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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Low morale persists amid Forbes employer ranking

Photo by Marquette Wire Stock Photo
Although Marquette was ranked the 6th best place to work in Wisconsin, some don’t believe this to be true.

Despite being named 6th best employer in Wisconsin by Forbes, some Marquette faculty have expressed concerns surrounding faculty morale and staffing issues. 

Survey results announced during last month’s University Academic Senate meeting revealed that no department chairs surveyed reported that they strongly agree that morale is positive. The highest category was “disagree” by both tenured/tenure track and full-time/non-tenured track faculty.  

Even with reports of low morale the university still ranks 83rd in the U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges rankings. Marquette is also ranked 12th in the peer-nominated list for undergraduate teaching. 

“It’s always nice to receive external recognition from a reputable organization such as Forbes,” Claudia Paetsch, Marquette vice president of human resources, said in an email. “Given the current challenges employers are facing nationwide in attracting and retaining talent, this accolade can only benefit Marquette’s recruiting efforts to a broader population.” 

The academic senate survey also revealed that 83% of people that responded disclosed a difficulty sufficiently staffing courses, 78% said there is a challenge filling department and university service jobs due to faculty staffing changes, 66% disagreed that they have adequate capacity to teach the courses obligated by their major(s) or programs and 50% disagreed that they have adequate capacity to instruct classes with a suitable faculty-to-student ratio. 

“These concerns were not concentrated in any one college. They were expressed by many across the university,” Amber Wichowsky, professor and assistant chair of political science, said in the academic senate meeting.

Wichowsky also said that the survey was emailed to 39 faculty members, but only 18 of them responded, making for a 46% response rate. An individual from each college answered, except for the College of Business Administration and the School of Dentistry.

 “I think having these conversations about, one, recognizing that we did have losses that are disproportionately impacting units, but are also thinking through what are our plans to address them and are they sufficient?” Wichowsky said in the academic senate meeting.

In 2019 Marquette had 1,297 faculty members, 458 of those were tenure-track faculty. Since then, Marquette has been unable to get back to pre-pandemic COVID-19 faculty levels. Last year Marquette had 1,250 faculty members and 427 of those were tenure-track faculty. 

Over 10 years ago in 2011, Marquette had 481 tenure track faculty but less total faculty with 1,175. Full data from the fall semester human resource census will be available Nov. 1. The university has hired at least 54 full time faculty members this year.

Issues over faculty satisfaction are not new to Marquette. Back in 2021 there was a protest over the university eliminating 39 positions. There was additional outrage over the university not renewing a “single digit percentage” of non-tenure track faculty contracts.

Regardless of faculty morale or staffing concerns, one Marquette student understands how the university could receive its Forbes placement.

“I am always treated so well by my professors,” Angelina Jaquez, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said. “To me, I feel like with how nice professors are and how much they truly care about us they must have to be treated well by the university.”

Forbes surveyed 70,000 Americans working across a number of companies in the United States. Those taking the survey were asked several questions about safety, workplace treatment and how likely they would be to recommend their job to a friend or family member. 

Wendy Butler, director of organizational development, credits the top-10 ranking to the employees of the university themselves.

“There is a strong commitment ensuring we treat each other with respect, value each other’s contributions and continue to strive toward change and innovation in order to meet the strategic goals of the university,” Butler said in an email. “We aspire to be a catalyst that makes Marquette University an employer of choice.”

Marquette wasn’t the only university in Wisconsin to make the Forbes list. Marquette was also ranked second out of the three universities included in the top 10 places to work in Wisconsin. Coming in at fifth place — just above Marquette — was the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and sitting at ninth place was University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. 

TJ Dysart and Julia Abuzzahab contributed to this report.

This story was written by Megan Woolard. She can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @MeganWoolard4

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About the Contributor
Megan Woolard, Managing Editor of the Marquette Tribune
Megan is the Managing Editor of the Marquette Tribune at the Wire. She is a Senior from Portland, OR studying journalism and English literature. In her free time, Megan enjoys collecting CDs. She is a huge fan of the Portland Trailblazers. This year Megan is looking forward to spending time with other staff members and producing important content. 

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