The Chronicle Great Colleges to Work For® program is designed to recognize institutions that have been successful in creating great workplaces, and to further our research and understanding of the factors, dynamics and influences that have the most impact on organizational culture at institutions of higher education.

At the core of the program is a two-part assessment process: a faculty/staff survey (The ModernThink Higher Education Insight Survey©) and an institutional audit capturing information detailing various institution demographics, policies, practices and infrastructure (The ModernThink Institution Questionnaire© also known as the”IQ”).

Each participating institution is asked to submit an email list of full-time faculty/staff randomly selected across four categories (Administration, Faculty, Exempt Professional Staff, and Non-exempt Staff) to participate in the survey. Adjunct faculty are included only for community colleges.

  • Sample Sizes
  • < 500 Employees
  • 501-1,000 Employees
  • 1,001+ Employees

Sample sizes are determined based on the number of employees in the various categories. Institutions with fewer than 500 staff in the designated categories are given the opportunity to survey the entire population.

Four-year Schools: ALL Administrators, Faculty, and Exempt Professional Staff. An average of 15% of your sample will be allotted to Non-exempts (percentage varies by sample and school size).

Two-year Schools: ALL Administrators, Faculty, and Exempt Professional Staff. An average of 8% and 19% of your sample will be allotted to Non-exempts and Adjuncts, respectively (percentages vary by sample and school size).

Four-year Schools: Up to 400 randomly selected employees among the four eligible job categories. An average of 15% of your sample will be allotted to Non-exempts (percentage varies by sample and school size).

Two-year Schools: Up to 400 randomly selected employees among the five eligible job categories. An average of 8% and 19% of your sample will be allotted to Non-exempts and Adjuncts, respectively (percentages vary by sample and school size).

Four-year Schools: Up to 600 randomly selected employees among the four eligible job categories. An average of 15% of your sample will be allotted to Non-exempts (percentage varies by sample and school size).

Two-year Schools: Up to 600 randomly selected employees among the five eligible job categories. An average of 8% and 19% of your sample will be allotted to Non-exempts and Adjuncts, respectively (percentages vary by sample and school size).

To be eligible for participation, institutions must be non-profit, located in the United States, and have at least 500 students.

ModernThink Higher Education Insight Survey©

The ModernThink Higher Education Insight Survey© is a faculty/staff survey derived in part from the ModernThink Insight Survey©, an assessment tool that has been used in over 55 “Best Place to Work” programs with more than 4,000 organizations. The survey measures the extent to which employees are involved and engaged in the organization and ultimately, the quality of the workplace experience.

The survey measures 15 dimensions reflecting managerial and organizational competencies. Benchmark data is compiled across Carnegie Classification, Region, Enrollment Size and Public/Private status.

The 60-statement survey utilizes a five-point agreement scale (Strongly Agree, Agree, Sometimes Agree/Sometimes Disagree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree), along with a Not Applicable response option. The survey instrument also includes an 18-item benefits satisfaction component and two open-ended questions.

There are 15 demographic questions at the end of the survey:*

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Race
  • Relationship Status
  • Annual Salary
  • Job Status
  • Years at Institution
  • Tenure Status (Faculty Only)
  • Supervisor Status
  • Years in Current Role
  • Job Category
  • Job Role
  • College/School
  • Department

ModernThink Institution Questionnaire©

The IQ captures important demographic data as well as details regarding institution policies and practices. This information enables us to examine which benefits and programs are most effective, identify best practices and compile benchmark data based on different categorizations of the program participants. The information collected through the institution questionnaire is reviewed and analyzed to support both the recognition analysis and our continuing research.

Recognition Methodology

The primary factor in deciding whether an institution receives recognition is the feedback collected from the ModernThink Higher Education Insight Survey©. There is no minimum response rate that institutions have to achieve to be eligible for consideration. However, in analyzing the data we review confidence levels and confidence intervals to ensure statistical significance. The information collected through the institution questionnaire is reviewed and analyzed both for completeness and content.

Participating schools are first segmented into 4-year and 2-year college categories. Schools within each of these categories are further classified into three groups based on student enrollment: Small (<3,000), Medium (3,000-9,999 students) and Large (more than 10,000 students).

Special acknowledgement goes to those schools recognized in multiple categories. Accordingly, Honor Roll recognition goes to the top ten schools in each 4-year size category and the top four schools in each 2-year size category based on the number of times they were honored in the individual recognition areas.

Recognition categories are based on the survey dimensions and responses to the benefits component of the survey.

Recognition Categories

  • Collaborative Governance
  • Professional/Career Development
  • Compensation & Benefits
  • Respect & Appreciation
  • Confidence in Senior Leadership
  • Supervisor/Department Chair Relationship
  • Diversity
  • Teaching Environment (Faculty Only)
  • Facilities, Workspace & Security
  • Tenure Clarity & Process (Faculty Only/4-yr Only)
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Work/Life Balance

*While encouraged to provide responses to all 15 demographic questions, respondents have the option of skipping one or more of them.