Belonging, Well-Being Make UM One of the ‘Great Colleges to Work For’

University lands on Chronicle's list for 13th year

UM staff members participate in a painting class during Staff Appreciation Week. The university was recognized in the annual ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ list in categories such as Faculty and Staff Well-Being, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, and Mission and Pride. Photo by Logan Kirkland/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – When asked about why he loves working for the University of Mississippi, Tom Dickerson said it really comes down to how people are treated.

“During my time at the university, I feel like I’ve been respected,” said Dickerson, a supervisor for the Department of Landscape Services who has worked 16 years on campus. “Our leadership overall is great and we, as staff, have been given all the support we need to do our job.”

This is a shared sentiment among UM employees. For the 13th year, the university has been named a “Great College to Work For.” Great Colleges to Work For is one of the largest and most esteemed workplace recognition programs in the country.

“The ‘Great Colleges To Work For’ designation reflects the extraordinary contributions of our people and the spirit of support and care that characterizes this community,” Chancellor Glenn Boyce said.

“One of our ongoing top priorities is taking care of our people, and I appreciate all of the outstanding efforts that have led us to this distinction, from the major institutional initiatives we have pursued to the individual gestures of kindness and generosity ​we see on our campus each and every day.”

The university has been recognized based on a survey of 212 colleges and universities. UM was also named to the Great Colleges Honor Roll, a status granted to only 42 colleges each year that are highlighted most across the recognition categories.

The results were released Monday (Sept. 12) in a special insert of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The university was recognized in the following categories:

  • Faculty and Staff Well-Being
  • Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging
  • Faculty Experience
  • Mission and Pride
  • Supervisor/Department Chair Effectiveness
  • Shared Governance

Faculty and staff well-being is of the utmost importance to university leadership, said Andrea Jekabsons, chief human resources officer.

“The university community provides support, resources and policies for leaders and managers to positively impact their employees’ well-being,” Jekabsons said. “UM recognizes the benefits of work and personal life balance or blend. As leaders, we promote a culture of care that protects the health and safety of faculty, staff and students.”

Chancellor Glenn Boyce (center) serves breakfast to Ole Miss staff members during Staff Appreciation Week. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Shawnboda Mead, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement, said that recognition in the Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging category is particularly significant this year.

“As we continue to advance our institutional diversity plan, Pathways to Equity, and commemorate the 60th anniversary of integration, this is an exciting time in our university’s history,” Mead said. “This ranking is a testament to the collective work to create a campus that is more accessible, equitable and inclusive for all.

“This is also a reminder that we must remain steadfast in our commitment to mitigate barriers to success where all members of our campus community can thrive.”

Jennifer Eastland, operations manager for the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence, said that the university is more than “just a workplace.”

“Our university leadership encourages and supports our work and offers opportunities for personal and professional growth,” Eastland said. “Ole Miss is special in many ways, but at its heart is the fact that when you step foot on campus you become an integral part of a family, regardless of who you are or where you are from – everyone is welcomed and supported here.”

The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institution questionnaire that captured employment data and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was the employee feedback.

ModernThink, a strategic human capital consulting firm, administered the survey and analyzed the results.

For more information and to view all the survey results, visit the Great College Program website at