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Post-secondary staff concerned about remote teaching, research, health and safety and jobs

(Ottawa — August 20, 2020) A survey conducted by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) shows that the pandemic has significantly increased the workload and the stress level of academic staff across the country.

“Post-secondary staff moved overnight to ensure education continuity for millions of students this spring.  The pandemic created a set of new challenges that needs to be understood and addressed to ensure quality of education this fall,” explained CAUT Executive Director David Robinson.

Amongst the key findings of the survey, a majority of academic staff from universities and colleges are working more than before COVID-19 with almost one-third working more than 10 additional hours per week. A total of 84% of respondents reported somewhat or much higher stress levels due to the pandemic, balancing work and dependent care, challenges with teaching and research, and job insecurity.

Other survey key findings:

  • About 1 in 10 have seen their work eliminated or reduced since the pandemic;
  • 68% of respondents are worried about the challenges of remote teaching;
  • Two out of three are researching less or not at all due to the inability to hold or attend conferences, dependent care responsibilities, inability to access labs or offices, not being able to conduct in-person research, and increased teaching demands; 
  • Only 1 in 4 feel that they are consulted before decisions that affect them are made; and,
  • Respondents identified safe childcare, more access to mental health services, and technological assistance among the resources most needed.

“Academic staff are worried about their students, their research, and their jobs.  It is not clear how the concerns about remote teaching, research and jobs at universities and colleges are going to be addressed without more government and institutional support for post-secondary education,” added CAUT President Brenda Austin-Smith.

CAUT surveyed 4,300 academic staff from all provinces between May 13 and June 12, using crowdsourcing data collection. The findings offer valuable insights on the experiences of participants.

Read the recommendations here.