The data from Ziker's preliminary study indicate that faculty participants on average reported working 61 hours/week. That includes 10 hours/day Monday to Friday and about that much on Saturday and Sunday combined. Note well: That's more than 50% more hours than a traditional 40-hour work week.
How did the faculty participants report spent that time during the work week?
- 17% in meetings--including those with students;
- 13% on email (both for research and with students);
- 35% on teaching (with 12% for instruction and 11% on course administration, such as grading and updating course webpages); and,
- 3% conducting primary research and 2% on manuscript writing.
How did the faculty participants report spending their work time during the weekend?
- 23% on class preparation;
- 13% on course administration;
- 10% of the time on email; and,
- 9% at workshops and conferences with professional conversations, manuscript writing, and “housekeeping"--such as updating files--rounding out the remainder.
Combining work week and weekend, Ziker notes, faculty participants spent about 40% of their time (~24.5 hours) on teaching-related tasks. That's almost 60% of a traditional 40-hour work week. (Full professors reported working slightly longer hours both during the week and on weekends than associate and assistant professors, as well as chairs.)
Interestingly, although homo academicus works in a setting that abounds with other human beings--administrators, faculty, staff, and students--the faculty participants report they work in isolation (57% of their work time). They spent only 17% of their time engaging in activities with colleagues and 15% engaging in activities with students.
Ziker is currently working on TAWKS Phase 2. Participants will use a smartphone app to text answers to messages they receive at random times in order to report what they are doing. Participants will also provide a daily self-report about satisfaction with daily productivity. Ultimately, Ziker believes TAWKS will assist faculty to reflect regularly on their productivity levels and work patterns.
Perhaps. But, it sounds to The Motley Monk that Taylorism is being upgraded for the 21st century. Those professors participating in the study had better beware: The planners will be observing them, not from the offices above factory's floor but from cyberspace. It won't be very long before this particular "time and motion study" uncovers the real scam--how professors really spend their time--that those self-reports misrepresented.
Let the discussion begin...
To read Professor John Ziker's post, click on the following link: