The NCCI/ModernThink Innovation Index

As I have shared elsewhere, six NCCI members have been recognized by The Chronicle of Higher Education as 2016 Great Colleges to Work For®. ModernThink, a valued partner of NCCI, administers the assessment annually in partnership with the Chronicle of Higher Education.

ModernThink and NCCI are leveraging the Great Colleges to Work For® data to explore a critical question: What are the organizational traits that promote a culture of innovation? Once identified, our hope is that these traits can be measured, analyzed, and most importantly, leveraged to help our institutions work more efficiently and effectively.

Those of you who were able to join us at the 2016 Annual Conference in Montreal learned about this Innovation Index at a well-received plenary by Richard Boyer, Managing Partner of ModernThink, and Catherine Lilly, Senior Advisor to the Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officers at the University of Michigan and a past NCCI President. The Innovation Index is a group of statements from the ModernThink Higher Education Insight Survey© that, when viewed together as a construct, could provide insight into cultures that support continuous improvement and innovation. A follow-up presentation – with additional data, hopefully from your institution – will be featured at the NCCI Annual Conference in Minneapolis in July 2017.

So, now is your chance to contribute to this important research. I encourage all NCCI member institutions to consider participating in the 2017 Great Colleges To Work For® program.  The program is free, and is the largest and most comprehensive workplace study in higher education.  Registration is currently underway.

ModernThink administers the survey to a random sample of faculty and staff based on the size of institution.  Participating institutions receive three free reports:

  • Overall Survey Results Report (a one-page graphical summary covering all 15 survey themes and comparisons of your institution’s results against the Honor Roll as well as Carnegie Classification)
  • Overall Survey Results by Job Category Report (a one page graphical summary that shows overall positive responses broken out by Administration, Faculty, Exempt Professional Staff, and Non-Exempt Professional Staff for each of the 15 themes)
  • Higher Education Workplace Trend Summary (a 20-25 page summary of aggregate data collected from the Institutional Questionnaire© (IQ).

The deadline to register is February 13, 2017.  The survey will be administered by ModernThink from March 13th through April 7th.  The free participation reports will be sent the week of July 31st.

In addition to assisting with NCCI and ModernThink’s ongoing Innovation Index research, your institution could gain valuable exposure by being cited in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s July Academic Workplace supplement as being a Great College to Work For.  Survey data can enhance strategic planning and improve awareness and outcomes by providing valuable metrics for comparisons and benchmarks.

Please note that institutions outside of the US are encouraged to participate as well! The institution will receive the free reports and the data will contribute to the Innovation Index research.  Due to program guidelines, only US institutions can be considered for recognition within the Chronicle’s Academic Supplement.  Also note that there are opportunities for additional customizations within the program for an additional cost, such as surveying your entire employee population, or customizing demographics or statements. Contact Suzi Schmittlein at or call 302.764.4477 for more details.

If you would not be the primary decision-maker regarding this program, you can be helpful by contacting your CHRO or IR personnel and advocating your institution’s participation.  This is not a “list program.”  Participating institutions are only revealed if recognized.

For more information about Great Colleges to Work For®, please explore the website at

To register, go to