Paul L. Caron

Friday, September 25, 2020

Faculty Struggle With Burnout During COVID-19

Inside Higher Ed, Faculty Struggle With Burnout:

"Faculty burnout -- exacerbated by pandemic-related stressors, absent childcare and school, and unrelenting or even accelerating work expectations from colleagues -- poses real and serious risk for mental health challenges of unprecedented scope," said June Gruber, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Gruber co-wrote a column for Science last month saying that academe needs a "reality check" regarding expectations for faculty this semester. ...

Lisa Jaremka, assistant professor of social-health psychology at the University of Delaware, and co-author of a recent paper on "common academic experiences no one talks about" -- including burnout -- also said that the main consequences of burnout include mental health issues. Disillusionment with work is another danger.

Jaremka experienced burnout as a graduate student and again as an assistant professor, but she said last week that "I would absolutely expect that burnout is worse during the pandemic, particularly for women with school-aged children." ...

According to the World Health Organization, which includes the occupational phenomenon in its International Classification of Diseases, burnout is a "syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed." The primary symptoms are feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental "distance" from or cynicism and negativity toward one's job, and reduced professional efficacy. ...

Amelia Nagoski, associate professor and coordinator of music at Western New England University and co-author of Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, said the coronavirus pandemic is a “perfect storm for professor burnout,” as it presents many new stressors without taking any old stressors away. Professors are being asked to shift course content online to new platforms and learn new technologies, avoid getting sick, following changing health research and guidance, and deal with their children’s own distance learning.

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Suck it up buttercups. Welcome to the real world.

Posted by: Mike Constitution | Sep 26, 2020 6:20:19 AM

Why is this faculty specific? Is it just the group they are choosing to study or do they think these things only affect faculty members? What about those trying to make sure there are students to be taught in the first place?

Posted by: anonymous | Sep 28, 2020 8:20:00 AM