Date of Award

Fall 8-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Annie Alameda

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan K. Isenberg

Third Advisor

Dr. Kate Tessmer

Abstract

While there was an abundant amount of research supporting the need for and benefits of a workplace health program (WHP), little empirical research existed regarding WHPs in a university setting (Watts, 1992). Compared to other WHP settings, the university setting is unique in that the employee population consists of both faculty and staff, with various work schedules, job responsibilities, and demographics. Universities also provide a unique setting for WHPs due to their access to various internal resources, such as employees with expert knowledge, campus food services, on-site facilities, and students studying health and wellness disciplines (RAND Corporation, 2013). As reported by the National Institute of Health Care Management (NIHCM, 2011), there was a need for more research to build a stronger evidence base for establishment of WHPs, and to identify program components that work best in different types of workplace environments, such as the university setting. The purpose of this study was to conduct an analysis of a Liberal Arts University WHP, to assess employees’ feedback regarding their program participation, or lack thereof, and whether a difference existed between full-time faculty and full-time staff attitudes, awareness, and satisfaction with the WHP (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012b; Hanks et al., 2013). The primary investigator (PI) collected both quantitative and qualitative data through the utilization of an anonymous web-based survey and four focus groups. Quantitative data analysis revealed, that differences did exist, some of which were statistically significant, between the university’s full-time faculty and staff attitudes and awareness. Furthermore, the quantitative data revealed minimal differences in regards to faculty and staff satisfaction with the WHP. Qualitative data presented three emerging iv themes: administration/supervisor support, defining the purpose of the WHP, and effective communication and marketing. Differences in faculty and staff attitudes towards and awareness of the WHP indicated a need for more effective communication and increased leadership support of the WHP. WHP practitioners may benefit from future research that scientifically investigates how to create or increase WHP participation and engagement. Such assessments are vital to the ongoing evaluation of WHPs, and are a crucial component to chronic disease management efforts in the U.S. (Sorensen & Barbeau, 2004).

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