The roles of, and expectations on, academic educators have expanded and intensified in recent years. As noted in Module 1, student numbers and class sizes have increased substantially in many universities, and this increases the psychological demands on academic teachers as well as students. In addition, institutional expectations of academics’ research ‘productivity’ and impact – through grants, publications and collaborations – have also risen. Much university teaching is undertaken by an increasingly casualised workforce of early-career academics who are also under pressure to publish in order to secure an ongoing position. For educators in a range of roles, the high levels of student psychological distress are one factor extending or intensifying academic job demands.
Managing the various demands of an academic job is an important skill for all academic educators.
Hear academic educators talk about how they manage their job demands.
Download a transcript of the video
The importance of social support
People are better able to cope with job pressures and demands if they have people on hand to advise and support them. While considerable autonomy is one benefit of an academic job, it also means that academic staff often lack an institutional support structure or close-knit team of colleagues.
Finding professional mentors and colleagues who can provide social support – debriefing and venting, advising and consoling, encouraging and inspiring – is important to maintaining good mental health in an academic job.
Taking advantage of professional development opportunities
Most universities offer a suite of professional development programs and resources designed to assist academic educators with the demands of their jobs. Examples include programs and resources on teaching and facilitating learning, supervising research students, applying for research grants and engaging with industry and communities. Universities also offer programs and resources to support staff mental health and wellbeing. See 5.3: FAQs with an Academic Work Coach for advice for an experienced academic work coach on managing the demands of academic work and thriving in your role.