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Brenau noticed for leadership, respect, professionalism
Turnover is 0.5 percent
Suzanne Erickson, associate dean of Brenau’s College of Business and Mass Communication, plans for the upcoming fall semester Thursday afternoon in her office at the school. The Gainesville university has recently been named one of the best to work by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Leadership, respect and professionalism are qualities prized in any employee. They're also prized in employers.

Brenau University exemplifies these characteristics, according to the "Great Colleges to Work For 2011" survey piloted by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

"It's a great place to work. I'm just starting my fifth year here," said Suzanne Erickson, associate dean of Brenau's College of Business and Mass Communication. "We definitely have a very strong leadership team. ... We're very focused on quality."

Almost 44,000 administrators, faculty and professional staff members at 310 colleges responded to the survey. Erickson was one of them.

Brenau was recognized in six categories — collaborative governance, confidence in senior leadership, supervisor or department chair relationship, respect and appreciation, professional and career development plans and teaching environment.

Because it was recognized in so many areas, the university was placed on The Chronicle's Honor Roll for small four-year colleges. The Honor Roll recognizes the top 10 colleges in each survey category.

"The top two ones for me are collaborative governance and respect or confidence in senior leadership," said Brenau University President Ed Schrader. "That's what we try to do, and to see that show up, it makes you feel good."

Schrader said Brenau faculty are part of an "idea generation" where leadership is not dictatorial, but rather open to hearing everyone's thoughts and problem-solving ideas.

He said The Chronicle contacted every college in the country for the survey. If a set number of responses is received, a college is evaluated as part of the survey.

Also honored in Brenau's category were Furman University in South Carolina, Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, and Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind. Georgia Tech also made the Honor Roll in the large four-year college category. The only other Georgia school recognized was East Georgia College in Swainsboro.

"It's great PR for us to be in the top 10 in the nation and it reflects really well on the university," Erickson said.

Another point of note in the survey is voluntary teacher turnover. Brenau's turnover is 0.5 percent.

"That's almost nothing," Schrader said. "If we're good at retaining faculty, that means they're happy and they want to be here. It's good news for students because of continuity."

He said the survey results are just as much reflections on the city and community as they are on the university itself. If faculty were not happy living in the area, the turnover rate would probably increase, leading to a lower quality of education and workplace happiness.