UM Makes Chronicle’s ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ List for 11th Year

Ole Miss recognized on the Honor Roll in eight categories

UM staff members Amanda Klenke (left) and Terry Daniels choose plants at the Staff Appreciation Week plant swap. The university was recognized in several categories, including Job Satisfaction, Work-Life Balance and Respect and Appreciation, in the annual ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ honors. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – For the 11th consecutive year, the University of Mississippi is one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a new survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The results, released today (Sept. 16) in a special insert of The Chronicle, are based on a survey of 236 colleges and universities. In all, 85 of the 236 institutions achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition for specific best practices and policies.

“As an administrator at this special place for more than 20 years now, it is not surprising to me that we have made the Great Colleges List for 11 of the 12 years it has existed,” Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks said. “It is our people that truly make this university an outstanding institution. This recognition honors them and the meaningful work in which they engage every day.”

The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional 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 employee feedback.

Results are reported for small, medium and large institutions, with Ole Miss included among the large universities (with 10,000 or more students).

UM was recognized in eight categories this year:

  • Collaborative Governance
  • Professional/Career Development Programs
  • Teaching Environment (faculty only)
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Supervisor/Department Chair Relationship
  • Respect and Appreciation
  • Tenure Clarity and Process (faculty only).

“This is a very satisfying affirmation of the University of Mississippi, but our real goal is not recognition; it’s being a community that values the needs and contributions of every individual,” said Andrea Jekabsons, associate director of human resources. “In that sense, everyone at the University of Mississippi helps to make this a great place to work.”

UM staff members participate in a free ‘desk yoga’ class sponsored by RebelWell as part of Staff Appreciation Week. Employee feedback was a primary factor in the university being recognized as among the nation’s ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ for the 11th consecutive year. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Several employees shared why they believe the university deserves its continuous recognition.

“Ole Miss is truly a family and everyone has a unique bond that makes us one and this place so special,” said Jeremy Roberts, learning specialist and instructor in the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience.

He recalls a story when he was hired that provided him a learning and growth opportunity.

Kathy Knight, former interim chair of the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management, hired Roberts to teach event management. She paired him with Charlotte Oakley, and they shared offices in Lenoir Hall.

“At the start, we could not have been any more different, but I think Dr. Knight paired us to learn from each other, especially me to learn from her since I was just starting my academic career, since we truly were so much alike,” Roberts said. “This grew into a true mentoring opportunity for me to learn from two of the best in the education industry.”

Sarah Sapp, manager of marketing and communications for the School of Applied Sciences, said the university’s support of her overall well-being is a primary reason she enjoys working there.

“Through my RebelWell membership, I go to group exercise classes almost every day,” Sapp said. “I use the employee health clinic and the campus pharmacy when I’m sick.

“The university also supports my continuing education and affords me the opportunity to teach adjunct courses in addition to my full-time staff role, making my time here as an employee incredibly fulfilling in multiple ways.”

Noel Wilkin, provost and chief academic officer, said the university’s consistent recognition is the result of team effort.

“This recognition comes directly from the efforts of more than 3,000 faculty and staff who work to make the University of Mississippi a healthy learning, living and working environment for all,” he said. “The 10-year streak for this recognition reflects the dedication our people bring to our mission each and every day.”

The Great Colleges to Work For is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country. For more information and to view all the results of the survey, visit the Great College Program website at