An Educause report released Monday found higher education jobs related to artificial intelligence have seen the largest increase in time demands since the COVID-19 pandemic and that digital literacy skills are important for future careers in teaching and learning spaces.
The report surveyed more than 1,000 professionals in positions related to teaching and learning, including top-level administrators to faculty members — most of whom have been in their positions for more than five years. However, many respondents indicated that they are considering leaving higher education due to heavy workloads and burnout.
“The teaching and learning field is evolving, yet at many institutions, teaching and learning professionals are struggling to keep up because they are currently working in an environment of constraint, having to do much more with much less and only having time to focus only on the most urgent needs,” the report reads.
Workloads have increased across the board in higher education teaching and learning roles — 65% of respondents said they have excessive workloads. Roles related to AI ranked highest in increased in time demands, however there was fairly minimal growth in terms of budgeting to expand those roles. Researchers said this suggests “the demand for AI functions is outpacing the growth in AI staff.”
Most of those who responded to the survey have multiple areas of responsibility, such as added duties related to faculty training and development, distance learning and evaluating new technologies.
A majority of respondents indicated that skills in adaptability, agility and change management are important for sustaining current and future teaching careers, especially AI disrupts education.
Educause recommends in the report that higher education institutions prioritize employee well-being and morale, professional development opportunities and collaboration across campus. One of the top areas higher education institutions can begin to address these concerns is by offering remote or hybrid work options. Sixty-one percent of respondents called job flexibility “very important.” While more universities are offering employees that flexibility, about one-third of the survey’s respondents reported working from “unpreferred locations.”
“Moving forward, institutions will need to find ways to offer support for continuous professional development and training so that their teaching and learning professionals can not only adapt but also thrive,” the report reads.