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The Scientist Names Best Places to Work
October 5 , 2006

Calvin College has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Academia by The Scientist , a magazine for the life sciences now in its 21st year.

Survey results were published in the just-released October issue of The Scientist.

This is the fourth annual survey by The Scientist and is based on responses from more than 1,600 academics around the world. Based on those survey results the magazine named 15 top places to work in the U.S. and 15 best international workplaces for scientists.

Top 15 US Institutions

  • St. Jude Children's Hospital, Memphis
  • The J. David Gladstone Institutes, San Francisco
  • Ohio State, Columbus
  • Vanderbilt, Nashville, TN
  • Calvin College, Grand Rapids
  • Trudeau Institute, Saranac Lake, NY
  • Michigan State, East Lansing
  • Florida, Gainesville
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia
  • National Institutes of Health, Bethesda/Rockville, MD
  • Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
  • University of Delaware, Newark, DE
  • Stanford, Stanford, CA
  • Wayne State, Detroit, MI
  • Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, MO

The top U.S. institution for 2006 is St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.

Calvin was fifth among U.S. academic institutions, while Michigan State University, located just an hour east of Calvin, was seventh and Wayne State University, about two hours east of Calvin in Detroit, was 14th.

Survey respondents were asked to assess their working conditions and environments by indicating their level of agreement with 39 criteria in eight different areas: job satisfaction, peers, infrastructure and environment, research resources, pay, management and policies, teaching and mentoring, and tenure.

The Scientist notes that for the second year in a row survey respondents said the number-one factor in determining workplace satisfaction is personal fulfillment. Peer relations, institutional management and tenure procedures also ranked among the most important factors. Institutions earning high marks in those categories took this year's top honors.

"We're proud to be able to provide this information to our readers year after year," says The Scientist publisher Richard Gallagher. "It's important for scientists to be able to tell their peers exactly how they feel about where they work."

Longtime Calvin biology professor David DeHeer says Calvin brings together motivated, hard-working students and top teachers in the contemporary, up-to-date facilities that scientists need for education and research.

"Calvin," he says, "provides a vibrant learning environment in which curiosity, investigation into real-world problems, and research activity, often collaborative, flourish. But the greatest satisfaction comes from working with students and seeing these young scientists become energized by the discovery process. All of this makes Calvin a dynamic workplace."

Indeed science education at Calvin is based on the idea that students learn science best by participating in research. Also, the majority of Calvin science faculty have on-going, mostly externally funded research programs, partly because they provide continual opportunities for mentoring student researchers and a wealth of examples for classroom use.

In addition at any given time about a dozen Calvin students work part-time in Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) labs where a variety of Calvin faculty also have on-going research collaborations.