University of Chicago

  www.uchicago.edu
  www.uchicago.edu

University of Chicago Reviews

Updated November 10, 2014
Updated November 10, 2014
354 Reviews
3.9
354 Reviews
Rating Trends

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Robert J. Zimmer
26 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The University offers good benefits and a great work atmosphere (in 27 reviews)

  • Good benefits and reasonable work-life balance, if you want it (in 11 reviews)


Cons
  • Not enough room for advancement (in 5 reviews)

  • Senior management is allergic to responsibility, yet repressive of initiative (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

30 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Operations and Capital Projects Teams Need Better Leadership!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at University of Chicago full-time

    Pros

    Work-Life Balance
    Benefits are good
    Near public transportation

    Cons

    Ethics - Leadership allows unethical behavior from Directors and above and hides their bad behavior
    Operations Team is not in alignment with the values of the University
    Capital Project Team and Operations are not in alignment
    Reports of Discrimination and Retaliation are frequent in these department
    Yearly increases are minimal
    Extremely political
    Safety between campus and Harper Court is concerning.\

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be true to the values and behaviors of the University. Treat employees respectfully and work on being ethical from the top down. Develop effective Leaders and get away from the gossip meaningless discussions. Truly embrace a more diverse leadership team. The University needs to take a closer look at these two teams and the Leaders that they have in place. There are some very disturbing things going on within the departments.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Analyst

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Accountant in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Accountant in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at University of Chicago full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Location, Co-workers, Cafeteria, Parking, Nothing else

    Cons

    Everything else from the Salary on up

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your employees like you would expect to be treated.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 4 people found this helpful  

    UChicago Alumni Relations and Development: Deeply Flawed

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at University of Chicago full-time

    Pros

    The University's core mission is unimpeachably good, and it's a pleasure supporting the work of so many stupendously brilliant students and faculty members. Full-time staff members also enjoy generous vacation packages, even if it's difficult to take advantage of them due to uncompetitive pay, and some teams are happy to accommodate working from home.

    Cons

    Note: Some of the problems identified below, especially those relating to cronyism, apply more so to some teams than others.

    An outrageous, unchecked compensation structure funnels eye-popping raises and bonuses to top-level administrators at the expense of meaningful opportunities for upward remunerative and titular mobility for staff members. Turnover among talented workers is therefore high (especially for a large and putatively "mature" organization that should have clear career trajectories), and the absence of qualified meritocrats, particularly at the managerial level, allows sycophants, petty intraoffice politickers, and cronies to thrive and seize the few mechanisms for upward movement that do exist, thereby perpetuating a vicious cycle.

    Making things worse, the simultaneous threat of sudden restructures, the only mechanism available for rapid personnel changes, sows anxiety and encourages self-preservation over cooperation. The cliques and endemic siloing consequent to these structural and procedural defects effectively undermine most interdepartmental initiatives, which frequently devolve into office partisans jockeying for the biggest seat at the table instead of submitting to a sane, coherent strategy. This is particularly troubling as the University lurches closer to the next campaign. Were it not for an abundance of affluent, generous alumni and tireless work of small contingents of talented, resourceful, and extraordinarily patient individuals, the whole enterprise would surely buckle and crack under its own weight.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    A swift, merciless scouring of upper management would be satisfying, but the problems cited can be more easily remedied by installing effective oversight of and checks on administrative compensation and rational, fair, and transparent avenues for meritocratic upward mobility for staff members. Firings should be streamlined in order to dislodge unprofessional sinecures, and a select few politickers and empire-builders must be brought in line or be unceremoniously jettisoned.

    If such measures are too drastic, then upper management can at least take a tiny fraction of the $500M raised in FY14 and put it toward substantive raises or bonuses. For instance, a $10K bonus for everyone at ARD for this record fundraising year would only cost around $4M, which is a drop in the bucket and would VASTLY improve staff morale, motivating them to raise even more money in the years to follow. Until the University does right by its non-managerial staff, it will continue to hobble along from one near-crisis to the next.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 4 people found this helpful  

    Toxic- It's not just a Britney Spears song.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Director Development in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Assistant Director Development in Chicago, IL

    I worked at University of Chicago full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Relationships with peers tend to become very strong, as many times we have had to rely heavily on one another to complete tasks and projects- which tend to come down with pressure and very last-minute.

    I have made friendships with co-workers that I treasure and who have understood how difficult working at UChicago has been.

    UChicago looks nice on a resume- but was not worth it in exchange for the deplorable working environment.

    Cons

    I like to consider myself a true optimist- but this is the absolute worst working environment I've ever been in. I almost don't know where to begin...

    Advancement opportunities are rare, and promotions have been given to those people who (among other things) verbally abuse their coworkers and have been documented incidents during my time there. For a promotion, the worker is almost always a white male (which seems to contradict the "diverse working environment" UChicago likes to tout) and appears to always have an unusually close relationship with their boss. In other words, the "yes" man is alive and well in this office.

    The actual team dynamic is disastrous. Micro-management is considered effective management, and I (along with my coworkers) were not trusted to make any type of decisions over programming whatsoever. Ironically, mistakes or failures would then be attributed to the same staff who did not have any control/decision making over those processes to begin with. While HR is aware of team issues and the horrible morale, no steps have been taken to address the situation- and supervisors have never openly recognized it with staff.

