UMBC is a 2022 Great College to Work For—the nation’s only R1 university to excel in every category

Published: Sep 16, 2022

A sign reads, "Welcome Home, Retrievers!" People walk through an outdoor corridor in background.
UMBC celebrates the first day of classes, fall 2021. (Marlayna Demond '11/UMBC)

This week, ModernThink’s Great Colleges to Work For program again recognized UMBC as a top institution nationwide in every measured category, from well-being and shared governance to mission and pride. UMBC is the only R1 university in the nation to achieve this honor, which is based on employee ratings.

“I believe we continue to receive this honor because of our commitment to the development and support of our employees,” says Valerie Thomas, UMBC’s chief human resources officer. “The past two years have been difficult for everyone, but we worked tirelessly together to determine how to best serve our students and how best to make changes in the way we work, focused on continuous improvement.”

Several people are seated in a room, talking
Staff and students in UMBC’s Academic Success Center, 2019. (Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC)

Caring community

Published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Great Colleges to Work For ratings include 10 categories:

  • Mission & Pride
  • Job Satisfaction & Support
  • Confidence in Senior Leadership
  • Compensation & Benefits
  • Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging
  • Shared Governance
  • Professional Development
  • Faculty Experience
  • Faculty & Staff Well-Being
  • Supervisor/Department Chair Effectiveness

“I am reminded every day of what makes UMBC a great place to work,” says Faculty Senate President Susan McDonough, associate professor of history and vice-chair of the University Steering Committee. 

“I have the privilege to work alongside university leaders and colleagues who care deeply about ideas and their impact on society. I have seen us grow and deepen our commitment to research and discovery as we transformed into an R1 university. And I have watched our students, faculty, and staff face innumerable challenges these past few years and meet them with the compassion, tenacity, and imagination that makes me excited and humbled to be part of this community,” says McDonough. “I look forward to working with Dr. Sheares Ashby, our faculty, and our entire community to keep building an even better UMBC.”

Woman on podium speaks to a smiling crowd.
Valerie Sheares Ashby speaks with faculty, staff, and students on her first day as UMBC president, August 1, 2022. (Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC)

Leadership and partnership

This theme of excitement for UMBC’s future with President Sheares Ashby, who began her tenure at UMBC in August, is a common thread among UMBC leadership.

“UMBC encourages staff growth and development, while ensuring equity through their focus on inclusion,” says Desiree Stonesifer, president of UMBC’s Non-exempt Staff Senate and executive administrative assistant in financial services, emphasizing a core value long-shared by UMBC and President Sheares Ashby. “As we welcome our new president, we look forward to the new opportunities for growth and experiences while maintaining our strong sense of UMBC family.”

Woman in graduation clothing holds a chocolate Labrador retriever.
Laila Shishineh, director of academic engagement and transition programs and Council of University System Staff past-chair, celebrates earning her Ph.D. on UMBC’s Academic Row with beloved honorary staff member Chip, the campus comfort dog. (Photo by Poulomi Banerjee ’16, M.P.P. ’21)

Jess Wyatt, president of UMBC’s Professional Staff Senate (PSS), chair of the University Steering Committee, and associate director of alumni engagement, notes, “While it’s exciting to see UMBC as a perennial addition to this list, it is even more exciting to see where we will go as we move into a new era of UMBC in partnership with President Sheares Ashby.”

This is UMBC’s 13th year of recognition and 11th year on the Great Colleges Honor Roll.

Five adults wearing professional clothing in different black and gold patterns smile in front of a sign reading "UMBC" several times.
Staff from UMBC’s Office of Institutional Advancement at Fall Opening Meeting 2022, including PSS President Jess Wyatt, second from the left (Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC)

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