Work log reveals slackers myth

April 18, 1997

A SURVEY at a Canadian university shows that full-time professors work an average of 49 hours a week. The finding, according to the 12-member committee which coordinated the study, counters "the public perception that professors do not spend much time teaching or doing anything else".

In a joint year-long venture between the administration and faculty at the University of Western Ontario, 1,000 professors were asked to log a week of their work-related activities. Forty-one per cent found time in their schedules to answer the detailed study.

The 49-hour week means for most professors an almost even, three-way, split between teaching, research and other professional activities. Charles Crawford, professor of psychology at Simon Fraser University, said the results showed that professors were at the high end of the average work-week. The 60-year-old psychology professor, who averages 50 hours a week, said that in the competitive environment, many younger staff at his university were working 70 to 80 hours a week. The overload could lead to high teacher burn-out, he warned, stressing that the summer with full research schedules and preparation for the autumn, was as busy as the rest of the year.

At Montreal's Concordia University, Professor Gad Saad has experienced similar misconceptions. Though his classes are only on one day a week, he averages a 60-hour week, with most time spent on research, and ten to 20 hours spent meeting students. He said he wanted to see more flexibility in teaching schedules. Many full-time professors, in times of austerity, were threatened with teaching an extra course, he added.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns