Research Outcome: Professors work long hours, spend much of day in meetings, and tuition increases aren’t because faculty are getting raises

July 17, 2014 at 8:50 am 4 comments

To all academics this is totally obvious.  But I’m guessing that the general public may not know this.  The general public may think that tuition rises are paying for rising faculty salaries, when the dramatic rise in salaries is with coaches and administrators.  (Here at Georgia Tech, the faculty have not had raises across the board since January 2008.)  As mentioned earlier this month, research funding has decreased dramatically, and the time costs for seeking funding have grown.  There’s a blog (meta?) post that is collecting links to all the “Goodbye, Academia” blog posts — faculty who are giving up on academia, and explaining why.  All of this context may help explain declining number of American students going into graduate school.

Professors work long days, on weekends, on and off campus, and largely alone. Responsible for a growing number of administrative tasks, they also do research more on their own time than during the traditional work week. The biggest chunk of their time is spent teaching.

Those are the preliminary findings of an ongoing study at Boise State University — a public doctoral institution — of faculty workload allocation, which stamps out old notions of professors engaged primarily in their own research and esoteric discussions with fellow scholars.

via Research shows professors work long hours and spend much of day in meetings | Inside Higher Ed.

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Special Issue of ACM Transactions on Computing Education: International K12 CS with “Georgia Computes!” Understanding CS Ed Research in The Soul of the Research University

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Charles Severance  |  July 17, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Mark, I think that it might be a good idea to breakdown that “non-faculty” cost. In my school, the “within school” administration is at a pretty reasonable level. I think that the academy, faculty, and students get reasonable value for the “within school” overhead and frankly I doubt we could do what we do without that investment. Outside of schools in central administration and in other central services are where the costs continue to grow with somewhat less value to the academy, students, and other stakeholders per dollar spent. The “outside school” overhead is less connected to and aware of the revenue side and as such tends to care more about their bosses than about the students and faculty.

  • 2. dennisfrailey  |  July 17, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I’ve worked for many years in both industry and academia. Here’s the difference as I see it. In industry you have less control over your time and your work – you tend to have fixed hours (or at least some portion of the day) and your work assignments come from others. In academia you might have a day or two during the week when you can take the morning off or leave early. And you have some say in what research you do or what courses you teach. You are also more likely to have a stable employment situation, at least after getting tenure.

    A big plus of working in industry is the potential for an upside. Your company may have outstanding success and you may have the opportunity to benefit through stock options or salary increases. The downside is the risk of being laid off, particularly if you are at middle age or older when finding a new job is a lot tougher. Tenure protects you from that in an academic position.

    • 3. Michael S. Kirkpatrick  |  July 17, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      The other thing that I noticed in my corporate experience was a seemingly constant process of reorganizing, ostensibly to “streamline” business processes (i.e., lay people off with reduced visibility). To provide the input that management needed for personnel cuts, you had to spend a very significant amount of time reporting your hours and accomplishments. Academia has nothing like the kinds of trivialities and redundancies in this regard. Think TPS reports from Office Space.

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