OWENSBORO, Ky. — Owensboro Community & Technical College is one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to the 2021 survey by the Great Colleges to Work For program.
The results, released late September in a special insert of The Chronicle of Higher Education, are based on a survey of 196 colleges and universities. In all, 70 of the 196 institutions achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition for specific best practices and policies. Results are reported for small, medium, and large institutions, with OCTC included among the medium colleges with 3,000 to 9,999 students.
OCTC earned honors in four categories this year: supervisor/department chair effectiveness, confidence in senior leadership, faculty and staff well-being, and diversity, inclusion and belonging.
The supervisor/department chair effectiveness category demonstrates and evaluates the experience of one’s immediate supervisor. It is among the most important factors influencing whether an employee is truly engaged. This recognition category is based on the survey items providing insight into critical managerial competencies such as providing clear direction and constructive feedback, and ensuring effective communication and equitable treatment.
The confidence in senior leadership category is based on the expressed confidence faculty and staff report in the capabilities and credibility of senior leadership. In the Great Colleges to Work For program, “senior leadership” is defined as the most senior members of the institution (e.g., chancellor or president and those who report directly to him/her).
The faculty and staff well-being category is new for 2021 and this recognition category is based on the impact of one’s employment experience on their well-being (e.g., the opportunity to do meaningful work, the support for work/life balance and the experience of a safe working environment).
The diversity, inclusion and belonging recognition category is also new for 2021 and is reserved for program participants who are demonstrating an institutionalized commitment to diversity, as reported through the experiences of faculty and staff. It is based on measures of individual experiences of inclusion and belonging, as well as measures of the impact of institutional diversity policies and procedures at the individual level. This recognition category is based on the responses of all employees at an institution, and does not necessarily reflect the specific employment experience of any one demographic group of any protected class of employees.
“We are thrilled to receive this honor. But we are even more excited to see that we did well in the new categories of faculty and staff well-being and diversity, inclusion and belonging,” said Dr. Scott Williams, OCTC President. “Our whole team has been working hard, particularly through the pandemic, to be engaged in exercises and discussions to enhance all aspects of acceptance. I am very proud of all our employees.”
OCTC has 200 full-time and about 150 part-time employees, serving the greater Owensboro counties of Daviess, Ohio, Hancock and McLean. Since 2015, OCTC has participated annually in the survey and previously received recognition in 2016 for the confidence in senior leadership category. This year’s survey resulted in a 58% completion rate.
“Our employees consistently complete the survey at this level. To be recognized in multiple categories is quite an honor. We are grateful to our faculty and staff for all that they do” said Dr. Kevin Beardmore, Vice President of Student Affairs.
The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institution questionnaire that captured employment data and workplace policies from each institution, 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.
The employee survey underwent a number of changes this year, including the addition of 11 new survey statements, some of which are related to new survey themes around diversity, inclusion and belonging, as well as faculty and staff well-being. New survey demographics related to gender identity and remote work were also included this year.
In accordance with the survey changes, the recognition categories for the program were also updated this year to better reflect current patterns and methodologies in employee engagement in higher education.
The Great Colleges to Work For program is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country. For more information and to view all current and previous recognized institutions, visit the Great Colleges program website at GreatCollegesProgram.com and GreatCollegesList.com. ModernThink, a strategic human capital consulting firm, administered the survey and analyzed the results.