SVSU joins U of M as Michigan’s only “Great Colleges to Work For”

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The Chronicle of Higher Education (The Chronicle), a top trade publication for colleges and universities, has deemed Saginaw Valley State University as a “Great College to Work For.”

SVSU is now one of only two higher education institutions in the state to have received the very prestigious distinction, sharing the honor with the University of Michigan.

The Chronicle worked with ModernThink LLC, a strategic human capital consulting firm to administer the surveying of SVSU employees and analyze the results of those surveys.

“I kind of got the idea from Quicken Loans,” SVSU President Don Bachand said. “I read in the Detroit News that they were voted once again as one of the best places to work for. I’ve been here a long time and I knew this has got to be one of those great places to work for. I had no idea that once you make the application to the Chronicle, they randomly select a whole composite of employees at the university and administer this questionnaire. It turns out that my general perception that this is a great place to work for was confirmed by all of the people that were anonymously surveyed.”

The Chronicle categorizes universities by size when doing their surveys, and SVSU was honored within the medium-sized universities grouping. With this honor came three separate distinctions that made SVSU stand out: compensation and benefits; facilities, workspace and security; and teaching environment.

“From the teacher’s perspective, it’s a great teaching environment because our class sizes are relatively small and faculty feel free to bring their strengths to the classroom,” said Dr. Carlos Ramet, associate dean of the College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences. “We don’t have a cookie-cutter approach to any of our sections, so I think that the individual can find his or her way with students and encourage them.”

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Deb Huntley stressed the importance of SVSU’s facilities.

“Just look around,” she said. “This place is gorgeous. It’s extremely well maintained, and the facilities are up-to-date. They are really targeted toward the primary mission of the institution, which is students and teaching. We offer really excellent benefits, and we try to be really fair in terms of salaries and compensation and how we treat people. Really, treating people well is key to having people happy to work here.”

There were 281 colleges and universities that applied for this recognition nationwide, but SVSU was one of only 92 institutions that received the distinction this year.

There are major benefits that come with being deemed a “Great College to Work For” by the Chronicle.

“Recruiting faculty is always competitive,” said J.J. Boehm, director of media and community relations. “These people are highly credentialed, and this will certainly be an additional feather in our cap as we’re going out to recruit.”

The Chronicle is highly respected and recognized in higher education circles, according to Boehm. Due to natural turnover rate that happens at universities, this will be essential in seeking out talented faculty and staff to continue to improve the university and its environment as a workplace.

“I think the environment we have here is an environment where everybody matters,” Bachand said.