Published on January 13, 2009 by Philip Poole  
Posted by Philip Poole on 2009-07-06
Samford University has been named to a list of the 150 Great Colleges to Work For, released today (July 6) by The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The survey was based on responses from about 41,000 administrators, faculty and staff members at 247 institutions.

Samford made the honor roll in five categories:  teaching environment, overall satisfaction with benefits, connection to institution and pride, health insurance, and life insurance.  The 150 schools were ranked by enrollment in 26 categories.  Samford was in the middle listing of schools with 3,000 – 9,999 total enrollment.

According to Chronicle officials, the assessment process was administered by ModernThink LLC, a human resources consulting company that has conducted many Best Places to Work surveys for various groups.  Questionnaires were administered online in the spring to randomly-selected lists of employees in three categories:  administration, faculty and professional support staff.

"At Samford University, we are fortunate to have a board of trustees that is pledged to providing the best work environment possible with the resources we have available," said Samford President Andrew Westmoreland.  "This survey merely affirms that responsibility.  

Westmoreland, who became Samford president in 2006, said that early in his interview process with the presidential search committee, he understood some of the strong benefits of working at Samford.  In recent years, the university's trustees and administrators have worked to build on that foundation.

"That our employees would still rank us highly despite some of the economic challenges that all schools are facing is a testament to their commitment to the university's mission," he added.

Westmoreland and other administrators have kept employees updated regularly throughout the past year on the university's finances.  Faculty and staff responded positively when asked to watch expenses during the year, Westmoreland said.  "When we keep the communication channels open, it creates a more positive and collaborative work environment for everyone."

Leaders of Samford's employee groups echoed Westmoreland.  

"It is not surprising that Samford is rated high in teaching environment," said Faculty Senate President Robin Snyder, an assistant professor of art.  "We are fortunate to have administrators who encourage the faculty to seek creative and innovate ways to teach, who foster scholarship and who recognize outstanding teaching."

Employee benefits received high marks in the survey, which did not surprise Staff Advisory Council president Marian Carter, director of graduate student services in Samford's nursing school.

"The fact that our survey respondents rated Samford high in overall satisfaction with benefits demonstrates an understanding that compensation is about more than just a base salary," Carter said.  "People throughout our community understand the good benefits which Samford offers to its employees, not just in tuition remission but with other key personnel benefits such as health insurance, life insurance and retirement plans."

Samford was one of three Alabama colleges to make the list.  Also included were Birmingham-Southern College and Birmingham-based Southeastern Bible College.  Samford also was one of four Southern Conference institutions, including Elon University, Furman University and The Citadel, to make the list.

The Chronicle of Higher Education is considered a leading news and analysis publication for higher education.  It publishes a daily electronic news summary and a weekly print journal.
 
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.