October 6, 2006

VU among best places to work in academia

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VU among best places to work in academia

Vanderbilt University ranks fourth among the “Best Places to Work in Academia,” according to a new survey done by The Scientist, a magazine catering to the life sciences.

Last year, Vanderbilt ranked fifth in the annual survey, which polls academic researchers about their university and organizations. Since the magazine's first survey in 2003, Vanderbilt has moved up 30 spots.

“Our continued rise in rankings such as this demonstrates that Vanderbilt is indeed among the nation's elite in fostering research,” said Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

“It also reaffirms our ongoing efforts to encourage collaboration and to make Vanderbilt a rewarding place to work.”

Steven Gabbe, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine, agrees.

“Our ranking near the top for all U.S. institutions reflects the efforts we have made in our elevate process. It is a tribute to our faculty scientists, their research teams, and the students they train.”

Survey respondents were asked to assess their working conditions and environments by indicating their level of agreement with 39 criteria in eight different areas — job satisfaction, peers, infrastructure and environment, research resources, pay, management and policies, teaching and mentoring and tenure.

"Vanderbilt places great emphasis on encouraging creativity, independent thinking, and providing our faculty and staff with the environment they need to do the best possible work," said Jeffrey Balser, M.D., Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research. "I don't think it's a coincidence that our rise in employee satisfaction rankings has tracked with our rise in national research rankings."

The Survey's more than 1,600 respondents from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada also indicated which factors were important to them. For the second year in a row, personal fulfillment was voted the No. 1 factor in determining workplace satisfaction, followed by peer relations, institutional management and tenure procedures.

“It's important for scientists to be able to tell their peers exactly how they feel about where they work,” said Richard Gallagher, publisher of The Scientist.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital topped this year's list, followed by the J. David Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco and Ohio State University.

Full results of the “Best Places to Work in Academia 2006” are available online at www.the-scientist.com/bptw.