12/4/2020 University Senate survey, burnout

Many faculty, graduate students and staff members are reporting burnout this semester, according to University Senate Chair Deb Nichols.

University Senate Chair Deb Nichols reported that burnout has increased as the semester progressed, according to a fourth wave of a senate survey from November.

In August 70% of people reported accomplishing all they need to during normal work hours, Nichols reported during the Board of Trustees meeting Friday morning. In November, the number dropped to 37%.

Nichols reported the following figures from the survey results:

  • Tenured women are working the most, up to 53 hours a week. Faculty hours on average are up by 3.9 hours.
  • Women, even before COVID-19, were doing about two hours more of service work than men, according to a work-distribution chart shared during the meeting.
  • Those with caregiving responsibilities had lower expected productivity, but reported feeling better protected against burnout, Nichols said.

Provost Jay Akridge said work was being done to address the challenges faced by caretakers in the midst of so many school closures. Trustee Gary Lehman posited after her presentation, “What do you do when you’re trying to keep doors open and families employed?”

While Nichols acknowledged the difficulty in providing concrete solutions to burnout, she said a helpful step would be for Purdue to “recognize it (and) provide resources” to support those facing difficulties.

Akridge remarked that “Zoom meetings don’t have to be back-to-back-to-back,” and said if meetings were simply five minutes shorter it may give people a break.

Despite the challenges of the semester, Nichols said most people have reported they like working from home and are grateful to still have jobs.

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