• August 28, 2015
Great Colleges Cover 2011 Enlarge Image
close Great Colleges Cover 2011

What Makes a Great College Workplace?

The Chronicle identified 12 features of excellent academic workplaces and asked faculty and staff at colleges of all sizes and types from across the country to assess their employers in those terms. Choose a category and see which colleges excel in that area.

12 Key Features



  • Collaborative Governance
  • Confidence in Senior Leadership
  • Supervisor or Department-Chair Relationship


  • Professional/Career-Development Programs
  • Teaching Environment
  • Tenure Clarity and Process


  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Respect and Appreciation


  • Diversity
  • Facilities, Workspace & Security
  • Work/Life Balance

Honor Roll

The colleges recognized in the greatest number of categories.


Pick Your Priorities

See the colleges honored in the categories most important to you.



View every recognized college on an interactive US map.




The fourth Great Colleges to Work For survey is the largest yet, highlighting 111 institutions that show excellence in categories, like "work/life balance" and "teaching environment," that put them among the best academic workplaces.


View the complete list of recognized colleges.


Read news, commentary, and advice from The Chronicle's fourth annual report.

MOBILE VERSION: Now Available for Download
BUY A COPY: Digital and Print Editions at the Chronicle Store
REGISTER FOR 2012: Join the Chronicle's Great Colleges Survey

How the Survey Was Conducted

This year The Chronicle of Higher Education's Great Colleges to Work For survey is based on responses from nearly 44,000 people at 310 institutions. Four-year colleges and universities accounted for 245 of the institutions, and two-year colleges for 65. All accredited institutions in the United States are invited to participate, and participation is free.

Approximately 20,000 of the people responding were faculty members, about 15,000 were professional staff members, and about 8,000 were administrators. The survey was sent to almost 111,000 people, with an overall response rate of about 40 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 respond to 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 each Great College category, except for Diversity, was given to the 10 highest-scoring institutions in each size for four-year colleges, and the four highest-scoring institutions in each size for two-year colleges. In the Diversity category, one medium-size and four large institutions were recognized.

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 four institutions in each size that were cited most often.

  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.