Raising Wellbeing in Higher Ed

A 2016 Gallup survey found that 52% of Higher Ed faculty were not engaged at work and another 14% were actively disengaged[1], mirroring the trends for U.S. workers across industries Where higher ed employees fared even worse than other industries is in receiving recognition or praise for doing good work and in having someone at work who encourages their development. Paired with recent research that shows 39% of colleges and universities don’t offer any employee engagement opportunities[2]– we have the potential for an engagement crisis in our higher ed institutions across the country.

Why it matters

It is especially important for educators to be engaged because we know that when educators are engaged, students thrive. Specifically in higher ed, Gallup found that without university employees who “go above and beyond,” “students are less likely to be engaged in education and prepared for life.”[3] The research report also found that if a student has a faculty member who cares about her/him as a person, they are 1.4x more likely to be thriving. Staff and faculty experiences matter. Their ability to be engaged at work can make all the difference in outcomes for students. Supporting the wellbeing of university employees is crucial to the success and wellbeing of students. Despite this well documented connection, only “14% of graduates strongly agree they were supported by professors who cared, made them excited about learning, and encouraged their dreams.”

Bridging the Engagement Gap

At Mayerson Academy, we work closely with partners at Northern Kentucky University to support the NKU Strong initiative, aimed at increasing staff and faculty engagement and wellbeing to ensure student success. In partnership with University Wellness and Human Resources, staff & faculty have the opportunity to learn about their strengths and how to apply them in their roles to increase their engagement & wellbeing at work.

We aren’t the only ones interested in increasing wellbeing in higher ed – there are universities and colleges across the globe that have recognized the impact of faculty and staff wellbeing on student success. Mayerson Academy was part of a collaboration that launched the Highwell Network in 2018 which brings together over 75 universities across 13 different countries to share ideas, challenges, and successes in raising wellbeing in the higher ed space.

Are you interested in strengthening student success by increasing the engagement & wellbeing of staff and faculty at your institution? We would love to support your efforts to increase wellbeing on your campus. Contact us at: Rospert.carly@mayersonacademy.org


[1] Gallup (2017). The Engaged University. Gallup Higher Education Employee Engagement. https://www.gallup.com/education/194321/higher-education-employee-engagement.aspx

[2] Cornerstone and Ellucian (2016). 2016 Employee Engagement and Retention in Higher Education.

[3] Gallup® and Purdue University (2014). Great Jobs Great Lives: The 2014 Gallup-Purdue Index Report. https://www.gallup.com/services/176768/2014-gallup-purdue-index-report.aspx