Paul L. Caron

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Faculty Pandemic Stress Is Now Chronic

Inside Higher Ed, Faculty Pandemic Stress Is Now Chronic:

Inside Higher Ed 1The early days of the pandemic took a toll on faculty members, but for many, peak stress is now, according to a new study of faculty mental health from Course Hero. Researchers for the study website surveyed hundreds of faculty members on and off the tenure track, across institution types, this fall. The findings suggest that faculty worries about the pandemic have morphed into chronic stress — with serious implications for professors’ mental health, their students and the profession as COVID-19 drags on.

“I'm not surprised that stress is increasing,” said Karen Costa, a faculty developer specializing in online pedagogy and trauma awareness who viewed Course Hero’s results. “We went into spring with stores of well-being. Those have been spent. Our cars are out of gas and we're now pushing them uphill in a blizzard.”

Perhaps most significantly, more than 40 percent of survey respondents considered leaving their jobs as a result of COVID-19’s impact. Early-career faculty members were most likely to be considering leaving, at 48 percent. ...

Overwhelmingly, professors said the pandemic had made their jobs more difficult, with 54 percent strongly agreeing and 33 percent agreeing. ...

What would improve faculty members’ job satisfaction? Fifty-three percent of the sample said increased compensation. Forty-six said modifications to teaching schedules or loads, while 34 percent cited new technology or better access to technology support. More than a quarter wanted increased staff and teaching assistant support.

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