The Great Colleges to Work For® program is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the United States. The program uses a two-part process to assess colleges that earn top ratings from their employees regarding workplace practices and policies. These include a ModernThink Higher Education Institution Questionnaire, and a ModernThink Higher Education Insight survey that was vetted by a panel of higher education experts. This year, 212 institutions participated in the program, including 130 four-year institutions and 82 two-year institutions. Sixty-eight institutions have been recognized as a 2022 Great College to Work For®, including 46 four-year institutions and 22 two-year institutions. HCCC is the only college in New Jersey to be honored with this recognition.
Home to 18,000 full- and part-time students, HCCC is also home to nearly 1,000 employees, 40% of whom are former students. Anna Krupitskiy, HCCC Vice President for Human Resources, said that when Dr. Reber began his presidency in 2018, he focused on climate, culture, and community, addressing morale, salaries, and developing more trusting relationships between administration and all employees.
Dr. Reber inaugurated and conducts Monthly Town Hall Meetings and provides other platforms for faculty, staff, and students to learn recent HCCC developments, and participate in dialogue with College leaders and one another. “This has empowered members of the College community to develop vertical relationships with colleagues, which in turn has led to many collaborations, partnerships, and alliances within the College and with external community partners,”
Ms. Krupitskiy stated.
At the start of Dr. Reber’s tenure he also developed collaborative relationships with each of the College’s four collective bargaining units: Professional Association, Academic Administrative Association, Adjunct Faculty Federation, and Support Staff Federation. The fresh sense of collegiality and collaboration resulted in new, three-year contracts for all four collective bargaining units being resoundingly approved in May of this year by the HCCC Board of Trustees.
In 2019, Dr. Reber created the President’s Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (PACDEI). The council consists of more than 40 members of the HCCC community – students, faculty, staff, and external community members who work together to foster a welcoming, diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment that embraces and celebrates shared values among all constituencies.
One of the first projects undertaken by PACDEI was a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) climate survey that was distributed to the entire College community. Responses from more than 800 individuals – students, trustees, faculty, staff and administrators – formed the basis for the development of four key goals: (1) Supporting an inclusive culture of care at HCCC, including DEI infrastructure and training, programs and initiatives across the College; (2) Weaving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion guidelines and best practices into recruitment and hiring practices, screening committee polices, promotional considerations, and succession planning for more diverse faculty, staff and administrators; (3) Creating clear and transparent processes for safety, security and incident reporting that are free of intimidation and respectful of confidentiality; and (4) Building community and a sense of belonging for students by advancing their academic development, professional growth, and personal transformation. In Summer 2021, HCCC established the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and appointed the first Vice President for that area, reporting to the President as a member of the College cabinet.
To support the College’s commitment to bringing salaries to market rate over time, HCCC engaged in a two-year study by Evergreen Solutions, LLC to evaluate and update compensation and classification systems in order to help ensure internal and external equity. By December 2021 the College circulated the study recommendations to union leadership and the College community at large. An HCCC employee tweeted: “My institution hired a firm to do a compensation and classification study and has made the entire report, with all the recommendations, public to the college community. This is how you model transparency.”
Dr. Reber believes the College has been successful in supporting students in large measure because HCCC supports the professional development and success of faculty and staff. HCCC provides a comprehensive offering of professional development opportunities including participation in the “Teaching at a Community or Technical College” program through the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD); offering Professional Development Day workshops; hosting the Annual Adjunct Faculty Conference; organizing and holding College Service Day and Convocation each fall and spring; developing and offering an All College Faculty Orientation; making Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) certificate training, E-Cornell Diversity and Inclusion certificate training, and Title IX training available to faculty, staff, and stuents; and offering up to $9,000 annually for each full-time employee to participate in approved credential attainment and professional development activities.
HCCC also makes it possible for faculty and staff to attend in-person conferences, workshops and institutes, and participate in webinars hosted by Achieving the Dream, Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), NISOD, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, College and University Professional Association (CUPA) for Human Resources, American College Personnel Association, National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education, and many others.
An employee who was honored for twenty years of service at HCCC wrote to thank the College for commemorating the milestone with a special plaque and pin: “I wanted to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. I really loved it, and it made me proud to be an employee of the College and let me know that all those years of service are appreciated by Hudson County Community College administration and Board of Trustees. I just had to let you know how grateful I am to be a part of HCCC.”
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Caption: Hudson County Community College Class of 2022 graduates celebrate at Commencement exercises.
About Hudson County Community College
Hudson County Community College serves more than 18,000 credit and non-credit students annually. The College offers nearly 90 degree and certificate programs, including award-winning English as a Second Language, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Culinary Arts/Hospitality Management, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Humanities and Social Sciences. The HCCC Culinary/Hospitality Management program was ranked number six in the U.S. by Best Choice Schools.
HCCC has partnerships with major four-year colleges and universities in the greater New Jersey-New York area and beyond, accommodating seamless transfer of credits for further undergraduate and graduate education.
In addition to the 2022 “Great College to Work For®” Award, the College’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has been recognized with the 2021 Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Northeast Region Equity Award; the “INSIGHT Into Diversity” 2021 and 2022 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, this year honoring HCCC as one of seven community colleges nationally to be named “Top Colleges for Diversity;” and the “INSIGHT Into Diversity” 2022 “Inspiring Programs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)” Award. HCCC was a finalist this year for the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) “Advancing Diversity Award of Excellence.” HCCC was selected as one of 24 community colleges in the United States – and the only community college in New Jersey – to be named among the “2022 Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges” by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) in collaboration with “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.”
About ModernThink, LLC
As a research and consulting leader in workplace issues, ModernThink has supported a wide variety of “Best Place to Work” initiatives. Through these programs, the firm has gained substantial survey and industry expertise, including specific insight into higher education. ModernThink knows what it takes to build a great place to work and shares that know-how with its clients. The ModernThink team of organizational development experts is dedicated to helping colleges follow through and capitalize on feedback from employees and benchmark data from peers to drive meaningful change at their institutions. Learn more about the Great Colleges to Work For® program, including all current and previous recognized institutions, at GreatCollegesProgram.com and GreatCollegesList.com, and about ModernThink at ModernThink.com.