Employee Comments Report

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Employee Comments Report

By Job Category

University of North Dakota

Chronicle Great Colleges to Work for Survey

Spring 2016

Prepared by:

2 Mill Road, Suite 102 | Wilmington, DE 19806

Phone: 888.684.4658 | Fax: 888.684.4659

© 2016 ModernThink LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Employee Comments…

The Employee Comments Report provides additional insight into the experience of your faculty, administration and staff. When your employees completed the ModernThink Higher Education Insight Survey they were asked two open-ended questions:

  1. What do you appreciate most about working at this institution?

  2. What would make this institution a better place to work?

Responses to these two questions are detailed in this report. To encourage honest, candid feedback and protect the anonymity of individual respondents, we advised employees not to include any self-identifying information. Additionally, comments have been suppressed for Job Categories with fewer than five respondents. We have presented the comments exactly as they were provided to us. Comments have been segmented based on self-selected Job Category.

The responses in this report are sorted by Job Category as follows:

Administration'>Administration: pages 2-7

Faculty: pages 8-28

Exempt Professional Staff: pages 29-43

Non-exempt Staff: pages 44-53

Not Specified (Job Category not selected): page 54

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a ModernThink consultant about these comments, please call us at 888.684.4658 or e-mail us at chronicle@modernthink.com. To learn more about the Great Colleges to Work For project, visit the program’s web site at http://www.chroniclegreatcolleges.com.

What do you appreciate most about working at this institution?
UND is a friendly and supportive environment to work in. Faculty are dedicated and committed. The size is perfect -- small enough so that you can build strong relationships across campus but large enough so that there are many opportunities.

A student body that is well-prepared for college overall. Benefits. Interactions with colleagues. Academic freedom.

As a department head, having the ability to shape and direct my department while having the respect of my superiors

benefits - medical insurance is totally paid by institution and pension plan

Currently it would be just having a job.

I appreciate my co-workers, the employee tuition waivers, the contributions to my retirement, and being able to tell people I work at UND.

I enjoy working with the students..

I like the fact that I have been rewarded by an institution from which many members of my family (about 15+) have attended, graduated, worked at, etc. As a life-long community member, it was great to grow up here and to now continue to use my knowledge here instead of other parts of the country. This is a great relationship and it shows that the institution cares for its members.

I like the group dynamic of my department. We work very well together.

I really enjoy being employed by the University.

In my area, the people are supportive and thoughtful, passionate about their work and committed to the success of our programs and services.

My College (Aerospace) is a great place to work. We work like a team, unlike other colleges at the University.

My job is rewarding

Over the years until the last administrative changes employees were treated like family. The UND family. Not everything goes as you want but, it was fair, your could share opinions even if not all agreed and you were appreciated. Everyone felt invested and could see there role within the institution. More of a team.

People really care about students and each other.

Strong history, great academic programs

Students are wonderful, engaged, respectful, and willing to work hard. North Dakota has been very generous in funding to UND compared to other states.

Supportive and flexible community regarding family issues. I currently have the best supervisor I've ever worked for and I've been at the university for over 20 years. Super health benefits. Great faculty and staff on the ground, doing their best every day for students. Let those at the top swirl around, the rest of us get the job done.

The ability to have a positive impact on the lives of students participating in my unit's educational program.

The administration works hard to advance the institution.

People who work here care about the success of our students.

The decent salary, benefits, and short commute from my home.

The great pride that staff take in the institution.

The people I get to work with. A large variety in experience and culture.

The students

The students -- the 'energy' and meaning they add to our daily work! Supportive colleagues that keep students at the core of our decision-making.

We are all here for one reason, to make the overall college experience for students one that is beneficial and meaningful to them now and in the future.

When we have good leadership, the scholarly, collaborative atmosphere of faculty staff and students working together. Now with turmoil and distrust in leadership everyone works in silos, and is concerned about protecting their jobs and areas. Previously decisions would be made in a transparent manner with input from all areas. Now, it is decision making top down with no explanations. We need our old UND back where we felt like a family!

Work completed does help overall student experience and make for a great education to be provided.

What would make this institution a better place to work?

8 hrs a mo. vacation is archaic

Nicer dorms, 
Better communication
More diversity in senior leadership.

Active and frequent exchanges of ideas and information with senior leadership.

