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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bandwidth and Burnout

Submitted by Peg Balachowski, Associate Dean of Teaching & Learning at EvCC

Back in April, I wrote a post about faculty burnout. Since then, I have used the image below to talk about bandwidth and capacity. It’s spring quarter. We’re tired. We’re crabby. When the sun is out and we’re still at our desks grading and planning, mostly what we are thinking about is far different from the tasks at hand. In an article in Contemporary Issues In Education Research, the author cites some definitions of burnout:


  • Burnout is when a person has pushed his/her creative energy beyond the point of discovery.
  • Burnout is experiencing continuous job-related stress where one has the loss of physical, emotional and mental energy.
  • Burnout is the lack of desire and motivation to achieve a balance among professorial responsibilities in the areas of: teaching, scholarship, service, and student care-giving and peer relationships.
  • Burnout is when one experiences detachment (especially from students, staff, peers and clients) and a loss of satisfaction or sense of accomplishment.
Do you see yourself in any of these definitions? Is there a solution? Check out these solutions from The Chronicle of Higher Education:
  • Take time off, if only for an evening.
  • Remember that your job is a job — even if you love it. You are more than your job.
  • Find ways to say no.
  • Choose sleep over extra class-prep time. 
  • Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Sounds really easy, right? I especially like “Find ways to say no.” We have to be very careful about who we say no to (students? Your Dean? A colleague?) and how often! Great advice, but very hard to implement.

We’d love to hear your approach to dealing with (and avoiding) burning.

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