Top 10 Reasons Being A University Professor Is A Stressful Job by David Kroll in Forbes Magazine

Most of these do not apply to Canada in my experience, or they apply to research in the sciences not the Humanities.  #6 on lowering quality of student admissions applies somewhat – standards at the two universities where I teach are high and rising, but the ability to write is poor usually, despite high grades for admission. This makes grading papers in the Humanities difficult as I see good ideas and depth of understanding but couched in semi-literate English, or to put it differently, prose at a Middle School level. #7 on the increasing reliance on adjuncts [called Sessional Lecturers in Canada] is sometimes true – at my one school they are purging adjuncts in order to balance the books, while at the other more than 90% of the faculty are adjuncts.  Where Canada differs substantially from the U.S. is in pay and benefits for adjuncts – we are paid much better and if one teaches two or more courses, benefits are available – but then we are unionized in Canada. #8 is spot on – though I do not know if the administrators at my university underestimate the time it takes to teach one 3 hour per week class – if so, they are blocked to some degree by the unionization of tenured and other full time faculty.  But the estimates of hours needed to teach per four month semester of 20 hours per week are correct. At this moment I am finishing a 40 hour a week semester [2 courses] and for May and June I am teaching two, though one of these is compressed – so the equivalent of 60 hours a week. #9 on online teaching is my area of expertise as I teach only online now, and have been teaching online since 2004.  There is a vast ignorance about online teaching.  I would say I work longer hours than I did in classroom courses, but it is nearly impossible to estimate.  I do interact with students 7 days a week between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight or so – but… this interaction is usually a 2-30 minute email response [depending whether it requires a simple answer, or research on my part], or sometimes a 5-10 minute Skype chat – or a posting on the general query forum on the course site.   So, in general I would say tenured faculty work harder than the public perception, but are not as stressed as our American colleagues.  Adjuncts are much better treated, but still as precarious as there – one only knows a few months ahead if you will be a ‘professor’ or find yourself asking someone if they want fries with that…


About notlimey

I paint with words Poetry and prose I teach online and write about online teaching
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