UK@Work Survey Results: Commentary from President Todd
In many campus conversations about building a Top 20 public research university over the past several years, there was a consistent discussion about improving UK’s culture.
Most of that discussion, however, was based in anecdotes.
I am pleased to say those days are now over thanks to the release of the University of Kentucky’s UK@Work Work-Life study. For the first time in this university’s storied history, UK has a comprehensive document that will help us become one of the nation’s best places to work.
I am also pleased that UK is at the cutting-edge in surveying its employees about our work atmosphere. This survey is the first of its kind among Kentucky universities and UK's benchmarks.
Like any transparent, comprehensive analysis, survey results are quite varied. For instance, most UK staff respondents were satisfied with their jobs. Most faculty felt their teaching loads and expectations for research and outreach are “about right.”
Having said that, the survey did point to some areas in which we need to focus, as we continue in our quest to be the best workplace in the state and nation. Both faculty and staff members would like to see a UK tuition program for their children and dependents. UK staff members also asked the university to analyze a “compressed” workweek and inspect the feasibility of telecommuting. Faculty members requested more comprehensive counseling for personal and family issues as well as the expansion of current benefits, including domestic partner benefits.
I want to assure every person that took the time to participate in our survey that your university is listening. Over the next several months, we will:
- Distribute survey findings in forums across campus.
- Launch a pilot program for a Shared Leave Pool for staff.
- Begin investigating the feasibility of expanding our tuition program to dependents and/or spouses.
- Conduct a feasibility study to analyze a comprehensive Employee Assistance Program.
- Investigate the feasibility and cost of expanding benefits to include domestic partners.
- A committee will recommend the use of a $5 million staff enhancement pool. That pool will be available with the enactment of the 2007-2008 UK budget.
- Using the survey results, a child-care feasibility study was conducted resulting in a three-part recommendation: The potential creation of a child care center, the addition of a child care specialist to the Work/Life staff office and identifying resources for emergency/backup care for children when regular care is unavailable.
- Provide training for all managers, department chairs and supervisors for creating a true employer of choice work-life culture, one that includes elements of trust, respect, appreciation and greater communication.
I hope each of you realize that this Top 20 quest is not a numbers project. It’s not a rankings project. It’s a people project. We need the best people to lead this university and help us achieve our dreams.
When we accomplish our ultimate goal of becoming one of the nation’s 20 best universities, it will because our faculty and staff helped pave the way.