As workloads become more stressful, more and more educators are feeling the burn--and the educator burnout.

Educator burnout is at an all-time high

As workloads become more stressful, more and more educators are feeling the burn--and the burnout

Key points:

Higher-ed instructors are juggling burdensome workloads that impact their mental health and well-being, leading to educator burnout, according to data in Teaching and Learning Workforce in Higher Education 2024, a new EDUCAUSE report surveying teaching and learning professionals.

These excessive workloads and educator burnout take a toll on mental health and morale–82 percent of those experiencing “a lot” of burnout within the past 12 months reported having an excessive workload as compared to 47 percent of those experiencing little to no burnout.

More than half of respondents are likely to apply for other positions in the next year, and those experiencing burnout are significantly more likely to apply for other positions than those not experiencing burnout.

Access to remote or hybrid work options are key for teaching and learning professionals, with 85 percent of those surveyed saying such options are important and 66 percent saying they do currently have remote/hybrid work options.

AI-related duties have seen the largest increase in time demands (30 percent), followed by faculty training and development (28 percent), and online, hybrid, or distance learning (24 percent). 

Other key findings include:

  • A majority of respondents (85 percent) indicated that they have more than one primary area of responsibility. This number may continue to increase due to understaffing and budget constraints.
  • A majority of respondents (63 percent) said that staffing issues have had a negative impact on their department/unit’s services and operations, and financial constraints are the biggest challenge for staffing.
  • Digital literacy (especially AI literacy) and adaptability and agility were identified as important competency areas for the future.
  • Respondents want their institutions to make professional development opportunities more widely available, tailor development pathways to individuals, do more to help people get the most out of professional development opportunities, and improve communication and coordination of these opportunities.

Moving forward, institutions will need to prioritize employee well-being and morale, and a good starting point is finding ways to make workloads more manageable. Due to the changing landscape of teaching and learning, institutions will also need to find ways to better support change management.

The report is the second in a series examining specific workforce domains in higher education (cybersecurity and privacy, teaching and learning, and IT leadership). The data in the report are taken from a survey of teaching and learning professionals in higher education, conducted in September through October 2023, representing 1,001 respondents from different position areas and levels at their institution.

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Laura Ascione

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