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SUNY Cortland Makes Chronicle of Higher Education ‘Great Colleges’ List

 SUNY Cortland Makes Chronicle of Higher Education ‘Great Colleges’ List


The Chronicle of Higher Education has recognized SUNY Cortland among its “2009’s Great Colleges to Work For.”

The College was listed in an academic supplement to the Chronicle’s July 10 issue, released on Monday, July 6. Among the 247 colleges, universities and community colleges surveyed by the Chronicle, SUNY Cortland was acknowledged for its strength in the category of post-retirement benefits.

The Chronicle, which provides the higher education community with news, information and job listings, and ModernThink LLC, a human resources consultant that specializes in assessing workplace quality, created “The Great Colleges to Work For” program to recognize higher education institutions that have created exceptional work environments. The survey is now in its second year.

“Your employees rated your institution highly enough to be recognized in one or more categories,” wrote Rebecca Kruer, who represents’s Great Colleges Team, in a letter to Joanne Barry, SUNY Cortland’s assistant vice president for human resources. “Given how competitive the ‘Great Colleges’ program was this year, this accolade is a remarkable accomplishment.”

“I am pleased that SUNY Cortland has been recognized in the category of post-retirement benefits,” said Barry. “While all SUNY institutions offer paid health insurance in retirement for eligible employees, Cortland’s retirement transition program is unique to our campus.  Through this program, faculty and professional staff have the opportunity to enjoy a phased approach to retirement.”

According to Kruer, the program is higher education’s version of the popular Fortune magazine survey, with one key difference: It does not rank institutions in one comprehensive list. Instead, the ‘Great Colleges’ program recognizes small groups of colleges for specific best practices and policies, such as tenure clarity, collaborative governance, work/life balance and compensation and benefits.

SUNY Cortland administration, faculty and professional support staff were asked by ModernThink LLC this spring to fill out an online survey that sought their opinion about their workplace in a number of areas. The results contributed to the overall data collection.

The College participated at no cost in this program, which was open to all non-profit higher education institutions. The 247 colleges and universities that participated in the 2009 survey employ a total of nearly 41,000 employees who responded to the survey. ModernThink LLC designed and manages the “Great Colleges” survey administration and assessment process.

The “Great Colleges” rating system allows institutions of higher education to share benchmarking data about trends in compensation, benefits and other employment issues, according to its Web site. The program is also designed to help colleges improve as workplaces through the individual reports they receive, so The Chronicle names only those institutions that have scored well enough to be recognized in any category.

“While the chance to receive public recognition is an important part of the program, perhaps even more valuable is the opportunity to see where you stand with your employees, identify your strengths and understand your challenges,” Kruer noted.

Survey participants receive two free reports, a “Topline Survey Report” and a “Topline Benchmark Report,” from ModernThink LLC. The campuses may use the information contained in the reports to leverage the feedback into positive change.

For more information, visit the Chronicle’s Web site at