Boston College employees overwhelmingly feel fulfilled at BC, consider themselves valued members of the University community, endorse its mission, visions, and core values, and describe the University as a family-friendly place to work, according to the Faculty and Staff Experience Survey administered to all full-time BC employees in 2019.
The survey, the second such assessment performed by Boston College, yielded a 51 percent response rate involving 1,679 faculty and staff. The sample was representative of a variety of demographics, including age, gender, years of service, and areas of employment. Administered online and in paper, the survey explored employee attitudes and opinions regarding BC’s work environment and community characteristics as well as employees’ general satisfaction and perceived opportunities for professional development.
Among the survey findings:
•86 percent of University community members feel valued.
•93 percent like working at the University because of its mission, vision, and core values.
•89 percent of employees agree that the BC is a family-friendly place to work.
•87 percent feel fulfilled at BC.
•About two-thirds of employees agreed or strongly agreed that BC’s Jesuit, Catholic tradition is a positive factor that influenced their decision to come (61 percent) and remain (66 percent) at the University.
The survey again showed us that our faculty and staff feel valued, respected, and have the ability to grow and thrive personally and professionally . . . We remain committed to working closely with everyone on the Heights to continue our momentum toward realizing our full potential as a community of learners.”
Respondents to the survey also indicated areas needing improvement, notably the classroom climate for female and AHANA faculty, as well as treatment of employees based on disabilities, gender, race/ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
The survey, however, showed an increase in the percentage of AHANA employees rating aspects of the BC community favorably from the 2015 report: Ninety percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that BC is a family-friendly place to work, compared to 86 percent previously, and 71 percent said they feel free to speak up on issues important to them, three percent more than in 2015. AHANA staff also agreed or strongly agreed, at a higher rate compared to 2015, that key executives and administrators make diversity a priority: 62 percent, up from 53.
Faculty satisfaction rose from 78 percent to 84 percent in the recent survey, with the most commonly cited factors including “engaged” and “committed” students, the “wonderful” and “supportive” colleagues, and the teaching. Seventy-six percent of faculty respondents said they would probably or definitely encourage a faculty member resembling themselves to accept a position at BC.
In general, faculty and staff reflected positively on the BC community. They rated the BC environment well above the midpoint on the scale (3.0) for the measures of “welcoming” and “sense of community.”
The University’s professional development and training resources also received generally positive marks: 94 percent of staff agreed they have access to training and professional development, while 80 percent indicated they are given necessary resources to succeed. Many employees noted their work environment was enhanced by professional development and personal enrichment programs provided by BC.
We’ve already seen positive gains since the 2015 survey, and with focused attention and ongoing assessment of specific initiatives, we will continue building a community that welcomes and respects all.
A noticeable difference of opinion concerned recruitment, retention, and advancement/promotion for female employees. Male faculty members (83 percent) were more likely than female faculty (64 percent) to agree or strongly agree that their department makes a genuine effort to recruit and retain female faculty. Similarly, male staff (64 percent) were more likely than female staff (54 percent) to agree or strongly agree that they had opportunities for advancement and promotion.
The survey noted that University supervision and management is regarded as an asset by a solid majority of staff respondents: 90 percent reported that their supervisor or manager treats them with respect, a key factor in employees’ desire to stay at BC.
Boston College senior administrators said they found the survey results encouraging.
“The survey again showed us that our faculty and staff at Boston College feel valued, respected, and have the ability to grow and thrive personally and professionally,” said Vice President for Human Resources David Trainor. “While we have made good progress in many areas, we still have work to do to enhance the experience of all the members of the BC community. We remain committed to working closely with everyone on the Heights to continue our momentum toward realizing our full potential as a community of learners.”
“We are pleased that faculty remain increasingly satisfied with their work-life at Boston College,” said Vice Provost for Faculties Billy Soo. “While there is more to be done to improve everyone’s experience, we are proud of the progress we’ve made on a number of areas and remain committed to ensuring a positive and productive environment for everyone at Boston College.”
“As a new member of the BC community, it is definitely remarkable to see how the survey data reflects what I’m learning and hearing on the ground—that faculty and staff generally feel valued and are fulfilled in their roles,” said Vice President for Institutional Research and Planning Mara Hermano, who joined the University last September. “This survey reveals quantitative and qualitative dimensions to the experiences of different members of our community and the data provides insights into areas of excellence as well as opportunities for improvement. We’ve already seen positive gains since the 2015 survey, and with focused attention and ongoing assessment of specific initiatives, we will continue building a community that welcomes and respects all.”
University Communications | May 2020