Fanning the Flames: Online Faculty Burnout
Concurrent Session 6
This conversation explores how faculty burnout impacts faculty and organizations, by basing a discussion on key research findings and sharing ideas on how different institutions are, and can, prevent burnout. This space provides an opportunity to start a conversation on an important topic which is often neglected in the academy.
With the dramatic pivot to online learning in Spring 2020, and the realities of shifting from on ground to online modalities for the foreseeable future, compounded with personal and professional pressures, faculty burnout is anticipated to increase dramatically. Currently burnout in faculty members occurs both in the United States and throughout the world. It has been proven that 20% of United States university faculty have burnout, while a study conducted in Brazil shows that over 33% of one public university’s faculty indicate burnout symptoms (Alves et al., 2019; Lackritz, 2004; Padilla & Thompson, 2016).
This conversation explores how university faculty burnout impacts faculty and organizations, by basing the conversation on key research findings and sharing ideas on how different institutions are, and can, support faculty to prevent burnout. The definition of burnout that provides the foundation for our conversation is, “a persistent and negative mental state that is characterized by emotional exhaustion related to distress” (McCann & Holt, 2009, p. 99).
During the conversation we will discuss the signs and stages of burnout; and how variables such as gender, academic discipline, and institutional type impact perceived burnout. By having an understanding of the warning signs, attendees can begin a proactive, and most likely a reactive, approach to identify faculty in need of support. Participants will engage in self-reflective and pair-share exercises during our time together. By the end of the session, attendees will be able to identify burnout in their faculty, and have at least one faculty support idea that can be implemented in their own institution.
Burnout is a pervasive problem in academia, exacerbated by our current circumstances. This conversation provides an opportunity for faculty, administrators, and faculty development professionals to start a conversation on an important topic which is often neglected in the academy.