. She currently serves as Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences with ECPI University. She was recently initiated into Marquis’s Who’s Who in America for 2022. She resides in Naples, Florida with her husband, eight-year-old son, Trenton, and six-year-old daughter, Eliana. One fun fact about her is that she was a contestant on the Price is Right. While she never made it out of “contestant’s row,” she did win a year’s supply of Ivory soap and a vacuum.

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