One of the themes of this year’s Provost Conference is faculty thriving and its Janus face: burnout. Burnout is endemic, heightened for many by the pandemic and its impact on morale and other structural and systemic forces. By extension, faculty job dissatisfaction is an important dimension of academic burnout. At DU and nationally, many faculty are in various states of fatigue, overwork, and dissatisfaction—all while facing a student body with new and evolving needs and expectations.
Our campus discussions of faculty burnout will begin on Thursday, January 26th with the think-and-drink, “Approaching Burnout,” co-lead by Dr. Hava Gordon, Department of Sociology, Dr. Erin Willer, Department of Communication Studies, and me. Join us to discuss institutional trends and data related to faculty burnout and dissatisfaction. Alongside this research, we invite colleague-to-colleague conversations about burnout in our work lives, and about the collective needs and pain points that inform what thriving could look like at DU.
These conversations will springboard into the Provost Conference event, “Faculty Matter: Thriving as a Teacher-Scholar in Times of Burnout.” This workshop focuses on the importance of faculty wellbeing, connection, and purpose at a time when they might be in short supply. We will build on your experiences and the literature to explore the systemic forces shaping faculty work today. Our goal is to support you in developing a sustainable plan for supporting your own and your colleagues’ thriving.
Finally, as a follow-up to the Provost Conference, we will welcome Dr. Rebecca Pope-Ruark, author of Unraveling Faculty Burnout for two virtual workshops that consider burnout as a collective experience rather than an individual problem:
- Responding to Faculty Burnout: Purpose and Compassion
February 16 | 2:00 – 3:30 pm
- Responding to Faculty Burnout: Connection and Balance
April 6 | 2:00 – 3:30 pm
We begin 2023 with the sharp transition from the year-end “molasses” period to the hyperdrive of winter term. If you feel like you’re already running on fumes or see similar exhaustion among your colleagues, please consider joining us for sustained engagement on faculty burnout and faculty thriving.
Kate Willink, Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs