University of Idaho - I Banner
A student works at a computer


U of I's web-based retention and advising tool provides an efficient way to guide and support students on their road to graduation. Login to VandalStar.

Great Colleges to Work For Survey

Shaping Workplace Excellence at U of I

At U of I, you have the power to shape the university's future. Since 2016, we've partnered with ModernThink to conduct the Great Colleges to Work for Survey, which evaluates aspects of the university, leadership, and processes. The most recent survey, in March 2023, showcased institutional-level results which have been rolled out in university leadership meetings and through university-wide communication.

What You Can Do
Your input matters! The survey is a vital tool driving institutional, college and unit level improvement. Previous surveys led to positive changes, including a focus on supervisor training through Academic Impressions, which is training that is still available to all employees and is paid for by the Office of the Provost; an onboarding system and culture team that has drafted a project plan to roll out this fall; and unit specific improvements such as shifts in working hours to better serve employee well-being and the students they serve.

Explore these transformations and planned actions.

2023 Survey Results

The overall response rate to the online survey conducted March 23 – April 6, 2023, was 43 percent with 926 employees responding. Overall, positive answers were up from 61% to 63%.

  • U of I response rate – 926/2265 – 43%
  • Faulty response rate – 261/620 – 42%
  • Administrators response rate – 86/145 – 59%
  • Non-Exempt staff – 301/756 – 40%
  • Exempt staff – 321/743 – 43%

Our top three positive thematic areas are:

  • Faculty/Staff Wellbeing
  • Supervisor/Chair Effectiveness
  • Mission and Pride

Institution-Wide Areas of Improvement
Even excellent institutions have opportunities for improvement, and ours include:

  • Collaboration and Confidence in Senior Leadership
  • Professional Development and Performance Management
  • Job Satisfaction and Support

Planned Actions

Information from this survey, including comparisons between the data collected in 2021 and this year’s results, were reviewed to identify four themes for improvement and planned actions to take over the next two years.

Theme 1: Employees want more opportunities to participate in institutional planning.

Forty percent (40%) of employees said there are sufficient opportunities to participate in institutional planning. This question is highlighted in the collaboration theme as an area of improvement.

ACTION: Beginning in Spring 2024, a Strategic Planning Council will be established with university-wide representation to work with our strategic planning consultant to gather data for our 2025-2030 Strategic Plan, including reviewing the vision and values of the university. Here is the timeline for creating the new plan:

  • March 2024 - RFP for consulting firm issued
  • April 2024 – Strategic Planning Council formed
  • May 2024 –Strategic planning consulting firm selected
  • May 2024 – Kick-off meeting with Strategic Planning Council and consulting firm
  • June 2024-January 2025 – Strategic planning data analysis, values assessment campus-wide, and writing
  • March 2025 – Draft strategic plan available for public comment
  • April 2025 - Updates to strategic plan
  • 2025 - Launch new strategic plan!

Colleges, units and divisions will be aligning their plans with the university strategic plan. Everybody will have an opportunity to participate.

Theme 2: Employees express the desire to be paid fairly for their work.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of employees said they are paid fairly for their work, a question highlighted in the Job Satisfaction and Support theme as an area of needed improvement.

ACTIONS: Change in Employee Compensation (CEC) is not within the university’s control. The University advocates as much as possible for increases within the governance structure of Idaho. And we do our best to maximize our resources.

University Executive Leadership will continue to provide testimony to the Idaho State Legislature’s Change in Employee Compensation (CEC) committee to share experience and evidence about the importance of fully funding the CEC. See the latest written testimony provided by President Scott Green to the committee.

Additionally, the Staff Compensation Committee recommendations are considered by university leadership.

Theme 3: Employees express the desire for better communication and engagement to build a “one team” culture.

Forty-two percent (42%) of employees said there is a sense that we’re all on the same team at the U of I. This question is highlighted in the collaboration theme as an area of improvement.

The university operates in such a lean manner that we haven’t been able to fully invest in infrastructure and programs. The University of Phoenix affiliation, once completed, will allow for additional investments across campus. The Phoenix working groups, including representation across employee divisions and classifications, are dedicated to creating a plan for affiliation that benefits students and employees which will lead to programs that benefit all.

Theme 4: Employees are interested in professional development and performance management.

Thirty-five percent (35%) of employees said the onboarding process prepares new employees to be effective, a question highlighted in the Professional Development theme. Thirty-five percent (35%) of employees said our recognition and awards programs are meaningful to them. This question is highlighted in the Performance Management theme as an area of improvement.

ACTIONS: The onboarding implementation team, with university-wide representation, has identified several areas of improvement, including onboarding, excellence awards and longevity service awards.


  1. A three-month onboarding program dedicated to new employee acclimation and culture building. Each month will feature cohort learning that highlights an area of the university and employee support that will provide a solid foundation for new members of the Vandal Family.
  2. A new Human Resources and Office of Information Technology solution that automates back-end onboarding processes such as new hire letters, EPAF applications, and IT access for new employees.

These changes will be tested over the summer and rolled out officially in Fall 2024.

Excellence Awards

The Provost’s Office has simplified the nomination form to nominate faculty and staff for University Excellence Awards. Roll-out was this cycle for the 2024 Excellence Awards and included a common form and new electronic submission. Additionally, less work is now required by those who are nominated.

Longevity Service Awards

Feedback across campus and most recently at the University Leadership Forum November 6, 2023, indicates interest in a yearly program that recognizes employee longevity for five, 10, 20, 30, and 40 years of service. A project team is in progress to start this recognition program. Submit your ideas.

Monitoring Next Steps with Campus-Wide Representation

The Campus Engagement Survey Committee will be formed with a process for committee nomination rolled out in the Fall 2024 semester.

If you have ideas for leadership or the engagement committee to consider, please contribute your thoughts through the feedback form below and be a part of shaping our workplace excellence.

Submit Your Ideas and Feedback

Physical Address:
General Education and Assessment
Administration, Room 104
Moscow, ID 83844-3152

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3152
Moscow, ID 83844-3152

Phone: 208-885-6448


Web: Assessment and Accreditation