Celebrating faculty and staff accomplishments represents a key value in fostering a culture of belongingness at Bergen.

PARAMUS, N.J. – For the second consecutive year, Bergen Community College has earned a spot on Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine’s “Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges.” Only 18 institutions from across the country earned the designation. Bergen President Eric M. Friedman, Ph.D., said creating a culture of belongingness where faculty and staff feel welcome and valued represents a strategic priority.

“In order to live our mission of providing transformative educational experiences for our community, we must first offer our faculty and staff a responsive, collaborative and caring professional environment that allows them to thrive,” he said. “I am very proud that Bergen has earned the ‘Most Promising Places to Work’ award that – for the second year in a row – recognizes our commitment to fostering this type of campus culture.”

Focusing on workplace diversity, staffing practices and work environment, the Diverse magazine research team partnered with the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) to solicit responses from the near-350 NISOD-member community colleges. Researchers used a web-based survey to examine categories such as family friendliness, salary/benefits and professional development opportunities to determine honorees. The magazine will publish the full list in the May 23 edition of the publication and recognize winners at NISOD’s annual meeting from May 25 to 28 in Austin, Texas.

Bergen’s focus on creating an environment of belongingness has taken many forms under President Friedman, now in his fourth year at the College. When combined with Bergen’s comprehensive benefits and compensation packages enjoyed by faculty and staff that include generous health, wellness and tuition reimbursement programs, the College has become a national model for faculty and staff support according to Diverse magazine. Among the College’s initiatives:

  • Bergen launched a President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that has sponsored projects such as a collegewide climate survey to uncover how the institution could further enhance its inclusivity efforts.
  • The president also renewed the College’s commitment to shared governance and collaborating with stakeholders. These efforts have helped drive projects such as revised mission, vision, values and goals and the preparation for the upcoming Middle States Commission on Higher Education accreditation evaluation.
  • Finally, Bergen’s physical campus has undergone a transformation that promotes inclusivity, comfort and care through creating curated office environments and workspaces, improving technology resources and offering new hospitality options.

The “Most Promising” research study began in 2014 jointly commissioned by NISOD, a community college professional development organization, and Diverse magazine, which has covered minority issues in higher education since 1984.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

# # #