Stress in Higher Ed

​​This week, I would like to share an article that directly affects SoTL, as well as everything we do as faculty (and humans) - stress. The 2015 paper, "The life of a professor: Stress and coping" starts by sharing the many expectations of a faculty - instruction, preparation, grading, office hours, committee meetings, grant-writing, research, and publishing.

This mixed-method approach included 168 participants from different fields in 31 states and several countries using indirect and direct measures. The research questions were:

(1) What are the primary concerns of professors?

(2) What are the benefits associated with professorship?

(3) How do professors balance their professional and personal lives?

Background data includes:

  • Half of faculty considered leaving due to stress and dislike for their current working conditions (Berrett, 2012);

  • Wilson (2012) revealed that Associate Professors are some of the unhappiest people in higher education due to lack of time and social isolation; and

  • Schuster and Finkelstein (2006) stated that faculty work a minimum of 55 hours a week.

Based upon the findings, the researchers recommend several institutional approaches:

  • Create alternative tenure tracks—one for teaching and one for research;

  • Encourage Professional Development in grant writing, publishing and course-development;

  • Provide, value and reward suitable mentors who have similar backgrounds and interests;

  • Improve the system of incentives and rewards to value all faculty.

Delello, J., McWhorter, R., Marmion, S., Camp, K., Neel, J., Everling, K., & Marzilli, C. (2015). The life of a professor: Stress and coping. Human Resource Development Faculty Publications and Presentations.

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