Snapshots of staff opinions: a Guilfordian survey revealed

The Guilfordian asked staff to anonymously submit their opinions about their positions and experiences working at Guilford College.

The submissions came pouring in.

The survey was placed in the faculty and staff Buzz for three days. Below are some snapshots of the comments submitted.

Why do you work for the College?

“The people that I work with and the students are why I work at Guilford College. It also allows for more flexibility than any other job I’ve had. Also, tuition remission for my child is important to me.”

“To serve and mentor students in ways that will improve their lives, and in turn, the world.”

“Love the ethos here, the values, the Quaker presence and have a wonderful work group.”

“1. The economy is very tough, even years after 2008. 2. Guilford struggles to live up to its reputation and core values and needs my expertise. 3. Other Piedmont colleges and universities have made progress; Guilford still has a chance to turn things around.”

What are the drawbacks of working at Guilford and why?

“Lately, it has become more political. I believe that a few people are representing a large group and not representing their beliefs and/or wishes for Guilford.”

“Too much political play within departments.”

“Consensus process can be arduous. The pay could be better.”

“Working outside year round with exposure to weather extremes. Having to report for work in weather emergencies or not be paid when others can stay home and still receive pay.”

“Salary … I make enough to live on, but not more.”

“The hours and stress are the major drawbacks … I am supposed to work 37.5 hours a week, but I probably work closer to 60 … Having such few resources (staff and money) means for a stressful work environment.

Everyone I work with is doing the jobs of three to four people … Managers are also constantly watching their very small operating budget so they do not overspend it.”

Do you feel staff is represented well at the College? What are the greatest tensions, if any?

“Even though Guilford doesn’t claim to embrace the hierarchy of some organizations, it is alive and well here. If we were a hospital, it is clear who the physicians are and who cleans the floors.

This is not a monetary comment; it applies to treatment and respect shown as well.”

“No. Senior staff doesn’t seem to care about the little people.”

“Yes. I think the tension lies in the divide between faculty and staff, particularly the administration. I think people get stuck in their own worlds and forget that we are all working towards the same goal: educating our awesome students.”

“Staff is not represented at all at the College … There are no staff meetings like there are faculty meetings. Because we don’t have tenure, we can’t act like fools and demand raises that can’t be afforded at this time.

The greatest tension right now is between the unrealistic faculty, who are insisting on raises, and the staff that might be cut so they can get their raises. It is absurd. You are going to lay more people off in areas that are already overworked and underpaid so that faculty, who might work 30 hours a week and are paid very well for what they do, can get a raise. It doesn’t make good business sense at all.”

“Because Guilford makes so much to-do about its core values, there’s an expectation that it will honor those core values. However, there is rampant distrust among staff of senior staff and administration, which, in turn, affects morale.

This distrust is a result of a lack of transparency and accountability among the administration; the use of program evaluation and assessment as a tool to justify budget cuts and reprimands; the insistence on falling in line to a hierarchy (from a place that supposedly values equality and justice) to the point of staff being ‘written up’ to Human Resources for ‘insubordination.’

All of this contributes to a climate in which staff members feel they can’t express their opinion and are actively discouraged from expressing their opinion. And, finally, one of the most hurtful things is lack of support from many tenure-track faculty who should have the power and job security to speak up about administrative problems, but refuse to do so.”