JMU, BRCC Called ‘Great Schools’ To Work

Schools Surveyed For Employee Satisfaction

Posted: July 23, 2014

BRCC head librarian Kyle McCarrell pares down books in the library catalog to make room for new titles Tuesday afternoon. BRCC and JMU were listed on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of “Great Colleges to Work For.” (Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R)

HARRISONBURG — Blue Ridge Community College and James Madison University were listed Monday as two of more than 90 of the nation’s “Great Colleges To Work For.”

It is the sixth consecutive year that BRCC has been named to the list, published by the Chronicle of Higher Education on Monday.

It’s the fifth time the Weyers Cave school has received “Honor Roll” status, which recognizes the best of the best among listed schools.

This is the first time James Madison University has made it onto the list.

“When people are looking for a good place to work, I think it’s possible that they may consider the fact that JMU is ranked as a good college to work for,” said Rick Larson, assistant vice president for human resources, training and performance. “We don’t have too much trouble getting job applications here, but if it comes down to two institutions and one is ranked and one isn’t, it could make a difference.”

About 300 colleges and universities participated in the survey, even though it was open to all higher education institutions with more than 500 students.

A random sample of faculty and staff members at participating schools was asked to respond to 60 questions to determine employee satisfaction in categories such as compensation and benefits, work/life balance, diversity, job satisfaction, confidence, and senior leadership and professional/career development programs.

The top 10 four-year and top four two-year schools in each category received recognition, except for the diversity category, in which the top three two- and four-year schools were recognized.

JMU received recognition in one of 12 categories for having superior professional/career development programs.

“We have a pretty impressive list of opportunities to learn and grow,” Larson said, listing examples such as the Center for Faculty Innovation.

Blue Ridge was recognized in six of 11 categories: collaborative governance, respect and appreciation, professional/career development, supervisor or department chair relationship, teaching environment and work/life balance.

Tim Nicely, director of human resources for BRCC, said the college has long fostered a positive working culture, and administrators work hard to be good leaders.

“[Administrators are] concerned about employees,” Nicely said, “and being aware of what’s going on and trying to really maintain that small community college environment and atmosphere and culture, even as we grow and continue to grow.”

Being ranked on the list is a good recruiting tool, Nicely said, as potential applicants and employees compare colleges when looking for new jobs.

“They see the designation in the Chronicle because that is the major designation in academia,” he said.

Other Virginia schools listed were George Mason, Regent, and Washington and Lee universities, and Lord Fairfax and Southside Virginia community colleges, which received Honor Roll designation.

Contact Kassondra Cloos at 574-6290 or

NDN Video News