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UM Named ‘Great College to Work For’ Fifth Year in a Row

Chronicle of Higher Education recognition again honors campus as a regional, national leader

Ole Miss grad student Eun Ha (Jenny) Kim (right) leads a group of staff members in Yoga exercises in the Grove as part of Staff Appreciation Week.
Ole Miss grad student Eun Ha (Jenny) Kim (right) leads a group of staff members in Yoga exercises in the Grove as part of Staff Appreciation Week.

OXFORD, Miss. – For the fifth consecutive year, The Chronicle of Higher Education has named the University of Mississippi as one of its “Great Colleges to Work For,” putting the institution in elite company.

“This outstanding recognition for the University of Mississippi reflects on the many faculty, staff and administrators who dedicate tremendous expertise and energy to maintaining a vibrant learning community,” UM Chancellor Dan Jones said. “Our goal is to continually strengthen what we believe to be a supportive, inclusive environment where everyone is valued for what they contribute. As a result, Ole Miss faculty, staff and administrators are deeply invested in our university, and their inspired work is reflected in our increasing enrollment and relevant programs.”

The results, released today in The Chronicle’s sixth annual report on The Academic Workplace, are based on a survey of more than 46,600 employees at 300 colleges and universities.

In all, only 97 of the 300 institutions achieved “Great Colleges to Work For” recognition for specific best practices and policies. Results are reported for small, medium and large institutions, with UM included among the large universities having 10,000 or more students.

“The University of Mississippi is once again honored and humbled to be listed among the Great Colleges to Work For,” said Clay Jones, assistant vice chancellor and director of human resources. “Receiving this acknowledgement multiple years in a row indicates the dedication we have in ensuring our workplace is one of integrity, inclusiveness and fairness. We take great pride in doing the best we can with the resources we have to ensure our workplace is in fact a great place to work.”

In addition, the university will again be named as an Honor Roll school because of its recognition in more than four categories. For the second straight year, UM is the only SEC school to be included among the 10 on the Honor Roll.

The university was recognized for nine categories:

■Collaborative Governance

■Professional/Career Development Programs

■Teaching Environment (faculty only)

■Job Satisfaction

■Confidence in Senior Leadership

■Supervisor or Department Chair Relationship

■Respect and Appreciation

■Tenure Clarity and Process (faculty only/four-year only)

■ Facilities, Workspace and Security

The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was the employee feedback.

Rich Boyer, principal investigator and partner at Modern Think Inc., which conducted the survey, provided several insights into why UM continues to emerge ahead of some other institutions in an increasingly competitive, smaller pool of participants.

“The University of Mississippi is competitive with any institution in the country regardless of status, enrollment size, including elite institutions,” Boyer said. “When we look at the job satisfaction connection to mission, the faculty and staff at UM scored among the highest in their category.”

While other SEC schools have participated and been recognized, no other has achieved the Honor Roll status UM has. Elite institutions that have been on the Honor Roll include the University of Michigan, and Duke, Harvard and Cornell universities.

“Regarding supervisor or department chair relationship, apparently UM is doing some things exceptionally well, being systematic and intentional – whereas others, including some of the elite institutions that have been recognized in the past, have not been as much.” Boyer said. “In a challenging economic environment, the fact that UM has been able to achieve and maintain success in supporting people in their work-life balance is especially commendable.”

“The Chronicle’s reporting shows that more colleges and universities are seeking ways to improve their workplaces,” said Liz McMillen, editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. “The ‘formula for success’ continues to evolve, yet there are certain common features among institutions that achieve significant levels of worker satisfaction. The Great Colleges to Work For program allows our readers to learn about the colleges that seem to be getting it right. Great Colleges is more than a marketing opportunity for colleges; it is an authentic example of accomplishment.”

Great Colleges to Work For is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country. For more information and to view all the results of the survey, visit the Chronicle’s website at http://chronicle.com/academicworkplace. — Edwin Smith, Ole Miss News Desk

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Adam Brown
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