Tag: Mental Health

Related to mental health including restorative burn out happiness, satisfaction.

ADVANCE Roundup: Institutional Ideas for Responding to Faculty Exhaustion and Demoralization

Although the early years of the pandemic are behind us, and we are beginning to adjust to a “new normal” in our classrooms, labs, and professional activities, faculty continue to report feeling exhausted and over-stressed. Two recent essays in Inside Higher Ed suggest unique institutional responses: a “Chapter 11” work relief declaration and a return to values and workload equity redesign. The Chapter 11 suggestion was made by an anonymous faculty caregiver overwhelmed by unrelenting teaching and academic demands that she could not fulfill following an official two-week hiatus necessitated by her child’s health crisis. This was not simply a personal problem; she argues that faculty are “like lemmings walking off a cliff of overwork” with the requirements for career advancement ever-increasing, an expansion of committee and administrative tasks, and constant pivots, instructional up-dates, and altered expectations for teaching. The author proposes a “Chapter 11” for faculty that would allow overwhelmed colleagues to step away from some of these responsibilities. Too often, we just watch each other struggle. 

In the other article, Doug Lederman describes a state of faculty “demoralization” characterized by detachment, cynicism, and dissatisfaction, provoked by a discrepancy between espoused values like equity, care, and deep learning and enacted values that tend more to system preservation and economic goals. Added to this is the realization that a faculty career is changing given current and future constraints—less job security, more surveillance and accountability, diminished institutional flexibility, a paucity of faculty resources. Instead, a mythic ideal is upheld as a standard for faculty performance requiring constant availability, unquestioning loyalty, no caregiving distractions, and bodies that never falter.

There is considerable evidence that experiences of exhaustion and demoralization often jeopardize the progress of women caregivers in STEM, especially those with children (see, for example, these two recent publications–”Preventing a Secondary Epidemic of Lost Scientists” and “Voices of Untenured Female Professors in STEM”). Lederman argues that these issues impact recruitment and retention, undermining institutional goals of faculty equity and diversity and points out that campus culture has a critical impact on institutional competitiveness both for talent and institutional reputation. He urges university leadership to gather data on workplace conditions (note the ADVANCE AFEQT tool), measure workload inequities, update systems of reward and accountability, and reconfigure administrative systems to uphold core cultural values. We hope that innovative responses like a faculty “Chapter 11” or institutional reconfigurations around deep values can catalyze a shift in the culture of academe toward more humane priorities and an institutional redesign that is more inclusively responsive.

Today’s feature was shared with us by Dr. Jennifer Slack (IPEC, Humanities) and the ADVANCE PI team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: What to do in the moment when being bullied

We have all experienced bullying at work and upon reflection we often think we could have handled the moment better. Each time we think “How could I have responded better?”, “What should I have said?”, “Why is this still bothering me?”  But how? In Liz Kislik’s blog, she shares exercises she uses with her clients to navigate the moments of bullying by a colleague. The first exercise is to ask yourself “Are you safe?” Recognizing that you are safe reduces the grip the bully has on you. The second exercise is to mentally imagine the bully as small and vulnerable standing in the palm of your hand. Since the source of the bullying behavior is insecurity and lack of control, this exercise redirects behavior to focus on the bully and not on the response.  This positions you to act in a manner that is measured and strategic instead of purely reactionary. Measured responses also allow supervisors to better recognize the source of the bullying behavior and hopefully work to correct problematic patterns of poor behavior.  

Today’s feature was shared with us by A3B. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

December 11, 2020 ADVANCE Weekly Roundup

With this taxing semester drawing to a close, it’s critical that we acknowledge the various and considerable challenges faced by those in our community. And for some this time brings even heavier burdens in their work and personal life, while others are privileged to take more of a break.  Whenever you have the opportunity, self care is valuable and worth prioritizing. This week’s article for the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup offers suggestions for restorative practices. ADVANCE at Michigan Tech encourages everyone to find ways to reach out to those who need support, especially in our campus community over the coming weeks, while also taking care of your own mental and physical health.

If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. These articles are available on the ADVANCE Newsblog (https://blogs.mtu.edu/advance/). To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.