Are Faculty Neglecting Their Teaching Responsibilities?

I have to admit that I get annoyed with the faculty bashing that seems to occur, and in my opinion, started to surface in last week’s class. The view of many seemed to be that good researchers tend to neglect their teaching responsibilities and not put time in to their courses and students. While that may be true for some professors, I doubt it represents the majority of faculty juggling significant teaching and research loads.

A study out of Boise State (an institution classified as a doctoral university) found that faculty spend a majority of their time teaching and in meetings. A much smaller amount of time that we likely expect is spent on research-related tasks.

John Ziker, PhD - Faculty Time Allocation Study
John Ziker, PhD – Faculty Time Allocation Study

As someone who has been fortunate enough to teach my own courses during my time as a PhD student, I can attest to how time consuming it can be. Class sessions need to be developed, tweaked, and delivered several times a week; assignments need to be graded and reviewed; and student emails and meetings attended to. These deadlines are consistent and immediate. This tends to result in research-related tasks being pushed to the back-burner (or even moved totally off of the figurative ‘stove’).

While there will certainly always be room for improving teaching skills (and research abilities!), my wish is that as future faculty we work to acknowledge and appreciate the time professors put in to teaching (often at the expense of their research responsibilities), rather than bashing faculty we believe did not do us justice when we were students in their courses. For those holding this view that researchers do not devote enough time and effort to teaching, I imagine it will change once you get experience on the other side of the desk!

Agree? Disagree? I’d up for dialoging on this topic!







A PhD Student at Virginia Tech. This blog was created as a class requirement for Contemporary Pedagogy - Spring 2013. 

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