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Type: Conference paper
Title: An assessment of stress factors on engineering academics in a regional context
Author: Goh, S.
Zhou, H.
Bullen, F.
Davey, K.
Citation: Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference, held in Seattle, Washington, October 3-6, 2012: pp.273-278
Publisher: IEEE
Publisher Place: USA
Issue Date: 2012
ISBN: 9781467313513
ISSN: 1539-4565
Conference Name: Frontiers in Education Conference (42nd : 2012 : Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.)
Statement of
Steven Goh, Hong Zhou, Frank Bullen and Kenneth Davey
Abstract: The Australian higher education sector has accepted that increasing work-related stresses can have a negative impact on the quality and productivity of academic life. Workplace stresses can have significant financial impact both on university budgets and the overall economy due to poor decision-making, health issues and accidents resulting from illness. Engineering academics that teach and/or research within higher education institutions have been reported anecdotally to have a high prevalence of stress. The actual (self-perceived) level however has been largely unquantified. The research reported in this paper was conducted to assess self-perceived stress levels and identify the stress factors within a cohort of engineering academics at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), a small regionally based Australian university renowned for its distance education. The questionnaire was applied using a mix of validated and non-validated survey instruments and incorporated a set of questions previously applied at the University of Adelaide (UoA). Findings from USQ are broadly in line with those independently reported elsewhere for Australia and the UK, with some minor exceptions. In summary the USQ project indicates that engineering academics have higher perceived stress levels than the validated health threshold, with significant variation based on age, academic type (teaching-research), and for staff with English as a second language. The results from both universities also indicated that there are significant stress contributors related to the pressure to obtain grants and to publish and to the (low) resultant levels of recognition from employers for any success. More specific to distance education providers (such as USQ), there are stress contributors related to servicing and dealing with the external mode of course design, delivery and lecture preparation.
Keywords: Work-related stress; workplace practices; faculty development; academic development
Rights: © 2012 IEEE
RMID: 0020126310
DOI: 10.1109/FIE.2012.6462228
Appears in Collections:Chemical Engineering publications

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