Adequate funding to do the things required to do to maintain the campus.

An intelligent administration and higher quality faculty.

Being able to share views without fear of loosing your job. If you don't agree with the AVP, VP and higher up levels they just get rid of you. Accept feedback and solutions proposed by those in entry level and mid level management positions. They are doing the implementation of policy/procedures and work of those with the "ideas" Invest in North Dakota people too and not just new and young.

Better communication

Better senior leadership. The president and vice-presidents need to be much more transparent and involve faculty more in decisions. There needs to be more of a focus on student learning and less on running the university as a business.

Better transparency and communication

Clearer and HONEST communication!! It seems like there has been an attempt to "pull the wool over our eyes" regarding certain initiatives that have been started on campus. An example of this would be the budget model redesign process. The name has changed several times and there are different branches of the project (budget model redesign, PBCS, SOAR, MIRA). It hasn't been clear that these are all related to one specific initiative. Also, the concerns over the potential loss of funds for the schools has been met with an "indifferent" response or a "it's happening so just accept it" response by executives in Twamley. Whenever I see these folks on campus or on TV I feel as though they are used car salesmen who are trying to sell us a lemon of a vehicle.

Complete change of senior leadership as they are not trustworthy, and do have the respect and trust of faculty, staff or students. The Bob Kelley team is incompetent and very poor leaders.

Effective leadership, less administrators at the VP and AVP levels. More centralized support to bring the silos together.

I would like to see more collaborative efforts between staff and faculty.

If there wasn't so much "red tape" everything seems to be a long process, nothing is done in a hurry....if there was a way to speed up processes.

Improvement to culture and morale and the underlying UND spirit. Seeing those leading the institution following an established, evidence-based process and following a true Strategic Plan to support a pre-identified mission. Determining what those elements are that are truly 'mission-critical' and communicating them. Improvement in communication has occurred recently as well as actually "making a decision". In recent past, high volumes of change, coupled with multiple redundancies in 'systems' frustrated many. Standards are ever changing - most individuals can 'hit the target' if they first know what the rules of the game are and those metrics by which departments/individuals are measured actually are. More communication early on, and often. Too many unnecessary meetings with large groups of individuals - parking people around a table to make group decisions is costly if said meetings are not facilitated appropriately. Break down the silos and continue the cross-collaborative efforts.

In the past few years morale has been as low as I have ever seen. There appears to be a direct relationship between upper administration and the funk that has appeared on campus. This has been amplified by the vindictiveness, micro-managing and untruthfulness put forth by upper administration on the rest of the university. It is not a very nice place to work anymore.

Increased accountability on low-performing faculty and staff.

Increased commitment to diversity and inclusion.

involving off campus sites more

It would be better if all employees were held equally accountable. There are a number of employees that consistently abuse the system and are not good leaders specifically referring to directors.

Less politics, epsecially from state legislators. More support and less interference from the state board of higher education with fewer attempts to make use fit a mold that encompasses all higher ed campuses in the state.

Less work and the stress that goes along with the job, too many cuts and everyone having to pick up the slack with not enough employees for the jobs.

More democratic senior leadership. A state legislature that actually values and supports higher education.

More ubiquitous support for work-life harmony.
The system requirements for software, etc. make it hard to use the resources we have effectively and efficiently.

No cuts

Open, honest, transparent, and non-defensive communication from senior administration on a regular basis.

Other than the obvious "everything for me" syndrome, a buy-in from the complete campus community to work as a team. It seems evident that there are divisions among the ranks and each entity fights for its benefit, not the betterment of the University. Although there are aspects where all are intended to meet, many don't partake because of various reasons.

Providing maternity leave for expecting families.....that way vacation and sick time can be used when needed and not saved for maternity leave or having to take unpaid time off with new baby. Benefits are awesome after you have kids for coverage, but not before.....

Responsive senior administration. UND is top-heavy with useless administrators who create problems when they try to justify their highly paid positions.


What do you appreciate most about working at this institution?

Ability to work with people in different departments

An opportunity to feel that I am contributing to the betterment of society through my interaction with my students and their educational process.

Balance of research and teaching.

Being able to be innovative as a faculty member is implicitly encouraged, but there are a lot of negatives that follow this positive. Overall, the people in my department and college are fairly insular, lack the desire and/or ability to communicate clearly and regularly outside of faculty meetings, do not provide full and appropriate discussions, and at times really do not treat people fairly.

