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Satisfaction is an elusive concept. Some schools and workplaces may assume their students and employees are satisfied because those at the top of the administrative ladder don’t hear much grumbling. Those supervisors may be right, or maybe they’re just not listening. Or, maybe those below them fear reprisal for honest feedback.

Happily, Maranatha is listening.

Students and employees have recently completed satisfaction surveys, and the responses were encouraging. Maranatha was nominated by Humanities Department Chair Jeffrey Miller for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Top Workplaces section. When the newspaper published that section May 22, the College ranked No. 21 among 70 southeast Wisconsin midsize businesses that completed the survey process.

“On one hand, it is humbling,” Maranatha President Dr. Marty Marriott said. “On the other, for those of us who serve here, it’s not surprising.

“Maranatha is a family of dedicated Christian servants who share the values of honesty, integrity, and industry that not only advance the College mission, but also create a healthy workplace environment.”

Miller’s nomination led to all full-time College employees receiving online survey forms. Journal-Sentinel section editor Bob Helbig said more than 64,000 workers from 204 southeast Wisconsin businesses completed the anonymous surveys, administered by Philadelphia-based WorkplaceDynamics. Maranatha Chief Operations Officer Dr. Darryl Sturgill said 171 of 181 employees (95 percent) responded—well above the average response rate of 60-to-70 percent.

Employees ranked Maranatha highest in two categories, Direction and Managers. Those rankings indicate employee satisfaction with the future direction of the company and confidence in its leadership. Sturgill said the College ranked No. 3 among all midsize businesses surveyed in satisfaction with managerial leadership.

The paper published some employee comments. One wrote, “I am able to fulfill my calling in an environment that shares my values, and I have the opportunity to fully utilize all of my interests and abilities.”

Students expressed a similar degree of satisfaction in several recent surveys.

The Student Satisfaction Index and Student Satisfaction Inventory were both compiled by Noel-Levitz Higher Education Consultants, which received more than 804,000 responses from 1,130 colleges over a three-year span. The surveys measure the satisfaction and priorities of students on a wide range of issues related to college life and learning. Maranatha added supplemental questions concerning spiritual emphasis.

The Student Satisfaction Index showed Maranatha ranking well ahead of the national average in vital categories. Maranatha was 7 percent higher than the national average in “campus climate,” 10 percent ahead in “student centeredness,” and 11 percent above in “concern for the individual.”

A Student Satisfaction Inventory compiled in the spring of 2010 showed that the three statements in which students most completely expressed their agreement and satisfaction were “I believe God is using Maranatha to prepare me for my future ministry,” “Faculty care about me as an individual,” and “The campus staff are caring and helpful.”

Prospective students can certainly sense when they are in a positive place, and that fact is often reflected in their college choice. A survey of new students in the fall of 2011 showed that more picked Maranatha for its spiritual atmosphere than any other factor.

A campus visit was the No. 1 factor among all recruiting activities in helping shape that decision, and a Maranatha student was second only to parents among those influencing the college choice. As for former students, Maranatha’s Alumni Office receives frequent correspondence from graduates expressing gratitude for their excellent educational experience.

“My years at Maranatha were life-changing years,” said Amy Brundage (’10), who now teaches missionary children in Peru. “It was during that time that God worked in my life in many ways, including in missions, to bring me where I am today. I love Maranatha and thank the Lord for all of you who serve there.”