Helpful Resources

Strategies to Avoid Burnout
This Faculty Focus post suggests six strategies professors can use to avoid burnout: (a) collaborate, (b) practice self-care, (c) collect feedback, (d) say no, (e) continue doing research, and (f) exercise compassion.

Research Brief on Burnout
This 2020 Fidelity Research Brief explores COVID-19’s impact on faculty well-being and career plans. It describes the phenomenon, discusses disparate effects, and focuses of institutional responses.

Ideas for Avoiding Faculty Burnout
In this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, David Gooblar describes burnout among faculty and proposes ways individual faculty members can try to avoid it: (a) take time off, (b) remember that your job is a job, (c) find ways to say no, and (d) choose sleep over extra class-prep time.

Ways Colleges Can Help Faculty Avoid Burnout
In a second Chronicle of Higher education article, David Gooblar goes beyond individual solutions and proposes three strategies universities can adopt to avoid faculty burnout. These include treating adjunct faculty as faculty, providing mental health assistance and creating a culture of wellness, and supporting a family-friendly work environment. ​​​​​​​

Burnout Mitigation Strategies

This Chronicle of Higher Education column on teaching has a discussion of burnout mitigation strategies by Regan A.R. Gurung, executive director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, at Oregon State University. He advised faculty members to protect their personal time and space (and gave examples of how to do that) and to be consciously aware of their mental health. (For more on this topic from Dr. Gurung, see Care in the Academy.)

They Need Us to Be Well

The author of this Chronicle of Higher Education article argued that “social-emotional contagion in the classroom is a demonstrated phenomenon … Instructors and students synchronize their positive and negative emotions as well as their degree of engagement in the material”. The author contended that for the well-being of students, it is important to bring joy to a class and proposed some ways to rekindle the joy of teaching: (a) get some rest; (b) personalize course policies and syllabi to reflect your values; (c) create assignments that you get some satisfaction in evaluating; (d) build moments of excitement, social interaction, and sustainability into a course; and (e) create a teaching and learning commons where instructors and students can interact.

Academic Ghosting

The author of this Chronicle of Higher Education article provided examples of various types of academic ghosting. These included collaborators and colleagues who ceased to respond to emails, search committees that never got back to rejected job applicants, advisors who ignored their mentees, and administrators who ignored adjunct faculty. She argued that this disrespectful and hurtful behavior is prevalent in academics but is especially difficult for the least powerful members of the academic community. She advocated for accountability and creating an environment that is safer and more welcoming to all.

Exploring Faculty Burnout

The authors of this paper published by APA reported that the 2022-23 Healthy Minds Survey found that among university faculty, 64% reported “feeling burned out because of work” either somewhat (30%), to a high degree (19%), or to a very high degree (15%). Burnout was higher among women (69%) and gender minority faculty (71%) than for men (57%). Although 60% of women, 57% of gender minorities, and 65% of men agreed with the assertion, “I achieve a healthy work/life balance,” sizeable proportions reported that they experience stress, (56%) lack of sleep (45%), and anxiety (43%). Additionally,67% said they were satisfied with their job, and 89% said they felt “competent and capable.”