June 16, 2006
Dear UCR Staff Members,
I extend my thanks and appreciation for your responses in the recent staff survey. By your participation, you have demonstrated a deep commitment to UCR and an eagerness to participate in the growth and progress of the campus. I am gratified by your dedication to our fine institution, which together we will make even stronger.
When I first came to UCR in 2002, I reviewed and discussed with staff a survey of staff views that was conducted the previous year. I worked with representatives of the Chancellor’s Committee on Campus Morale to respond to concerns; we made progress in some areas, but also suffered set-backs when the University was hit with several years of budget cuts that resulted in no pay increases and layoffs, taking a big toll on staff morale. It is a testament to our staff that the institution has nevertheless accomplished so much throughout such challenging times.
Recently we received feedback from staff that we should again take the pulse of the campus. The idea was to look in a deeper way at staff concerns across a range of areas, with the goal of trying to improve campus climate and working conditions. Thus, we hired a professional organization, Wonderlic, to undertake a confidential staff survey.
The results, based on nearly 1250 responses, will soon be made available through staff forums, a special website, and an upcoming edition of Inside UCR. The survey confirmed that you—our staff—are strongly committed to the campus and take pride in UCR. You are also extremely positive about your relationships with co-workers. These attitudes show up in the quality of work that you do. I appreciate your commitment, your hard work, and your pride in our campus.
The survey results also show that UCR is doing fairly well in terms of benefits, supervision, and training. While this is encouraging, we will do more to ensure that you continue to receive the support you need and deserve in these areas.
The survey found three principal areas in which improvement is needed:
recognition, communications, and career opportunities. This summer I will appoint three task forces—one on each of these issues—to develop action plans to determine how we can improve in these areas. The task forces, which will include staff representation, will report back to me with concrete recommendations and strategies for implementation during the fall quarter of 2006.
Two other issues arose from the survey. One was pay, an issue that is difficult to tackle at the campus level because it is managed primarily by the Office of the President. We can, however, look at equity and parity increases and initiate a review of our reclassification process. We are committed to doing this and to begin reviewing staffing needs across units.
This review will help to address the other issue that was raised—that of workload. We recognize that our recent staff and budget cuts, combined with campus growth, have put a strain on our staff. As our budget recovers and as areas of particular need are identified, we will try to relieve some of this burden.
Finally, I take to heart the survey result that indicates that senior management (a category that includes deans, vice chancellors, vice provosts, the EVC/provost, and chancellor) needs to better understand employees’
concerns. The other senior leaders and I take this very seriously and will do our utmost to listen to your concerns and communicate more effectively with you in the future.
The 2006 survey results are very similar to those in 2001. This time, however, we are in a better position to meet some of the issues head on and to work with you to make UCR a better place for all our employees. For example, we have reason for optimism about the state budget and another salary increase for the coming year. We have a leadership team that is committed to the welfare of our staff. With your help, I am confident we will succeed.
France A. Córdova