Ole Miss again named among nation’s best universities to work for

Published 10:11 am Tuesday, July 18, 2017

By Michael Newsom

University of Mississippi

University of Mississippi employees enjoy a strong work-life balance, have confidence in senior leadership and feel appreciated. Those glowing job satisfaction reports have led the Chronicle of Higher Education to name UM a “Great College to Work For” for the ninth time.

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The university has made the list, which was released Monday, nine of the 10 years it has existed. Ole Miss was not only on the list, but it also was recognized for the second year in a row in the Chronicle’s 2017 Great Colleges Honor Roll, an award given to only 10 universities with an enrollment of more than 10,000 students.

It’s rewarding for the university to receive this award for nine straight years because it recognizes the respectful and supportive atmosphere that emanates across all UM campuses, Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said.

“Our people are our greatest asset,” Vitter said. “Our faculty, staff and administrators are deeply invested in our university and are responsible for our outstanding campus culture of genuine caring for each individual. They continue to make our vibrant work and learning environments ever greater.”

The Chronicle is a major source of news and information for college and university faculty members and administrators. Online, the Chronicle is published every weekday.

The Great Colleges to Work For recognition is based on thousands of surveys anonymously filled out by higher education employees across the country.

It’s a great honor for the university to be named to the Chronicle list yet again, said Clay Jones, assistant vice chancellor for administration and human resources.

“Receiving this acknowledgment multiple years in a row indicates the dedication we have in ensuring our workplace is one of integrity, inclusiveness and fairness,” Jones said. “We take great pride in doing the best we can with the resources we have to ensure our workplace is, in fact, a great place to work.

“Our faculty and staff are committed to maintaining the levels of excellence we have achieved, and the recognition proves these efforts are getting results.”

More than 250 UM employees answered the questionnaire earlier this year. Their responses revealed they enjoy collaborative governance, have high confidence in senior leadership, work on a diverse campus, have high job satisfaction and have professional career development opportunities. They also feel respected and appreciated.

Workers report good relationships with their supervisors and department chairs. They also tout the positive work-life balance at Ole Miss.

The perennial ranking on the Chronicle’s list builds on the university’s sterling reputation as a great place to work. In 2015 and 2016, UM was named one of Mississippi’s Healthiest Workplaces by the Mississippi Business Journal, the Mississippi Business Group on Health and the Mississippi Department of Health.

The university has policies that allow employees to take two 20-minute breaks during the day to walk around campus, which research has shown improves overall employee morale and productivity.

Ole Miss also has developed RebelWell, which offers a wide range of opportunities to become educated about living a healthy lifestyle and also offers group fitness classes, cooking demonstrations and nutrition counseling, among other services for employees. The university was also recognized for offering employees many professional development opportunities.

Andrea M. Jekabsons, associate director of human resources, said in addition to recognition for job satisfaction and work-life balance, she’s appreciative of the Chronicle honoring UM’s professional and career development programs.

Those programs have many benefits to employees.

“It’s rewarding to work with employees who are growth-minded and interested in all areas of wellness,” Jekabsons said. “We also continue to support our employees’ professional development efforts and interests, by offering further education benefits, salary increases for those who obtain either an applicable certificate, license or degree and LEAD, which is our employee leadership series.”