The Chronicle of Higher Education recently named Lee University one of the top colleges to work for based on its seventh annual report on The Academic Workplace.
This is the third year in a row the local private college has received the recognition.
Vice President for Business and Finance Chris Conine celebrated the news alongside his colleagues at Lee.
“This recognition is a wonderful affirmation of our efforts to be a preferred employer, but our real goal is not the recognition,” he said. “It is to be a community that recognizes the needs and contributions of every individual, and serves our students exceptionally well. Everyone on the Lee team helps to make this a great place for faculty and staff to work, and for students to learn.”
A total of 43,000 employees at 278 colleges and universities participated in the survey. Every institution provides the emails of all full and part-time employees. The strategic human capital consulting firm ModernThink then emails 70 percent of the employees.
This means roughly 534 of the employees at Lee University participated in the survey.
The anonymous responses by Lee’s employees placed the local institution on the 2014 “Honor Roll” rankings along with 41 other colleges.
Conine said the distinction made him proud. Only 92 of the 278 institutions surveyed achieved overall “Great College to Work For” recognition.
Questions on the survey serve to judge the institutions on 12 categories: collaborative governance, professional/career-development programs, teaching environment, job satisfaction, confidence in senior leadership, supervisor/department chair relationship, respect and appreciation, tenure clarity and process, work-life balance and facilities, workspace and security.
Another portion of the institution assessment looks at the demographics and workplace policies of each college.
Director of Human Resources Ann McElrath said the survey has served as a way to take the temperature of the university.
“This is a great program, because it helps us to receive feedback on how we are doing as employers,” she said. “Each member of the Lee team is topnotch at what they do, and this survey lets us know they are happy doing it here.”
McElrath added the results have assured her of what she already knew was true, “[Lee University] is a great place to be.”
She said the university scored high in 10 out of the 12 categories. The two categories in supposed need of improvement are diversity and compensation and benefits.
McElrath said Lee has worked to encourage diversity. She also mentioned the “low tuition rates” and Obamacare might have had an impact on the employees responses in the survey.
Administrators at Lee took note of the two low categories without losing sight of the school’s success in the remaining 10.
“Lee University is an engaging place to work where faculty and staff serve together with a deep commitment to changing lives,” Conine said.
“The best part of Lee is without a doubt, our people. They are extraordinary people who teach, prepare and inspire our students to do extraordinary things and who value each other’s contribution to carrying out our mission.”
Conine continued, “The 2014 Great Colleges to Work For distinction continues to be an excellent benchmark showing we are part of a community that values the needs and contributions of every individual, works well together toward student success and helps make Lee University a great place to work.”
McElrath contributed the recognition to Lee’s family atmosphere and leadership.
“It comes from the top down. I think we have a very inspirational leader,” she said. “Dr. Conn has a dream and he has translated that very well. He sets an example and his cabinet sets an example. It just trickles down.”