Noel Radomski, managing director of the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE), was quoted in a Daily Cardinal article discussing the issue of professional burnout among college faculty.
In the article, Radomski said "the hardest time for professors is the first few years, as research and grant writing are 'front-loaded' into professor’s contracts." Later, however, they may be required to teach more credits.
“[Universities] expect [new professors] to come in and write grants and write articles in the top journals both to publish in the best journals and to get as much research grants as possible,” Radomski said.
Radomski further explained that "stress for most faculty comes from the ability to meet their three big requirements: research, teaching, and university service in the form of committee work."
"Most assistant faculty have a mentor to guide them through the most stressful first few years," he said. "By that point, departments begin assessing whether an assistant professor has the potential to reach tenure."
“If you make it past the probationary period around years four and five, you see a light at the end of the tunnel,” Radomski said.
Radomski said the stressors are different for contingent faculty or instructors not on the tenure track, who often face "high teaching loads and short-term contracts that are based solely on teaching performance," impacting their job security. These faculty also "sometimes don’t have benefits or offices and earn much lower salaries," he said.
Radomski added that "UW-Madison has better working conditions, salaries, and benefits for full-time non-tenured staff and they don’t have 'excessive' teaching loads like 9-12 credits per semester."
WISCAPE is housed in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (ELPA) within UW-Madison's School of Education.