The early days of the pandemic took a toll on faculty members, but for many, peak stress is now, according to a new study of faculty mental health from Course Hero. Researchers for the study website surveyed hundreds of faculty members on and off the tenure track, across institution types, this fall. The findings suggest that faculty worries about the pandemic have morphed into chronic stress -- with serious implications for professors’ mental health, their students and the profession as COVID-19 drags on.
Ethan Kross, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan and author of Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It (Penguin Random House), wrote the forthcoming book over three years. That it will be released during a pandemic is a coincidence, but “if you asked me to design a moment with the most potential for chatter -- that is rumination, perseveration -- among humanity, this really would be it. There’s a deadly virus for which there is no cure, political instability, you can’t see the people you love. It just pushes every single button.”
Kross continued, “We’re living through a unique moment in time where people are feeling really stressed.” And even where faculty members are insulated from widespread economic pressures, they’re being asked to do more with less in many cases.
“It’s not a trivial enterprise,” Kross said of teaching during a pandemic. “A lot of faculty care deeply about educating their students and being dynamic, and now we’re forced on the fly to figure out how to do this in another way. That’s a stressor to layer on top of, say, Zoom fatigue. That’s a lot to ask of anyone.”
Read the full article at Inside Higher Ed.