Being apart of a department that has a positive image, a department which is growing, with a good leader, who has a clear vision, and one who is respected by all. Most of all, being apart of something special.

Benefits. Student interactions.

emphasis on teaching and being student-focused

Focus on the students, appreciation of teaching, great colleagues.

For the most part, the committed people on campus; okay collegiality;

Friendly atmosphere!! Willingness of faculty to come together to solve problems.

General sense that people care about the institution and want to make it the best it can be. Staff are friendly; faculty care about students. Some members of senior leadership really are working to help improve campus communication and climate; those particular individuals are readily identifiable.

Generally a supportive environment.

I am an online instructor and can complete most of my duties from my location. I am on campus numerous times throughout the semester for committee work. This is a flexible position that allows me to teach/advise for UND.

I am working with some great collaborators and have some awesome students. That is the thing that has kept me here.

I appreciate my colleagues and my department. They are supportive and help me to navigate higher education.

I appreciate my program, its leadership and my colleagues. I work in a unique, collaborative-learning environment, centered on student learning. I feel so fortunate to work in a program modeled after small liberal arts colleges but also be housed within a research institute.
The institutions culture of valuing balance between family and work life.
The new faculty mentoring program through our Office of Instructional Development.

I appreciate that I can telecommute most days since I teach on-line. I wish more people understood the nature of online teaching and that faculty ARE working (teaching, advising, doing research, collaborating) when telecommuting.

I appreciate the freedom and flexibility I'm given with regards to research and teaching. In general, I feel that I have the freedom to apply my skills and training appropriately in both of these arenas.

I appreciate the secretarial and support staff that do a large amount of work to keep the department and offices running smoothly. I appreciate my immediate supervisor as they are not afraid to do the same type of work that they are asking me to do for them. They understand the problem that need to be solved

I appreciate the students and my work with them.

I appreciate the ways that the institution worked to accommodate our dual academic career household. Overall, I appreciate my department's commitment to work-life balance concerns. There are many encouraging, hard-working people at our university.

I enjoy the people in my department and the students! I am well paid

I have also had some interesting opportunities to pursue my own research interests. But, mostly, what I can say is I have a job, which is more than many in my field.

I have felt appreciated and respected from the first day I joined the faculty. I also felt that one could have a life as well as tenure and a satisfying career.

In my college, we now have leadership that is providing vision, support for positive change, processes that are fair and transparent, and recognition of contributions to research, service and teaching. Things are happening, the mood is positive, and there are opportunities for a bright future.

We have many outstanding students who make coming to work a joy. On graduation our students start successful careers, and it is wonderful to see their success. Our alumni are committed, loyal, and appreciative for the opportunities that enjoy as a result of their UND education. These alumni create outstanding opportunities for our students and support for faculty.

It breaks my heart that this institution is not what is was. It is now about new buildings and glitzy trending programs. The distance between the haves and the have nots is growing. I now longer feel good about working here. I feel demoralized and unappreciated.

It is an emerging institution that we can form where it is going.

It is clear to me that almost everyone has a strong focus on student learning and promotion of student interests.

It is in North Dakota

Less stress than in big universities

Many good faculty colleagues

Many of my colleagues are supportive

More or less freedom to do my research - that is, without proper funding to assist. This creates an interesting situation for faculty to be forced to cobble together funding from anywhere possible and we can be creative and somewhat successful in this way. I see it as making us more resilient - BUT, the university plays lip service to the arts in terms of funding. For example, I am engaged in connecting undergraduate students with an art school in Florence, Italy (for credit), to attend art classes. I had six students travel to the Florentine art school for summer sessions last summer. I was not given any travel money to go along. Students had to go on their own.

Most of my answers were the "sometimes agree / sometimes disagree." That speaks to the fact that we aim for very high goals, though sometimes we don't always reach them. We have our problems, but they fall into the category of "Who doesn't have these problems?" On the whole I feel that this institution values me as a faculty. I have a sense that I am making a real contribution to the lives and learning experiences of my students.

Most, but not all, of my colleagues within the department.

