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Widener Recognized as a Great College to Work For

Mary Allen, Director of Communications
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Widener University has been honored as a “Great College to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The trade publication released its findings in its 13th-annual report, which is one of the largest, most-respected workplace recognition programs in the country. 

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The university was honored in four categories – the most ever – based on feedback submitted through a survey of 221 colleges and universities. Just 54 four-year institutions achieved recognition for specific best practices and policies.

Widener was identified as a Great College to Work For because of:
•    Confidence in Senior Leadership, honors institutions where leaders have the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience for institutional success.
•    Teaching Environment, honors institutions where faculty say innovative, high-quality teaching is recognized.  
•    Tenure Clarity & Process, honors institutions for having clear tenure requirements based on the opinion of faculty members.
•    Collaborative Governance, honors workplaces where faculty members are appropriately involved in decisions related to academic programs.

“We are so pleased to see Widener included on this distinguished national list, and in so many categories,” President Julie E. Wollman said. “Our employees are Widener’s greatest asset, from our professors who collaborate with students on their research, serve as mentors and share industry contacts and knowledge, to our staff who put students’ needs first every day.

“When professors share positive responses like this about their workplace, it speaks volumes about the educational experience they bring to our students. Their fulfillment helps fuel the dynamic and engaging atmosphere students find in their classes,” Wollman added. 

School of Engineering Associate Professor Anita Singh, who received the Outstanding Researcher Award for distinction in scholarly work and significant contributions to the university’s mission, said Widener’s collaborative spirit has been the key to her teaching success.

“Our commitment to student success, while employing creative, adaptive and immersive teaching strategies drives the Widener teaching environment,” Singh said.

“And students’ abilities to envision their career path and stay committed to their success through close faculty interactions even before they graduate makes them a pleasure to teach,” she added.

Board of Trustees President Paul Beideman said the vote of confidence in senior leadership was especially notable, given challenges the pandemic has created for higher education. 

“Our processes emphasize engagement, openness and shared values,” Beideman said. “For example, while dealing with the ambiguities of the pandemic, our management team sought input from all constituencies. Using that feedback, the university built solid response plans, all while thinking critically about our future strategy in a changed world.

“The Board of Trustees is proud of Widener’s recognition as a Great College to Work For,” Beideman added. “We are a team that is united in its dedication to the university, and to providing an exceptional student experience.”

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

Widener had a strong employee response rate to the survey.

“The faculty and staff at Widener know this is a special kind of workplace, where people’s thoughts and ideas matter, and where they get serious consideration. Employees frequently contribute to positive changes at Widener, where we are always asking how we can make this a better place to work,” Wollman said. “It does not surprise me that they felt compelled to share their thoughts on this survey, because they care deeply about the university.”

Great Colleges to Work For is one of the largest and most comprehensive workplace studies in higher education. The Chronicle worked with ModernThink LLC, a strategic human capital consulting firm to administer the survey and analyze the results. 

For more information and to view the recognized institutions, visit the Great Colleges program website.
 

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