by Colton Campbell
The University of West Georgia has – for the sixth year in a row – been named one of the Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs.
UWG received the recognition from the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education” magazine. UWG is one of only two universities nationwide to receive this honor all six years it has been presented.
Dr. Xavier Whitaker, interim vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, said being named one of the top 20 most promising places to work in 2019 is recognition of the great work his division does every day to prepare for the opportunities and challenges in helping build student success.
“We’re honored and thrilled to – again – be named as part of this distinguished group of institutions,” Whitaker said. “We continue to make a priority of supporting and developing our future leaders in higher education, and earning this award is testament to that. We align our values of collaboration, growth and development to support the holistic enhancement of our students’ and employees’ lives.”
Dr. Yves-Rose Porcena, UWG’s chief diversity officer, said earning this award – especially for six consecutive years – is proof that UWG is “constantly innovating.”
“This is a significant award because it shows the world that we aren’t afraid to use our creativity to meet students where they are,” Porcena said. “We are committed to constant improvement and learning new things because we’ve built a culture that’s all about growing others. This award recognizes our colleagues in the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, and they serve as a model other divisions can use as best practices to positively affect students’ lives.”
With a focus on workplace diversity, staffing practices and work environment, “Diverse” uses a web-based survey approach to examine categories such as family friendliness, salary and benefits, and professional development opportunities, to name a few.
Salary and benefits
UWG has conducted salary studies for the past three years, putting long and short-term plans in place to continue raising salaries for all employees to competitive levels. A 2018 study by the University System of Georgia revealed UWG has a regional economic impact of $577 million, directly contributing to jobs and higher incomes.
As an added bonus, faculty and staff receive free access to the 131,000-square-foot UWG Campus Center, which houses more than 100 pieces of fitness equipment, two large, group fitness spaces with 40 classes per week, a 48-foot climbing wall, game room, functional training fitness space, faculty- and staff-specific locker rooms, and personal trainers.
Professional development opportunities
There is a sincere focus to develop not only students, but also employees, for growth and other opportunities through initiatives like Engage West!.
The Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management has taken Engage West! to new heights. The initiative is a comprehensive suite of programs that develop and support faculty and staff by creating a culture of high performance and evidence-based leadership.
As a division that manages 20 different units, creating a sense of family and togetherness in the workplace has proven to be a vital component of success for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.
Teamwork is only one way UWG has been recognized as a family-friendly campus. UWG offers various opportunities for its employees to maintain work-life balance. Spouses of employees are given free admission to some athletic events, employees have priority in enrolling their children in UWG’s pre-K program, and there are variety of performances and annual events such as Safe Treat for student organizations to welcome families from the community to campus.
Whitaker said the award showcases that UWG is a welcoming place where employees can discover their talents and develop their full potential to succeed.
“This award will ensure we continue hiring the best of the best as we cultivate our students to advance toward completion of their degrees and the next step in their lives,” Whitaker said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
The 2019 list of the 20 most promising places to work in student affairs (in alphabetical order) includes:
• Bowling Green State University
• Brevard College
• California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
• California State University-Channel Islands
• College of William & Mary
• James Madison University
• Pennsylvania College of Technology
• Rhode Island College
• Rutgers University-New Brunswick
• Saint Louis University
• Samuel Merritt University
• Sonoma State University
• St. Louis College of Pharmacy
• The Ohio State University-Columbus
• University of Hawaii-Hilo
• University of Maryland- Baltimore
• University of Vermont
• University of West Georgia
• Virginia Tech
• West Chester University of Pennsylvania