Unlike the U.S. News and World Report rankings, the Chronicle of Higher Education’s honor roll of Great Colleges to Work For contains some trustworthy information. Colleges agree to participate in the project, and then the Chronicle administers a satisfaction survey to thousands of faculty and staff. They ask about compensation, fairness, diversity, and other issues that affect worklife.
The winners are not ranked, but rather listed as scoring well in certain categories. I expected that the more resource-rich colleges would be the ones rated the highest. However, of the most honored institutions, very few I had ever heard of. Wake Tech Community College? Juniata College?
It appears that faculty and staff satisfaction depended on several elements that do not require any monetary investment. They spoke of college leaders who solicited community input and then made transparent decisions. One school with a culinary program offers discounted gourmet meals to employees. A college president in Florida cancels class–without warning–one day each year for faculty and students to enjoy themselves.
As diverse as these institutions are, the formula seems to hold: treat faculty with respect, and they will reward the institution.