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NIU debuts on national ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ list

September 13, 2021

NIU is among only 46 four-year institutions saluted in the 2021 roster of “Great Colleges to Work For,” one of the country’s largest and most respected workplace recognition programs.

The university made its debut on the national list, which was unveiled Monday, thanks to excellent results in categories of shared governance; faculty experience; and diversity, equity and belonging.

President Dr. Lisa Freeman is honored and excited by the external acknowledgement.

“This recognition highlights the things that make NIU an amazing and rewarding place to work, and confirms for me that our university community reflects our core values,” Freeman said.

“Giving our employees a strong voice to guide the direction of the university, and fostering a diverse, inclusive and welcoming community, are integral to the success of NIU, our faculty, staff and students,” she added. “I hope all Huskies share my pride in this acknowledgement. And, I hope that the recognition inspires us to keep working together to solve complex problems and to provide an equitable work environment.”

Scores are based on feedback collected from the ModernThink Higher Education Insight Survey administered to faculty, administrators, exempt professional and non-exempt staff, and the ModernThink Higher Education Institution Questionnaire (IQ), which captures employment data and workplace policies and practices.

Although the final results reflect a two-part assessment process, employee feedback provides the primary factor in determining whether institutions receive recognition.

One hundred and ninety-six institutions participated during this 14th year of the survey, with 70 (including 24 two-year colleges) of those earning places on the list.

Richard K. Boyer, principal and managing partner at ModernThink, credits Freeman and her counterparts at the institutions honored by Great Colleges to Work For.

“Leadership in crisis is both art and science. The leaders at this year’s recognized institutions guided their institutions through unprecedented challenges with vision and transparency, all while modeling a spirit of partnership and genuine care for their fellow colleagues,” Boyer said.

“It takes courage to lead, and the 2021 Great Colleges to Work For participants demonstrated remarkable courage, commitment and optimism in their decisions to participate in a ‘great place to work program’ in the midst of a world-wide pandemic,” he added. “There’s much to learn from these remarkable institutions and their inspirational leaders.”

More about NIU’s top categories:

  • Shared Governance. The concept of shared governance is one of the most widely valued and deeply respected traditions within higher education. For many faculty, it is a core part of their experience. Consequently, this recognition category is based on faculty responses to the survey items on collaborative governance processes and decision-making.
  • Faculty Experience. Faculty have a unique role in the life of a university and there are some elements of their specific employment experience – the support for advancement and promotion opportunities and the perceived balance of teaching, service and research, for example – that are uniquely viewed through the faculty lens. This recognition category is based on the faculty responses to the survey items addressing these topics.
  • Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. This recognition category 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.

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