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Project Title:Creating an Employee Enrichment Program (At No Cost)Institution Name:California State University, Northridge Innovation Category:Innovative Policies and Practices Project Director:Debra Rozanski, Manager, Human ResourcesContact Information:(818) 677-2681, debra.rozanski@csun.eduWebsite:http://www-admn.csun.edu/ohrs/eap
Project Description:

Promote employee engagement during a long period of financial constraints.  

California State University, Northridge marshaled internal faculty and staff support to offer programming that has become known as the “Community of Caring.” Over the past four years the university has offered innovative programs and services that emphasize the well-being of faculty and staff (emotionally, physically, and financially). There is no fee for participation. Professionals within the community provide services for free to support their colleagues during this difficult financial period. Current classes include: a series on diet and nutrition, and programs on procrastination, forgiveness, positive self, resiliency, and surviving the holiday blues. In addition, volunteers lead regular mindfulness sessions, yoga classes, book discussions, and meditation/relaxation programs. Additionally, local non-profit and government agencies provide ongoing services and special events at no cost.

  • On-site free classes, seminars, and discussion groups open to all faculty and staff (offered during regular business hours and during scheduled lunch periods.)
  • Web-based Resources Directory (community resources and wellness opportunities available on campus).
  • Self help library.
Objectives:
  • Build a “Community of Caring” by bringing faculty and staff from a variety of colleges and administrative divisions together to discuss issues of common interest. Increase group cohesiveness and improve morale and engagement within the campus community.
  • Promote an environment that supports a healthy lifestyle.
  • Demonstrate support for the well-being of faculty and staff and their families during a period when funds are not available for salary increases.
  • Educate faculty and staff on the resources available to them in the local community.
Outcomes:The programs have been extremely well received. In 2010-2011, programs were offered and over 2,900 people participated. Program ratings reveal that participants enjoyed the programs and they met their needs. The biggest benefit of the program is that it has brought faculty and staff from a variety of areas together as members of a common community. More people know each other now and they are operating as a supportive community for their fellow participants. 
Challenges/Problems Encountered:

A volunteer program of this type requires management support. In our experience, the President, Provost, and Vice Presidents have been very supportive of the program and its philosophy and of the time required for faculty and staff to attend sessions.

To be successful, a campus needs a management champion and a well-connected and energetic coordinator to market the program and to recruit new programs and presenters.  Additionally, the campus culture needs to be consistent with this type of program so that it is viewed as a genuine reflection of the campus culture.

Evaluation Approach:
  • Attendance
  • Feedback on session evaluations
  • Desire of new presenters to get into the program to be a part of the “Community of Caring”
Potential for Replication:Excellent. No cost but it will require the commitment of a qualified staff member.
Additional Resources:See the California State University, Northridge Enrichment Programming and Employee Assistance web site at: http://www-admn.csun.edu/ohrs/eap/
CEO-to-CEO Contact:Dianne F. Harrison , Presidentdianne.harrison@csun.edu
(818) 677-2121
Date Published: Tuesday, November 15, 2011