UFV one of BC’s Top Employers for third year in a row

The University of the Fraser Valley has completed a hat-trick as a leading employer in BC.

For the third year running, UFV has been named one of BC’s Top Employers.

UFV was selected because it offers employees:

• competitive salaries
• an excellent benefits package
• generous vacations
• professional development support
• a commitment to employment equity and workplace diversity
• campus amenities
• family-support initiatives such as maternity and paternity leave top-up
• employee assistance programs
• retirement planning assistance
• phased-in retirement work options and defined benefit pension plans.

Employers are evaluated using eight criteria: physical workplace; work atmosphere and social; health, financial, and family benefits; vacation and time off; employee communications; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement. Employers are compared to other organizations in their field. A total of 70 employers were selected for the 2017 BC’s Top Employers competition.

The competition is run by Mediacorp Canada, which manages the well-known Canada’s Top 100 Employers project and the Eluta.ca job search engine, now used by over 5.4 million Canadians annually. In addition, Mediacorp hosts the nation’s largest annual conference for senior-level HR professionals. Founded in 1992, Mediacorp is Canada’s largest publisher of quality employment-related periodicals. BC’s Top Employers for 2017 are listed here.

UFV has 814 full-time employees, and 315 part-time employees with an average service span of 11.1 years and an average age of 49.

Karsten Renaerts at the 2016 welcome back barbecue, one of UFV’s employee traditions.

The university was chosen as a one of BC’s Top Employers for fostering a workplace environment that encourages and enables employees to engage in teaching and learning practices that support the development of the Fraser Valley community and beyond.

“Community engagement has always been a core value for our university, ever since its beginnings as a community college,” says Ken Brealey, Associate Vice-Provost, Faculty Relations. “UFV strives to be continually engaged with, and serving the needs of, our students and our surrounding communities, including local civic governments and the Stó:lō aboriginal people.”

Professor Lenore Newman values the workplace environment at UFV for the close working relationship she has with her students, as well as the focus on community engagement.

When Newman was working on her new book, Speaking in Cod Tongues: Exploring Canada’s Cuisine, she recruited some talented, if perhaps unconventional, research assistants: her UFV undergrad students. They surveyed the body of literature on Canadian food culture to supplement Newman’s coast-to-coast fieldwork.

“It’s almost unprecedented that undergrads do hands-on research,” explains Newman, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Food Security and the Environment, one of three research chairs at UFV. “Here, they get the kinds of opportunities that would go to graduate students at other institutions.”

The opportunity to work closely with students at a university that places a premium on teaching excellence is part of what attracted Newman to UFV in 2011. With maximum class sizes of 36, UFV offered a welcome alternative to her previous experiences at large institutions with overflowing lecture halls.

“It’s our goal to provide the best undergraduate education in Canada,” says Brealey. “To achieve this, we are committed to identifying and using best teaching practices, and to being innovative, entrepreneurial and accountable.” Brealey, who shares responsibility for HR with Dianne Hicks, Director, Human Resources and Staff Relations, notes that UFV recently ear-marked $1.2 million for innovative teaching strategies.

Community-focused research also plays a significant role at UFV. Newman’s investigative work includes aspects of food security, including the tensions between agriculture and suburban growth in areas like the Fraser Valley. That scholarly pursuit meshes with another of the university’s core values — serving the needs of the surrounding communities.

UFV’s progressive, collegial and supportive culture has contributed to a collaborative community of faculty and staff, says Brealey. “That feeling of being part of a family has been there since our old college days,” he adds.

Newman agrees: “There’s a real sense that we’re all working together to achieve the university’s goals.” C

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