Thursday, August 23, 2012

The 10 Best Colleges to Work For

There’s no shortage of rankings for the best colleges to attend, and although that’s an important marker of college excellence, there’s an entire other population of people in academia who care about what it’s like to work for a college: faculty and staff. That’s why we’re so pleased to find The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s survey of Great Colleges to Work For. In this survey, 103 of the best colleges in the country were rated by their faculty and staff in categories like compensation and benefits, work/life balance, and even supervisor-staff relationships. These colleges all seem to be great places to work, but a handful of them really stand out for their unique perks offered to faculty and staff. Benefits like free classes, personal development grants, huge retirement contributions, and extended paid family leave are just a few of the really cool ways colleges are showing their employees that they care. Read on, and we’ll explore 10 Chronicle of Higher Education honor roll schools that share some of the best employee perks in academia.

  1. College of Saint Rose:

    This medium-sized four-year college in Albany, N.Y., gets high marks from The Chronicle of Higher Education, with a five-year stretch on the honor roll of Great Colleges to Work For. Saint Rose is recognized for its excellence in just about every category, including compensation and benefits, job satisfaction, professional development programs, and even respect and appreciation. We’re most impressed by the college’s offer to give employees a down payment loan for a house. Through this program, employees can qualify for a $7,500 down payment loan if they buy a home near the college. The coolest part? If they stay in the home for five years, they don’t even have to pay it back!

  2. Southern New Hampshire University:

    Another excellent four-year college to work for in New England, Southern New Hampshire University has also been on The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Great Colleges to Work For the past five years. The university offers a great work-life balance, job satisfaction, and especially great professional development programs. Southern New Hampshire University is noted for its professional- and personal-development grants available to all employees, even hourly staff. These grants can be used to travel, conduct research, or even explore a hobby or talent. It’s no surprise that this school has low voluntary turnover rates, with just 3.9% of faculty and 3.3% of other staff leaving to work elsewhere.

  3. Texas Christian University:

    This medium-sized four-year college in North Texas is recognized for excellence in nearly every category, offering its employees great benefits, a good teaching environment, respect, and even great facilities to work in. But beyond a good workplace, Texas Christian University makes it a point to recognize employees who are making a difference in the university community. Each year, a faculty or staff member is presented with a $5,000 award for distinguished service and leadership. The most recent award was given to a groundskeeper who worked to create an incredible benefit for university employees: a program to prepare their children for college.

  4. Gettysburg College:

    Gettysburg College is small, but big on benefits, offering employees great job satisfaction, a good teaching environment, and a healthy work/life balance. The college is a great place to work for those who are looking to the future: faculty and staff receive a value of 10% of their salary for retirement. Plus, new parents get plenty of time to settle into family life, with 16 weeks of paid leave for mothers and nine weeks for fathers. With these awesome benefits, no one really wants to leave: just 3% of faculty voluntarily turn over, and only 5.5% of other staff leave.

  5. Panola College:

    This small two-year college in Carthage, Texas, shares great facilities with its employees. Panola is recognized by The Chronicle of Higher Education for its facilities, workspace, and security, as well as compensation and benefits, job satisfaction, and professional development. Although these categories aren’t ranked, it’s clear that Panola puts facilities and security on the top of the list: the college campus has installed around 150 security cameras to monitor all areas of campus, including hallways and parking lots. It’s clear the cameras are doing their job, as there have been very few crimes on campus in recent years.

  6. California State University, Channel Islands:

    Set in beautiful Camarillo, Calif., the Channel Islands campus of California State University sure sounds like a great place to work. They’re recognized for good relationships between employees and supervisors, positive work/life balance, great facilities, and plenty of job satisfaction with options for telecommuting and four-day work weeks. As a relatively new campus, everyone working at the university has been hired within the past 10 years, and the school works hard to ensure that just about everyone is on equal footing. Hierarchies are frowned upon, and senior faculty don’t enjoy any special perks that junior faculty don’t get to enjoy as well.

  7. Blue Ridge Community College:

    Another great college to work for in a beautiful location, Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, W.Va., is in the middle of the famed Blue Ridge Mountains. But the view isn’t the only thing that’s great about working for this college. Employees get great professional development benefits, good relationships with supervisors, a solid teaching environment, and good overall job satisfaction. There’s also the opportunity for a healthy work/life balance with flexible work scheduling: some employees work four 10-hour days, while others choose alternative start times of 2 p.m. or 6:30 a.m. Plus, Blue Ridge encourages continuing education with an incredible 100% tuition remission benefit for employees of up to six units per semester. Virtually no one wants to leave this school: there’s a 0% voluntary faculty turnover rate, and just 2.5% of other employees choose to leave.

  8. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor:

    As the largest university to receive high marks from The Chronicle of Higher Education, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor certainly deserves special recognition. Despite its behemoth size of more than 40,000 students, this university still remembers to take care of its faculty and staff. In fact, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor has been on the Great Colleges to Work For honor roll since the program was introduced in 2008. It’s clear that this university is a great place to work, with recognition for compensation and benefits, job satisfaction, respect and appreciation, and even an easy to understand tenure process. But perhaps the most exceptional category that the university performs well in is collaborative governance. Each month, Voices of the Staff, a volunteer group, comes together to discuss how the university can be improved, and their conclusions are shared with upper administration, including the university president.

  9. Baylor University:

    Another large university recognized by The Chronicle of Higher Education as a great place to work, Baylor University sure takes care of its employees. Job satisfaction is high, and faculty and staff enjoy a good work/life balance along with solid compensation and benefits, nice facilities, and a positive teaching environment. Baylor certainly offers some useful perks for employees, including discounted meals, access to campus fitness facilities, and free admission to most Baylor events. Plus, employee spouses and dependents get many of the same benefits, so Baylor families can enjoy the campus together. For faculty who are helping to grow the university through research, there’s another great perk: the university lightens the teaching loads of faculty who are heavily involved in research.

  10. New York Chiropractic College:

    This small college in rural New York has a lot going for it, but perhaps the biggest draw is its sense of community. With less than a thousand students, and about 150 faculty and staff, it’s clear that this school is really close-knit. So it’s not surprising that they got high marks for job satisfaction, respect, and relationships with supervisors. Each year, New York Chiropractic College gathers its community for a Unity Day picnic, celebrating the college and its staff with live music and a bounce house. This sense of community obviously helps keep faculty around: there’s a zero voluntary turnover rate for faculty, and only 4.8% of other staff choose to leave.

Taken From Best Colleges Online

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