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Employee Morale

illustration of a professor behind a podium

Tenure-track positions at higher ed institutions are not always the most sought-after jobs on campus. At least, not lately.


In August, Glassdoor.com, an anonymous workforce review site, created a "Best Universities to Work For" report based on user-submitted information. The University of Kansas came out on top with a score of 4.2 (very satisfied) and a president approval rating of 100 percent. Iowa State, Brigham Young (Utah) and Georgia Tech were all hot on Kansas' heels with scores of 4.1.

Many organizations focus training efforts on developing technical skills, explains Kim Ruyle, VP, managing principal at Korn/Ferry Leadership Talent & Consulting in Miami. Yet, work behaviors, attitudes, and values are more likely to get employees fired. To help employees grow and remain engaged, Ruyle suggests:

It wasn't long ago that I believed there was nothing new in employee training or professional development. My inbox was filled with emails about new employee workshops and online training programs covering the same old topics. And there were phone calls from consultants, bragging about this or that traditional training program.

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It wasn't an idea mentioned at a conference or a snippet noted in a magazine or a suggestion from a listserv that sparked Jamie Belinne's brainstorm. It was the time she spent waiting in her doctor's office during an illness six years ago.

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There were any number of reasons why The George Washington University needed to automate the way it paid stipends to the thousands of students who work there as tutors, teachers, researchers, or facilitators.

Ramapo College of New Jersey

Think back to your first week on the job. Amidst the endless paperwork and the time you spent figuring out your new voicemail system, you probably sat in a conference room for an hour or two and participated in an employee benefits orientation session … with maybe one or two other new hires, if that.

At some public universities, giving collective bargaining rights to faculty has become part of the shared governance equation. That equation changed this past winter in Wisconsin and Ohio, as newly-elected governors and state legislatures enacted laws cutting the benefits of all public employees—university faculty among them—and eliminated most collective bargaining rights.

The idea that faculty members are uniquely qualified to determine the direction, standards, and practices of the institutions at which they teach and do research has been a tenet in higher education. At many colleges and universities, the faculty has almost sole responsibility for hiring, promoting, and granting tenure to its own.

"Leave your personal problems at the door." There are probably some managers who still support the antiquated belief that employees can shut off personal problems like a light switch once they set foot in the workplace. But how can a worker ignore the fact that he or she has lost a home, maxed out credit cards, drained the savings account, or stopped being able to pay the electric bill?

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