I want to start by thanking the more than 500 people who took part in the Senate review of my presidency and for the generosity of your written feedback, which ran to 66 pages single spaced. I have read and pondered all of the responses. At the next Senate meeting, I will attempt to summarize the feedback, both positive and negative. I have also asked Senate to make the summary report (the questions without the detailed open ended comments) public, and they have done so. You can find the document here.
One piece of recurring advice was that I need to communicate more frequently to our campus community, and, as a result, I’ll be instituting a monthly note to campus throughout the academic year about various initiatives, opportunities, and updates. I welcome your feedback on this as well as suggestions for inclusion.
Great Colleges to Work For Survey Results
In spring 2018, the College at Brockport participated in the Great Colleges To Work For survey conducted by ModernThink on behalf of The Chronicle of Higher Education. The survey was randomly sent to a total of 600 employees, 251 of which responded. The 41.8% response rate was slightly above average for all institutions. The survey was sent proportionally to those identified as Administrators, Faculty, Exempt professional Staff, and Non-Exempt Staff. Earlier in 2019, the College received detailed results, both through open-ended comments and specific question/category responses broken down by position and demographically. While we did not rank sufficiently highly to receive mention in the annual survey results, we did get some good information from our community about things that we do well and areas where we can improve.
Strategic Goal Group IV studied the results and comments and have provided summary findings, which are as follows:
- Females reported less satisfaction than males in every major category
- Underrepresented employees tended to report less satisfaction
- The 50-54 age group tended to report less satisfaction than other age groups
Areas in which The College scored well
- Flexibility/work-life balance
- Feeling of support from supervisor/department
- Sense of community on a small scale—people like their immediate supervisor/department
- Lack of diversity among faculty and staff
- More support needed for faculty/staff of color
- Lack of accountability in certain areas
- Compensation concerns
- Lack of transparency from administration
- Teaching/research/service imbalance
- Issues of respect between faculty/staff/management
Areas of concern which may be easier to address
- Increasing the diversity of student body and faculty/staff
- The need to increase training/professional development
- The need for more respect among different employee groups, and building trust
- The need to increase/improve communication throughout the organization
Areas of concern which may be more complex to address
- Perception that students are less prepared and/or are more entitled than in past years
- Sub-par facilities, the upgrade of which is dependent on state funding
- Compensation outside of contractually negotiated salary increases
Areas of concern which we likely can’t address
- Tuition benefit for dependents—NYS would need to change current legislation
- Significantly altering departmental staffing levels
The first cohort of employees who completed the Leadership Development training program will receive the detailed results and work to identify and recommend to President’s Cabinet potential strategies which the college can implement to address those concerns that we can address. The expectation is that the college will give these strategies time to work and take the survey again in the next few years to assess the impact of this work.
Compensation Analysis and Planning
Many of you have asked for an update on the faculty and professional staff compensation plans for the College. A few years ago, we began a practice of using College and University Professional Association (CUPA) data to inform starting salaries for both faculty and professional staff; this has helped us to recruit successfully a number of new faculty and staff to the College. Where we need to focus our attention now is on faculty at the associate professor and professor ranks, and in relation to medium- to long-term professional staff. Earlier this spring, we undertook a preliminary review of salaries against the CUPA data using last year’s information. The latest CUPA data has just been released, and we are working to review the salaries of all faculty against the newest data, taking into account the 2% raises that will come this fall. We are putting together a plan to look at the gap between the 2019 salaries and the CUPA median salaries. Because we know that any funds that go to salary increases will necessarily not go to new positions, we have to be sure we have a plan that will be sustainable, takes into account equity, and is transparent and fair. Recently, The Chronicle of Higher Education released its survey of faculty pay (it has a searchable database that allows you to compare salaries across the SUNYs, for example, or using other criteria), and that, along with the CUPA data, will inform our efforts. In addition, for professional staff, we are undertaking a mapping exercise against both CUPA data and other labor market statistics. We hope to complete the analysis over the summer, and I will update you this fall regarding next steps.
Accepted Student Days
I want to thank everyone who was involved in the Accepted Student Days. In total, we welcomed 524 students to campus over the course of both accepted student days. The second event was the largest since 2016 and included 80 students from NYC who participated in our annual overnight bus trip. Many of you, both faculty and staff, gave up a great deal of time on these Saturdays (as well as during the Open Days in the fall) to help recruit our incoming class of first year and transfer students. I truly appreciate your dedication to this important part of our jobs. We won’t know the final tally of students likely to attend this fall until after National Commit Day on May 1; however, we should have a healthy incoming class, though it is likely to be smaller than the last two years. I am happy to report that our graduate numbers are looking strong.
Let me know if you find this update useful, and/or what type of information you would like to see shared with the College.
This is an incredibly busy time of year as the semester winds down and as we gear up for commencement activities. I appreciate the ways in which you work to ensure that this is a great college at which to learn for our students, a college engaged with its community, and a sustainable institution for the 21st century. I will continue to do everything I can to ensure that the college is also a great place to work.
Thank you for all that you do to help Build a Better Brockport.