Duke Selected as “Great College to Work For”

Chronicle of Higher Education honors Duke for benefits, facilities and security

Duke was recognized Monday among the 2017 “Great Colleges to Work For,” marking the ninth time in the 10-year history of the annual report on academic workplaces that Duke has been honored.

Duke ranked among the best institutions in the categories of “Compensation and Benefits” and “Facilities, Workspaces and Security.” Just 79 of the 232 participating institutions earned the “Great College To Work For” distinction.

“The recognition of Duke, being one of the Great Colleges to Work For in the country is frankly a reflection of the commitment and engagement of our thousands of talented faculty and staff,” said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for Duke’s administration. “We are always pleased to receive such recognition, however, the ongoing contributions by our community is what we truly celebrate.”

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

To administer the survey and analyze the results, The Chronicle of Higher Education worked with ModernThink LLC, a strategic human capital consulting firm that has conducted numerous “Best Places to Work” programs, surveying hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide.

“Ten years in, the Great Colleges to Work For distinction is well-known by academic jobseekers as a sign that an institution’s employees are valued and given opportunities for growth,” said Liz McMillen, editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. “Any college or university that’s on the list is showing that they emphasize one of their most valuable assets: their faculty and staff.”

The survey described the “Compensation and Benefits” category as showing that the “pay is fair and benefits meet the need of employees.”

Duke’s recognition in that area didn’t come as much of a surprise to Amanda Kolman, customer relations manager for Duke University Press. Since arriving at Duke in 2013, she’s been impressed with benefits Duke offers.

“I think for Duke, I’ve always gotten the feeling that it’s a long-term commitment for me and it’s a long-term commitment for them,” Kolman said. “The total compensation package really speaks to that investment in me as an employee and that investment in me as a person.”

Joyce Williams, assistant vice president for Benefits at Duke, said the university has long viewed its strong health plan and financial investment in addressing employees’ retirement needs as key benefit programs that are highly valued by Duke’s faculty and staff.

“Designing, delivering, and communicating a benefit program which is highly valued by faculty and staff requires a collaborative effort,” Williams said. “Our retirement and health plan benefits are available to eligible faculty and staff across the university and health system and there’s always a great deal of focus put towards ensuring Duke’s benefit programs remain a high value.”

The “Facilities, Workspaces and Security” category focused on workplace functionality, beauty and safety. In addition to many capital improvement projects in progress across campus, strides have been made in keeping members of the Duke community safe.

The overall safety of Duke's students, faculty, staff, and patients remains a high priority.  Over the past several years, investments have been made in increased security staffing, lighting, cameras, and a number of safety initiatives, including a highly successful Citizens Police Academy community outreach program.

Also last year, Duke launched the LiveSafe app. Free to download for Duke students, staff and faculty, users can submit real-time tips to Duke Police, which monitors messages 24/7. It features a “Safe Walk” feature that uses GPS technology to allow people to virtually escort users by showing their real-time location on a map.

“That’s exciting because there are a number of police officers, security officers and emergency communicators who are here 24 hours a day,” Duke Police Chief John Dailey said about the honor. “It’s gratifying to know the hard work they’re doing is important to our employees.”