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UM Receives Top Honors as a ‘Great College to Work For’

By Erin Garrett

University of Mississippi

Andrea Jekabsons (center), chief human resources officer at the University of Mississippi, leads a workplace stretch session for staff members during annual Staff Appreciation Week activities. The university has been named a Great College to Work For again this year and has been recognized as an Honor Roll school in the program. Photo by Srijita Chattopadhyay/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

The University of Mississippi is once again one of the nation’s “Great Colleges to Work For,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

This is the 14th year that the university has been named a Great College to Work For. Ole Miss joins 42 other Honor Roll schools recognized this year as standouts in their size categories.

“This outstanding distinction of being a great place to work is an incredibly high honor especially our recognition on the Honor Roll and across all 10 categories,” Chancellor Glenn Boyce said. “It really speaks to the culture of caring and collaboration that permeates our campus community. 

“Our tremendous people deeply believe in and support our mission, which makes this university a truly special place to live, work and learn.”

The results were released Monday (Sept. 11) in a special insert of The Chronicle. Of the 194 institutions participating in 2023, 72 were recognized as a Great College to Work For. 

For the first time, the university earned honors in all 10 recognition categories. The categories are:

  • Job Satisfaction and Support
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Professional Development
  • Mission and Pride
  • Supervisor/Department Chair Effectiveness
  • Confidence in Senior Leadership
  • Faculty and Staff Well-being
  • Shared Governance
  • Faculty Experience 
  • Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

Great Colleges to Work For is one of the largest and most respected workplace recognition programs in the country.

“Over the past 14 years, it has been rewarding to watch UM continue to gain momentum with the GCTWF recognition, with this year hitting the peak of honor recognition in all 10 categories,” said Andrea Jekabsons, chief human resources officer. “Specifically, the HR team contributes to the success in the areas of compensation and benefits, professional development and faculty-staff well-being.”

Jekabsons said she strives “to lead by example” by encouraging campus supervisors and managers to provide the tools, resources, coaching and time off for employees to experience balance and an enriched work-home environment. 

“Offering a supportive and encouraging environment contributes to the employees’ well-being and, in turn, provides the benefit of an exceptional experience for our students,” she said. “There is no doubt that we are a great place to work because of our people, and this is further evidence of that.”

ModernThink, a strategic human capital consulting firm, administered the survey and analyzed the results. Results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institution questionnaire that captured employment data and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators and professional support staff. 

Employee feedback is the primary factor in deciding whether an institution receives recognition.

Richard K. Boyer, principal and managing partner at ModernThink, said that this year’s Honor Roll designees outperformed the applicant pool by an average of 38 percentage points on the survey statement, “Senior leadership shows a genuine interest in the well-being of faculty, administration and staff.” 

That 38-percentage-point difference was mirrored on the statement, “Senior leadership provides a clear direction for this institution’s future.”

“Once again, leaders at the institutions recognized in this year’s Great Colleges to Work For program have demonstrated their collective commitment to the stewardship of their institutions’ cultures,” Boyer said. “Their commitment to the well-being of their faculty and staff is second to none.”

For more information and to view all the survey results, visit the Great Colleges Program website.

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