University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols has convened a working group to address the poor results of a job satisfaction survey taken on campus in 2018.
The working group, consisting of faculty, staff and administrators, is chaired by Michael Barker, a civil engineering professor who sat on the 2018 task force that oversaw the administration of the survey.
“I was ready to be done with it and and then President Nichols asked me to chair this,” Barker joked at a town hall meeting on campus this month.
The new working group is tasked with working on solutions to issues identified in last year’s survey.
“This is kind where the rubber meets the road — where we take the findings and say ‘what are we really going to do on this campus to improve overall job satisfaction’,’’ Nichols said.
Barker said he’ll be asking employees to join sub-groups of the main committee. The success of the group, he said, will depend on buy-in among employees across campus.
“This working group and these sub-working groups have the ability, because of the widespread participation, and hopefully the clout to make some of these these happen,” he said. “This is our chance to make improvements. If we miss this, it’s going to be years before we can do something this coordinated — this involved.”
The results of the Great Colleges to Work For Survey, administered this last March and April, says UW workplace satisfaction “warrants attention.”
The university’s working environment barely escaped being labeled as “poor” by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Fifty-seven percent of all full-time, benefits-eligible faculty and staff participated in the survey.
The survey also produced 309 pages of open-ended responses.
The Chronicle’s Great Colleges survey prompts employees with a series of positive statements about the university. Respondents are then asked to confirm whether they “strongly agree,” “agree,” “neither agree nor disagree,” “disagree” or “strongly disagree” with those statements.
UW’s survey average had just 46 percent positive answers.
Among all Carnegie research institutions participating in the survey this year, the responses to workplace questions were 67 percent positive.
UW’s results were significantly worse than its Carnegie peers in all 15 categories of questions.
One of school’s worst performing categories was the assessment of senior leadership. Only 31 percent of responses were positive, and even administrators were mostly critical of senior leadership, according to survey results.
The evaluation of supervisors and department chairs was UW’s best performing category. 64 percent of responses were positive — 10 points less than the survey average for all Carnegie research schools.