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Survey Says: Duke a ‘Great College to Work For’

Chronicle of Higher Ed report shows Duke excels in workplace satisfaction

Duke's Run/Walk Club is just one of the free programs offered to employees that helps faculty and staff find work-life balance. That was one of nine categories in which Duke was recognized in the Chronicle of Higher Education's
Duke's Run/Walk Club is just one of the free programs offered to employees that helps faculty and staff find work-life balance. That was one of nine categories in which Duke was recognized in the Chronicle of Higher Education's "Great Colleges to Work For" survey. Photo by Duke Photography.

For the seventh consecutive year, Duke has been recognized as one of the best colleges in the nation to work for by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Chronicle released its annual report on academic workplaces, naming Duke among the 2014 "Great Colleges to Work For" across the country.

This year's list highlighted 92 institutions out of 278 participants. Results were determined by about 43,500 surveys completed by administrators, faculty and staff at institutions.

Duke earned its highest remarks in nine workplace categories, as determined by surveys completed by Duke employees. It marks the most recognition in categories Duke has received since 2009, when the survey included a broader list of categories:

  • Collaborative Governance
  • Compensation & Benefits
  • Confidence in Senior Leadership
  • Diversity
  • Facilities, Workspace & Security
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Respect & Appreciation
  • Tenure Clarity & Process
  • Work/Life Balance

Duke was also included among 42 institutions in the Great Colleges to Work For “Honor Roll,” which highlights colleges and universities that earned the most recognition in their size categories.

“The recognition by the Great Colleges survey is both humbling and exciting,” said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for administration. "The survey results reflect the efforts of thousands of faculty and staff across Duke, who are committed to the mission of this great institution and strive on a daily basis to make Duke a wonderful place to work."

One new area highlighted in this year’s survey is “Diversity,” which is classified in the “Great Colleges” survey as making “a concerted effort to create a welcoming and fair environment for all its employees.”

Across campus, Duke takes a variety of steps to highlight and promote the diversity not just of employees but through programming and events, too.

“I remember searching events on the Duke calendar last spring and seeing over 800 scheduled,” said Li-Chen Chin, Duke’s director of intercultural programs. “Over half of them were talking about religious diversity, cultural trainings or even social-economic diversity – and that’s typical. Any place you can find that is just incredible.”

While Duke’s International House provides services for Duke’s diverse student population, it also focuses on education and outreach for employees to help them learn new languages, create friendships around different cultures and more. Duke also features the Faculty Diversity Initiative, Women’s Initiative and the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity to enhance workplace culture.

Another unique area where Duke was highlighted in the survey was for “Respect & Appreciation,” which highlights colleges that regularly recognize employees for their contributions. In addition to larger events like Duke Appreciation or Duke Stars, Duke also promotes peer-to-peer recognition through means like the “Making a Difference” blog.

Amanda Kolman, assistant manager for customer relations with Duke University Press, recently used the blog to showcase the work of coworker Bonnie Conner.

“I used the ‘Making a Difference’ blog because in previous jobs these types of 'thank you' boards were private between you and the person you were thanking, and I liked the idea of publicly showing my appreciation to Bonnie,” she said. “Being at the Press, we are off campus in Brightleaf Square, so geographically isolated from ‘Big Duke,’ and I thought this was a good way to be involved in the larger Duke community.”

Duke's listing from the "Great Colleges" survey is among other recognitions its received for its commitment to employees. Duke has earned high marks for workplace satisfaction from Carolina Parent, AARP, Modern Healthcare and the National Center for Transit Research as a "Best Workplace for Commuters."

“The Chronicle’s reporting shows that more colleges and universities are seeking ways to improve their workplaces,” said Liz McMillen, editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. “The ‘formula for success’ continues to evolve, yet there are certain common features among institutions that achieve significant levels of worker satisfaction. The Great Colleges to Work For program allows our readers to learn about the colleges that seem to be getting it right.”