Here at UMass Lowell, we work to ensure that people of all backgrounds have the opportunity to receive an education and work in an inclusive and supportive environment. This work is in line with some of our guiding principles, such as reducing poverty and inequality. Our AASHE STARS Reporting outlines many of the ways in which we are working to achieve this goal for our students and employees.
90.3% of employees make above a living wage ($18.72/hr as of Feb. 2019), and 100% of employees of contractors for regular and ongoing projects make above a living wage. The lowest-paid full time employees at UMass Lowell make 175% of the living wage.
Benefited employees (both full-time and part-time) receive benefits available through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Group Insurance Commission for their health, life and disability insurance. Retirement benefits are available through the State Employees Retirement System. There is also a choice of another retirement plan known as the Optional Retirement Program for all benefited employees (with the exception of those in the 3 classified unions –Teamsters, Maintenance & Trades and Clerical, as well as the Post Doctoral Research Associates).
In addition, benefited employees are eligible for paid time off benefits such as holidays, sick, vacation and personal days (with the exception of most faculty who are eligible only for sick time but do not work summers). Dental benefits are available through the union or by a non-union welfare trust.
Assessing Employee Satisfaction
UMass Lowell has not undertaken a formal survey for evaluating employee satisfaction and engagement since 2012, however, the University feels strongly that informal measures are in place that allow employees to provide feedback on these areas. In some instances the feedback is anonymous, but the Department of Human Resources strives to work with other Departments and groups across campus to create a safe environment where all employees feel that their feedback is heard, valued, and considered.
Most importantly, this is an integral part of the mandatory annual Performance Management process for all UMass Lowell employees.
Student-Focused Wellness Programs
The Counseling Center is a department within the Health and Wellness Cluster, under the Student Affairs Division. Here, we are committed to caring for the student community of UMass Lowell and its emotional and mental health. Academic success is often connected to our emotional well-being and self-esteem. This is why we focus on supporting our students in a manner that creates an atmosphere more cohesive for academic and personal growth. Our counselors provide crisis intervention, assessment, referrals and individual counseling for all eligible students.
UMass Lowell Campus Recreation is committed to excellence in supporting the development of healthier and happier lifestyles. Through experiential education we strive to teach students the importance of exercise and recreational activities in preparation for a productive, balanced and rewarding life. In addition to our fitness center, group fitness schedule and personal training options; multiple wellness programs will be offered through out the year. Our Fitness and Wellness team takes pride in helping as many students, faculty, staff, and members as possible reach their wellness goals. Our semi-annual stress relief day, partnered with Student Health Services, will help you relieve stress prior to finals. Incentive programs will provide participants motivation to stay on track. Our spring semester 12-week Commit To Be Fit program can help you attain any fitness or wellness goal you have; whether it is to lose weight, gain strength, or decrease your 5K run time. The programs are designed to help participants reach their own goals and our staff is here to help along the way.
Additionally, following a student-driven campaign led by the Student Government Association, UMass Lowell is now a smoke and tobacco-free campus. To aid students, faculty and staff in a tobacco-free lifestyle, UMass Lowell, in partnership with Lowell General Hospital, offers a free smoking cessation program.
The Student Resource Security and Success Strategic Infusion Team has also undertaken several new initiatives to address issues students have beyond food and toiletries. Here are some initiatives from 2019 that they have been working on!
- They have been working with employers who recruit at the Career Fairs and other events and ask them to donate food or school supplies; which has given them the ability to give notebooks, pens, highlighters, and backpacks to students who cannot afford these basic items.
- They coupled with Sustainability this year to launch a program called “Grad Bag” via the Sustainable Move Out Program. Through this program residence hall items that would have been discarded were collected, cleaned, and repackaged. Now students who arrive to campus with nothing, or who are homeless and have no means to “outfit” their residence hall room, are given a bag of bed linens, a comforter, clothing hangers, a wastebasket, and other items that make them feel more like other students. This program will continue through the next year and beyond.
- They are working with Community Teamwork Incorporated in Downtown Lowell to provide services to students who need assistance transitioning from college living to apartment life (both in tenant knowledge and financial assistance), financial literacy programs, connections to mental health and physical health services, and other necessary pathways to be successful while at University and after.
- They are working with an off-campus thrift shop who will outfit low-income female students for interviews or a new job; often these students do not have the means to dress for success and this initiative will take that worry away. We are investigating similar avenues to assist male students.
- They are purchasing sports jackets and regular jackets, as well as simple accessories for men and women who just need an extra piece of clothing to compliment something they own for a new job or interview.
- They are working with the Department of Higher Education on an initiative to provide housing and services to homeless students in a pilot program. Currently there are 20 students in the state of MA at state universities, community colleges, and our campus involved in the project. Governor Baker announced this program two weeks ago after meeting with the students selected for the pilot program and was moved by their stories.
- They are launching a study to assess the needs of our students in the areas of food, clothing, technology, etc. This will help provide us direction for the coming year.
Employee-Focused Wellness Programs
The Healthy Workplace Committee is a collaboration between the University of Massachusetts Lowell Human Resources and Equal Opportunity & Outreach, Environmental and Emergency Management, and the Labor Unit leaders on campus. The Committee is convened to provide guidance and advice around issues related to University employee health and safety policies, programs, and practices. The Committee’s overarching goals are preventing, tracking and remedying workplace hazards and providing a workplace environment that promotes overall health and well-being.
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a UMass Lowell-sponsored program to provide employees with confidential assistance with stress, substance abuse, family concerns and other personal problems. LifeScope is the name of the program and it is managed by E4 Health with offices in Shrewsbury, Mass.
These benefits are confidential and are available to all benefited faculty and staff, household members of faculty and staff (including roommates) and any immediate family member of faculty and staff who is impacted by the challenges facing the immediate family member. Immediate family members include parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and children.
Workplace Health & Safety
There were only 3 recordable workplace injuries and occupational disease cases in FY18, which amounts to 0.17 workplace injuries and occupational disease cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. This is a 91.55% reduction in workplace injuries and occupational disease cases per FTE employee from baseline year of 2011!