My colleagues and department are thoughtful, caring, and supportive. In my department, teaching load and class size are reasonable and faculty design courses and curriculum. Some recognition of the importance of teaching (relative to research) on the institutional level. Working with both undergraduate and graduate students is stimulating and rewarding. Partner hiring programs attract good faculty. Facilities are fine.

My colleagues and our department. We do our best for and with our students and our students have had excellent success after graduation.

My colleagues at the faculty level that I have worked with for several years. The staff and faculty that have been at UND for over 20 years and understand where this institution came from and the great environment we USED to have here.

My colleagues in my department are, for the most part, professional, competent, and supportive of one another. We have none of the problems other departments have at our university.

My department in particular is very supportive of all families.

My department is a great place to be.

My husband gets to work here with me!

My opportunity to work with students. The students here are among the best I have ever had to opportunity to work with.

My Paycheck


no comment

Open to change
institutional priorities aligned with public need

Opportunities for creativity within my discipline, and the chance to work with faculty across colleges in shared governance work.

Previously there was a strong supportive approach to collaborative governance. This is no longer evident.

Reasonable work

Regardless of how I feel about the institutional priorities regarding teaching, scholarship, service, and the general lack of transparency of senior administration, I have found the students to be of the best quality and have sincerely enjoyed my time working with them. The University of North Dakota, once a great institution, is in one of its darkest periods in its 133 year existence and if it were not for the many fine faculty who work here trying to provide a better education to our students it would be even darker. It is unfortunate that the priorities of our administration are at odds with those of our faculty and in many ways the great state of North Dakota.

Sense of community and faculty commitment. I am an alumnus and the sense of history is important to me.

Some really good colleagues. A good balance between teaching and research.


That's a tough question. I guess I appreciate the opportunity to serve a public institution that provides educational opportunity to a wide spectrum of students and tries to do so affordably.

The ability to work from home at times.

The balance between teaching, research & service; the size of the institution; the willingness of President Kelly to adjust and change with society; the students.

The balanced mission that values undergraduate education first with research and graduate education also recognized and valued.

The benefit package is competative

the benefits

The benefits are good. I enjoy interacting with students and doing research.

The care my department takes in making sure there are areas employees can contribute during medical issues or other life events while taking a personal interest in each of us.

The cooperation of my immediate colleagues and supervisor. Everyone at a departmental level and at A & S college level are committed to students and their success. The students and these individuals are the one's I appreciate most at UND.

The flexibility and benefits

The flexibility I have to schedule teaching. I also like the workplace wellness initiatives.

The flexibility to manage my schedule in order to balance work and family responsibilities.

The freedom to seek and teach what is true.

The heritage at UND. I have been a student in this institution for multiple degrees, over 25+ years. I loved joining this institution to teach a profession I loved when I worked in the real world. However, this institution has drastically changed since I first entered it as a student in 1988. So many faculty do not view students with respect. Nor do they value time spent with students in the classroom(teaching), or outside of the classroom getting to know them(building relationships). PhD's are now indoctrinated into the belief that their job is to create new knowledge, and the focus of their career is to contribute to the academic profession. It is assumed that being a PhD automatically makes you an adequate teacher. PhD's today (especially in the business disciplines) have no understanding of the real world application of their knowledge, and they really don't want to. 40 years ago, the teachers in the classroom were actual experts in their field, not philosophical experts.

The intellectual exchange I have daily with colleagues.

The people

The people I get to work with every day, both co-workers and students. We have really great people at UND!

The size of institution is great.

The students

the students and faculty

The students are, overall, polite, respectful to faculty and equipment, interested in their learning, care about their school, helpful to each other.

The students.

There are a lot of opportunities to improve the institution.

There are some very caring, supportive people that I work with personally. I have had freedom and flexibility to pursue my interests in research, teaching, and service to date.

There are very nice people here.

Things seem to be moving on the right track finally. Students seem fairly invested in their success; the department is quite nice.

We care about the students and at least in the past we cared about the quality of instruction as well.

Within the University of North Dakota there is genuine respect for individuals (i.e., faculty, staff, and students).

Working with colleagues that are like-minded regarding teaching (and who feel that teaching is as important or more important than research). A great joy is seeing undergraduate and graduate students work hard and gain success at both at UND and regional conferences. The reason I am here is for the students; working with them one-on-one is the favorite part of my job.

Working with students

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