Many of today’s faculty at colleges and universities find themselves juggling different roles—educator, student support advocate, learning designer, videographer, educational technologist, graphic designer, and more. While this reality began before 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, which accelerated the shift toward digital learning, increased the need for faculty to wear multiple hats and adapt to changes in how they educate students. As the pandemic took hold, educators had to move their courses online with minimal time to prepare. The aftershocks of that rapid shift are still being felt, with most faculty now teaching in multiple on-site, blended, or online formats. While most educators have heroically endured the challenges and complexities of today’s learning environment, they have also been undeniably stretched thin. It is no wonder that half of them report that they feel burnt out and more than half say they lack time to create the kind of learning experiences they want for their students.
In September 2022, Alchemy (formerly O’Donnell Learn + ISG), a learning innovation company that works to support faculty, conducted a survey of 530 full- and part-time faculty who teach across the academic disciplines at four-year and two-year public and private higher education institutions. The survey, Burnt Out and Overburdened: The Faculty Experience 2022, explores the current experiences, attitudes, and values of faculty as they seek to engage students in the post-pandemic world of higher ed. While the results of our survey show definite bright spots in how some faculty are navigating the current educational landscape, several trends indicate a need for additional support to help both faculty and students succeed.
—Carrie O’Donnell, CEO and founder of Alchemy, and Brett Christie, vice president for educational innovation and inclusivity at Alchemy
Illustrations by Eva Bee