    Trust between staff and management is non-existent. I have been made aware of examples when my supervisor has given me directions (which I had in handwriting from them), and then in my following through on those directions, denied any involvement (and blamed me) to those higher-up when it became a problem. "Throwing Under the Bus" could be an Olympic sport- and my career at UChicago suffered when I refused to participate (along with some of my coworkers). Staff are very rarely, if ever, thanked for their job. While it seems small, just knowing that someone/anyone recognized my work would have really made a difference in how I felt about my job there.

    Any type of disagreement/criticism with management is severely frowned upon- there have been meetings where people have been expressly asked not to bring any of their issues/concerns to management as they will not be considered (for being too "negative" in nature). However, a condescending tone with staff is a hallmark of the office culture. The irony.

    For a prestigious university with such a hefty endowment (approx. $6.67 billion dollars), as well as the pressure of hitting high goals (with an understaffed team), compensation is significantly less than at local/peer institutions. If you're in development and are looking for competitive pay, you will not find it at UChicago.

    Underneath the shiny veneer of our logo, the University of Chicago has proven to me that no matter what your non-profit status is or how altruistic your mission statement may be, it exists as a quagmire of the worst aspects of a job. Arrogance, favoritism, sexism, duplicity and opportunism lives within the walls of their development offices.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You don't deserve advice.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Surprisingly corporate atmosphere

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Researcher in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Researcher in Chicago, IL

    I worked at University of Chicago full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    You are working with some of the most intelligent people in the world in one of the top research institutions in the country.

    Cons

    Especially given the current funding climate, there is an incredible pressure to produce data and the climate is surprisingly corporate - but without the monetary rewards and consistent 9-5 schedule that would be found in industry.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There was insufficient communication between the management and workers in my case. Many PIs have little to no practical leadership experience other than managing a lab. Obviously the environment in each lab may differ, and many PIs are natural-born leaders, but in my case it really showed.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    i worked in a fast paced environment that was both challenging and exciting with a touch competativeness

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Patient Service Coordinator
    Former Employee - Patient Service Coordinator

    I worked at University of Chicago full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    the u of c is a learning experience that sticks with you for a lifetime. the people are hardworking and the benefits are good

    Cons

    not always having the supplies you need to do a good job. it makes the patients suffer needlessly. trying to assist them could result in corrective action

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Managers should listen to the employees more about issues concerning the patients and the non medical care

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Disappointing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Nurse
    Former Employee - Nurse

    I worked at University of Chicago full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    HR has a great new employee orientation but there is no clear instructions on the next steps in orientation. Many employees are pleasant and helpful. The Red Coats are the best. There are experts in problem solving, process improvement, six sigma, and LEAN that are very effective,

    Cons

    In my experience, EPIC orientation was presented too quickly because many already familiar wanted to leave early. Courses should be designed to meet learning needs of least knowledgeable. Nursing orientation was not helpful or effective due to long narrow room with only a small screen up front and no sound system. Waste of time. Department orientation was not existent. Employees were expected to learn on their own without any guidance on what it is that they need to learn. Then chastised for not guessing correctly. Hospital culture is aimed at only having employees in their 20's and 30's. They want a young employee hospital appearance. It is commonly known that once an employee is in their 50's they are "pushed " until they do resign. Hiring practices avoid hiring middle aged and older applicants. If a person over 50 is hired, they are expected to perform as a 20 year old. There is no appreciation for their advanced knowledge, ideas for improvement and changes, or lessons learned through actual experience. There is a bigotry against caucasians employees. There is acceptance of those who do not speak english clearly and fluently and cannot write or produce work using correct english grammar. If someone tries to correct the written policies, education handouts, slide presentations, etc using correct english grammar they are accused of being prejudiced and culturally insensitive .It is commonly known that supervisors with narcissistic personality disorders are plentiful, encouraged and rewarded for this destructive behavior. These same supervisors are allowed to make derogatory statements to employees that violate federal laws regarding age discrimination and ADA accommodations. Some departments have tried to address this problem by having "interventions" with the supervisors..HR was not helpful when presented with some of this information. HR appeared aware but other than listening did not make any move to help. If you are in a union it might be better.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You know what supervisors this is speaking about. Do somethings about it. Clean house no matter how much money and fame those supervisors bring to the university and hospital. You are allowing unethical practices to continue and proliferate. This is destroying employee lives and careers. Shame on you.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great school, clueless management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I worked at University of Chicago full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Looks good on a resume. They have money to burn,and do, except on staff members.

    Cons

    Micromanaging drones ruin a potential nirvana. Treat non-academic staff as serfs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get together with your #1 school of business to learn how to run a university

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Stagnant

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Clerical in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Clerical in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at University of Chicago part-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Benefits, time-off, and no real dress code

    Cons

    Only certain people fit the criteria of moving up and I don't seem ti fit the shade. It does not have to do with ability or willingness.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop the discrimination and give everyone a chance that they have earned and deserved.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    If you're ok with following the status quo and kiss up to management you'll do fine.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Business Manager in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Business Manager in Chicago, IL

    I worked at University of Chicago full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    All things considered, the benefits package is spectacular

    Cons

    It wasn't a place that welcomed change and innovation. New ideas were constantly rejected and I never felt like I could really contribute to my team. Promotions were solely based on how much management liked you, not merit, which became incredibly frustrating. Management also isn't the best at fostering professional development. I couldn't grow the way I wanted to grow here.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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