Posts Tagged ‘burnout’

Avoiding Burnout

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

A new article in the journal Educational Research synthesizes studies of emotional exhaustion among faculty members in higher education. “Burnout in University Teaching Staff: A Systematic Literature Review” finds that younger faculty and those with more exposure to trainees suffer greater rates of burnout.

The study does not explore ways to prevent stress from building up, but suggests that mentoring and stress relief activities might help. Allowing for sabbaticals is another possible solution. Taking time to explore a new area or rekindle an old passion will refresh a faculty member when he or she returns to teaching.

Beating Burnout

Monday, June 21st, 2010

You’ve heard of absenteeism as a problem in the workforce, but what about “presenteeism?” For her dissertation in health management, Janie Crosmer surveyed faculty in universities across the country about their job performance. She found that many show up for work, but do not really feel engaged. They are present, but they are burned out.

This is more serious than playing Solitaire on the office computer. These faculty teach classes, advise students, and participate in governance without much thought. Research and education require constant self-evaluation and improvement, so these faculty members are not maximizing their potential.

Dr. Crosmer’s study suggests making university work more collaborative with professors filling in for each other when one is feeling swamped. The incentives for academic achievement do no seem to favor this arrangement. One cheap way to combat burnout is to make the workplace more enjoyable. Leadership can make humor and camaraderie more acceptable in a department without sacrificing intellectual quality.