In late February, Christianity Today announced the results of the first Best Christian Places to Work survey, a landmark study commissioned by CT and administered by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute. It is the largest survey ever conducted on the attitudes of employees at Christian workplaces, with more than 8,500 respondents across a range of industries.

A panel of independent judges selected four companies in ten categories for special recognition. For two weeks CT is saluting the first place organizations in each category.

Large Colleges, Universities, & Seminaries

Whitworth College
Spokane, Washington

Whitworth College enrolls nearly 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students. And president Bill Robinson knows nearly all of them. "Bill is amazing," says Greg Orwig, director of communications. "The fact that he can call everyone by name and knows something about their story sends a powerful message."

Robinson says that he has an "infectious love for the students." This is just one of the qualities that endears Whitworth's president to his employees, who frequently cite him as being a key reason that Whitworth is a great place to work. In addition to his devotion to students, he is "possibly the least pretentious person in his position that I know," says Orwig. "You'll often find him in his office in sweats and a T-shirt."

Robinson says that his informal style is a reflection of just one way that he strives to create an atmosphere of openness on the Whitworth campus. He makes it a habit to wander into the dining hall and sit with students, unannounced, as well as to visit regularly with his faculty and staff.

"I am authentically interested in their perspective on how we should be operating," he says. He also strives to keep the communication lines open from his office to the campus, because he doesn't "buy into the 'they don't need to know' attitude."

Since Robinson's arrival, enrollment, retention, and graduation rates at the college have all increased. But he has a different measure for how he evaluates his own success: "I am trying to lead 'from amongst,' using John 1:14 as my concept of leadership. I hope it can be said of me that I dwelt among the people, bringing grace and speaking truth."

Related Elsewhere

Our 40 Best Christian Places to Work articles include:

The 40 Best Christian Places to Work | What makes them so good? (Hint: Not money)
The Complete List & A Closer Look at the Top Finalists | Christianity Today salutes four finalists in ten categories.
Inside CT: Great Places to Work | There is indeed much to praise and imitate in Christian companies.