Widener named a 2021 "Great College to Work For"
The Chronicle of Higher Education has named Widener University a 2021 “Great College to Work For” after the university took honors in four categories based on feedback submitted through a survey of 196 colleges and universities. The higher education trade publication released the survey results today in its 14th-annual report, which stands as one of the largest and most respected workplace recognition programs in the country.
Of the 70 institutions that achieved recognition for specific best practices and policies, only 46 were four-year colleges or universities. Widener was one of only three Pennsylvania institutions to make the list and has been recognized three of the last four years. The categories included:
- Confidence in Senior Leadership, honoring institutions where senior leadership is recognized by faculty and staff as capable and credible.
- Faculty Experience, honoring institutions where faculty report positive employment experiences including support for service and research, balance of teaching, and advancement and promotion opportunities.
- Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, honoring institutions that are demonstrating commitment to diversity, as reported by faculty and staff based on their individual experiences and the impact of institutional policies and procedures.
- Shared Governance, honoring workplaces where faculty members are appropriately involved in decisions related to academic programs.
“We are delighted to see Widener included on this distinguished national list, and are particularly proud to be honored in the Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging category, which is new this year,” President Julie E. Wollman said. “This honor recognizes our commitment to a welcoming work environment where everyone has a voice and all are valued for the diverse contributions they make to our community. It also reflects that Widener is a place where faculty are supported and encouraged, where they are actively engaged, and where senior leadership is recognized for having the knowledge, skills and experience for institutional success.
“Our employees impress me every day through their commitment to our students and to providing them an excellent experience,” she continued. “Our faculty generously share their time, guided research opportunities, and their networks, to put our students on the inside track to career success. Our staff consistently put student needs first. Widener employees are the university’s greatest asset.”
Board of Trustees President Paul Beideman said the vote of confidence in senior leadership – awarded for two consecutive years – was especially outstanding, given the ongoing challenges of managing the institution during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Widener emphasizes collaboration in its processes and operations, and teams work together with shared values,” Beideman said. “For example, the university’s pandemic response plans have evolved as circumstances have changed with COVID-19 and variants, but Widener’s management team has continuously sought input from all constituencies with the safety and well-being of the university community as its guide. Together, they think critically as they weigh future strategies.
“The Board of Trustees is united in its dedication to Widener and we are proud to see the university recognized as a Great College to Work For,” Beideman added. “This honor is based on faculty and staff surveys, which tell us we have committed and engaged employees – the kind of employees who bring their best to work every day, and provide an exceptional student experience.”
The Chronicle’s survey results were based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional questionnaire that captured employment data 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, and it exceeded the national response rate.
“I am not surprised our faculty and staff felt compelled to share their opinions through this survey, even while many of them were working remotely during the pandemic,” Wollman said. “They care deeply about the university and they work hard to support the success of our students and of their colleagues.. People here know they can share thoughts and ideas and contribute to positive change. When they do that, they help make Widener an even better place to work.”
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.
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