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.

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