Employees mostly agree with best workplace award

Rachel Abbey

Despite months of contract negotiations between university administrators and employees, Kent State has been named one of the best places to work in Northeast Ohio.

The university received the NorthCoast 99 award at the Board of Trustees meeting last Wednesday.

This award applies to all Kent State employees, from faculty and staff members to student employees, said Carolyn Pizzuto, vice president for Human Resources.

Several university employees agreed with the recognition, saying the biggest advantage of working for Kent State is its relationship with the students.

Ray Davis said seeing students around campus and watching them succeed is his favorite part about working for Kent State. Davis is the president of the staff union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 153.

Denise Evans, clerical specialist for the Office of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, said teamwork among employees is encouraged at Kent State.

Professor Cheryl Casper, president of the American Association of University Professors, Kent State chapter, said the diverse and friendly atmosphere of the university community is a positive aspect of working for Kent State.

However, she said the university does not work with its employees enough to effectively solve problems.

The AAUP-KSU recently settled a set of year-long contract negotiations with the university. AFSCME Local 153, reached a tentative agreement on all pending contract issues Thursday.

“In my eyes, the university has a long way to go in treating its employees better,” Davis said. “Contract or no contract, I think the university still has a long way to go.”

University spokesman Ron Kirksey said the university pays a lot of attention to employee communication and relations, but is always looking to improve.

Being able to work hand-in-hand with students is what makes the job rewarding, said Andrea Spandonis, director of Dining Services. About 650 students work in Dining Services, she said, which shows the university’s dedication to students.

“I’ve worked at many, many other universities, and Kent State is very focused on students,” Spandonis said. “And that’s why we’re here.”

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].