This year The Chronicle of Higher Education's Great Colleges to Work For survey is based on responses from more than 43,000 people, at 275 institutions. Four-year colleges and universities accounted for 221 of the institutions, and two-year colleges for 54.
Approximately 20,000 of the people responding were faculty members, more than 14,800 were professional staff members, and 8,100 were administrators. The survey was sent to more than 100,000 people, with an overall response rate of 45 percent. The assessment was administered by ModernThink LLC, a human-resources-consulting firm based in Wilmington, Del. Its survey instrument is based on an assessment that has been used in 55 Best Places to Work programs involving more than 4,000 organizations. A panel of higher-education experts has helped to customize the survey to reflect issues unique to colleges.
In the Great Colleges program, each institution was asked to submit a list of full-time employees randomly selected across three categories: administration, faculty, and exempt professional staff. Adjunct faculty members were included for two-year colleges. The sample size, up to either 400 or 600, was based on the number of employees in those categories. Institutions with fewer than 400 people in a category were invited to survey the entire employee population.
The assessment process had two components: a questionnaire about institutional characteristics, and a faculty/staff questionnaire about individuals' evaluations of their institutions. The assessment also included an analysis of demographic data and workplace policies at each participating college or university. The questionnaires were administered online in March and April of this year.
Survey respondents were asked to address 60 statements using a five-point scale, ranging from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree." They were also asked to rate their satisfaction with 18 benefits, respond to two open-ended questions, and answer 15 demographic questions.
The faculty/staff survey statements are categorized into 12 dimensions, each one forming a Great College recognition category, such as collaborative governance or compensation and benefits.
For analysis, we divided the applicant pool into two classifications; four-year institutions and two-year institutions. Within each of these classifications, there were three groups, based on total undergraduate and graduate enrollment: small (2,999 or fewer students), medium (3,000 to 9,999), and large (more than 10,000). Recognition in a particular Great College category was given to the 10 highest-scoring institutions in each size for four-year colleges, and the three highest-scoring institutions in each size for two-year colleges.
Honor Roll recognition, for four-year colleges, was given to the 10 institutions in each size that were cited most often across all of the recognition categories. For two-year colleges, Honor Roll recognition was given to the three institutions that were cited most often in each size category.