KSU named one of the best colleges to work for

Katy Coduto

Kent State has been named one of the top universities to work for by The Chronicle of Higher Education in its sixth annual ranking of “Great Colleges to Work For.” It is the only public university in Ohio to be placed on this list.

Kent State excelled in the Compensation and Benefits category, meaning that university employees polled cited this category as a strength for Kent State. The Chronicle also noted employees’ ability to take classes for free as an “outstanding feature.”

Geraldine Hayes-Nelson, Ph.D., the executive director for human resources outreach, said that Kent State’s benefits and compensation go beyond what most people expect from a university.

“We have various resources that support employees, but also their family, their spouses, their children, as well as opportunities for personal development and training in their personal area and realm of responsibility,” Hayes-Nelson said.

Kent State is one of 97 universities being recognized. According to its website, the Chronicle of Higher Education surveys almost 45,000 university employees from 300 institutions. In the survey, employees answer 60 questions on a five-point scale from agree to disagree. A university needs to excel in at least one of 12 categories to be recognized.

Beyond benefits like vacation time and merit pay in the last year, Kim Hauge, communications and project manager for human resources, said that a major strength that Kent State offers to employees is a family-friendly work environment.

“There are many family-friendly policies we have,” Hauge said. “They provide some flexibility to allow a work and family life balance as well.”

Danielle Coombs, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and its newly appointed undergraduate coordinator, said that she has had a continuously positive experience while working for Kent State.

“I’ve had a really great experience working here at Kent State,” Coombs said. “In the time I’ve been here, I’ve seen a lot of growth in a very positive direction.”

This includes the university’s strength through the recession, which Coombs noted was greater than many other similar universities.

“I think, honestly, that during the recession a lot of university faculty were furloughed or had to take pay cuts,” Coombs said. “Here at Kent, we were still able to get incremental raises and get merit pay last year coming back in.”

Hayes-Nelson also cited the ongoing growth of the university and the city of Kent as another benefit to working for Kent State.

“We also have opportunities to grow with the community, which you can see with everything happening around us,” she said.

Hauge also noted that Kent State is the only public university in Ohio to be included in the list.

“We’re the only public university in the state of Ohio to win this honor,” she said. “Certainly we’ll use this in our marketing efforts to retain employees.”

While Coombs agreed that the university has excelled with benefits and compensation in recent years, she also said that the environment at Kent State has helped her to excel as an educator.

“I love that I feel very supported in terms of my career and in terms of being able to figure out what I want to do and strategies to get there,” she said.

Contact Katy Coduto at [email protected].