Quality of Work Life

Employees of George Mason University

Quality of Work Life


President Alan G. Merten's First Quality of Work Life Task Force

In November 1999, President Merten created the "Quality of Work Life" task force to address and make recommendations regarding the quality of work life for all George Mason University employees. This group of fourteen faculty and staff - including the chairs of the Staff and Faculty Senates, and faculty specializing in organizational psychology - spent 18 months reviewing institutional policy, developing and distributing two university-wide surveys, and analyzing survey results. Through the survey and through convening a dozen open discussion sessions, the QWL Task Force ultimately identified 70 recommendations, which they forwarded to the President and the university in March 2001.

The first Task Force was co-chaired by the Vice President for University Life and the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources. Other members included Helen Ackerman, Ida Barbour, Don Boileau, Lou Buffardi, Ken Bumgarner, Ellen Dawson, Karen Gentemann, Tom Hennessey, Scott Keeter, Richard Klimoski, Wendy Payton, Karen Rosenblum (co-chair), and Linda Westphal (co-chair).

In appointing the Task Force, the President highlighted the relationship between the delivery of our educational mission and the working experience of all the university's employees. Asking the Task Force to assess current institutional practices and make recommendations for improvement, he stressed: "As advisors to the region's business sector on various matters and one of the region's largest employers, we have a double responsibility to be proactive on quality-of-life and quality-of-work issues. Help us focus our attention on what we as an institution might do to be a world class employer."

The task force considered the feedback from the discussion sessions a critical element in the recommendations that were made public and forwarded to the President and Executive Council that year. In the final recommendations released March 14, 2001, the task force emphasized “three things that most struck us in our foray into work life at George Mason”:

  • The level of job satisfaction among Mason employees is reasonably high.

  • The bulk of George Mason employees describe themselves as overworked.

  • Across all employment categories employees express a deep desire for recognition, whether informally from supervisors or more concretely through awards programs.

Subsequent surveys were conducted in 2003 and 2009. All of the surveys were developed in an effort to gather the broadest possible input from members of our community and to make sure that the task force's recommendations were consistent with community needs. The full reports of the research findings and additional summaries of survey results are archived on this website.