Students put hurdle in academic rat race
Monday 05 October 1992
The result of academics being locked into the university version of the rat race is a higher than normal level of psychoneurotic illness, Pam Smith of Strathclyde University told the association's annual conference at St Andrews.
Academic staff at three Scottish universities were tested for psychological disturbance and proneness to error and absent-mindedness, and asked to report the details of stressful daily problems. Work overload and administrative tasks were the main complaints, but the study also found that they were anxious about their research - or the lack of it.
The academics were classified as: RATs, whose main activity was research, followed by administration and teaching; TARs, who spent more time teaching; and ARTs, whose main activity was administration.
Ms Smith and Professor Shirley Fisher, of Strathclyde's Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology, found that while a quarter of their subjects were classified as Rats, 70 per cent of them wanted to be doing research instead of teaching or administration.
'The worry levels associated with research are extremely high. Research activity may be the fuse wire in the system. It is difficult to find time to carry out research, evoking high levels of worry,' Ms Smith said.
Most academics enjoy their research - that is why they are there - but their career structure also depends on it. Published papers, however obscure, count for more than good teaching. The trend towards departments and universities which are teaching- only will not improve matters.
A follow-up study of Strathclyde University staff showed they were almost all disillusioned with the university and some were 'extremely depressed', Ms Smith said. Her conference paper was greeted by one fellow academic with a robust 'Aw, diddums'. But Ms Smith is under some academic stress herself. In two weeks' time her contract as a research assistant finishes, leaving her jobless.
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 3 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 4 Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: Dublin in party mood ahead of historic poll result
Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...