Morale slips as professors feel strain

November 15, 1996

HARD-PRESSED professors are becoming demoralised as workloads increase and pay declines, according to a new survey.

The National Conference of University Professors found that 91 per cent of the 150 professors surveyed this autumn were less content with their professional positions in the wake of the recent rises in student numbers and the decline in funding.

Ninety-four per cent of professors reported more personal administrative work while 99 per cent said that members of their departments also had extra administrative work.

An increase in student numbers, leading to increases in student staff ratios, and the administration associated with teaching quality assessments and audits were blamed for the growing administrative burdens.

Yet, despite the extra paperwork, 39 per cent of the professors responding wanted a further expansion in student numbers, compared with 21 per cent who wanted a reduction.

The survey also revealed that the professors, most of whom are in highly rated research departments in the old universities, felt it would be wrong to concentrate research funding in a handful of top research institutions. Three-quarters said that good research should be funded wherever it is found.

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