The survey was sent to 124,349 employees, with an overall response rate of 45 percent. Of the responses received, 7,926 of them were administrators, 18,342 were faculty, 16,850 were exempt staff, 10,995 were non-exempt staff, and 2,397 were adjunct faculty.
Each institution was asked to submit a list of full-time employees randomly selected across four job categories: administration, faculty, exempt professional staff, and non-exempt staff. Adjunct faculty members were included for two-year colleges. The sample size, as large as either 400 or 600, was based on the number of employees in those categories. Institutions with fewer than 500 people in the designated categories were invited to survey the entire employee population.
The assessment had two components: a questionnaire about institutional characteristics and a faculty/staff questionnaire about individuals’ evaluations of their institutions. The assessment also included an analysis of demographic data and workplace policies, including benefits, at each participating college. The questionnaires were administered online in the spring.
In the faculty/staff questionnaire, people responded to 60 statements using a five-point scale, ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” The statements were categorized into various dimensions and from those the Great Colleges recognition categories, such as collaborative governance and work/life balance, were determined.
To determine the colleges to be recognized in each category, we divided the applicant pool into two classifications: four-year institutions and two-year institutions. Within each, there were three groups, based on total enrollment: small (500 to 2,999 students), medium (3,000 to 9,999), and large (more than 10,000).
Recognition in each Great Colleges category, except for diversity, was given to the 10 highest-scoring institutions in each size for four-year colleges, and the four highest-scoring institutions in each size for two-year colleges. In the diversity category, three four-year and three two-year colleges were recognized.
Honor Roll status, for four-year colleges, was given to the 10 institutions in each size that were cited most often across all of the recognition categories. For two-year colleges, Honor Roll status was given to the four institutions that were cited most often in each size category.