Does survey say GW best to work for?

For the past several weeks, the University has circulated a petition to its workers in hopes that it will be nominated the best place to work in greater D.C. by the Washington Business Journal. But some employees have failed to receive the memo.

Part-time faculty, who have complained about receiving low wages and no benefits and have been attempting to unionize since last year, were not extended the opportunity to participate in the questionnaire.

The results of the survey will be used by the business magazine to evaluate local employers’ “trust with co-workers … and manager effectiveness,” according to an e-mail the University sent to 4,700 regular faculty and staff.

“Our interpretation of the survey was that it should be sent to employees whose primary employment is with the University,” said Susan Kaplan, associate vice president for human resources. She called the regular faculty and staff, those who receive benefits, the “core group of University faculty and staff.”

Kaplan added that said the survey was open to “the people who stand up in front of the class and the people who make the flowers look beautiful” – everyone from professors to grounds-keeping and housekeeping staff.

Greg Mahoney, an adjunct English professor who teaches two courses at GW and two courses at the University of Maryland, said GW is not the best place in the Washington area for part-time faculty. He said adjunct professors of humanities with doctorate degrees make $1,000 more per course at Maryland, and they also receive benefits.

“The real benefit to teaching at GW is getting to work with great students and great fellow members of faculty,” he said. “As for working within a corporate University, with abominable salaries and negligible benefits, it’s really not a great place to work.”

One full-time professor who requested anonymity said he “intentionally deleted” the online queries because of limits to wage increases in his department.

“I got the invitation but I deleted it because I thought it was ridiculous at a time of salary freezes,” he said.

A number of other professors called either did not see the survey or deleted it intentionally.

Although the survey was sent to service workers as well as professors, one full-time custodian working in the Marvin Center said he was unaware of the poll. He said that many colleagues left GW, frustrated by low salaries and poor prospects of getting a raise.

“Pats on the back come often, but when it comes to negations it’s tooth and nail,” said the worker, who requested anonymity. “I’ve seen a lot of people come and go … I think more leave than stay, which is a sign that they feel they will find anywhere they go more suitable than GW.”

Kaplan said that the survey was also available on the Internet Portal for regular staff and faculty.

Though some GW staff members ignored the survey and said GW is not a good place to work, Jane Lingo, assistant director of news and public affairs in the University Relations office, said she hopes GW ends up winning the award.

“It’s a great place to work, there are great people and they are doing good things,” said Lingo, who saw and filled out the survey. “There are a lot of good institutions in Washington, but it would be nice if we got it.”

Kaplan said the University will receive the survey results regardless of whether it wins the award.

“As part of the Washington community we thought it was appropriate for us to participate in (the award contest); that’s why we did it,” she said.

The Washington Business Journal is expected to announce the winner in June.

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