CareerCast.com unfairly ranks professor as least stressful job
Survey fails to recognize complexity in education profession, performance evaluation
Published: Monday, March 4, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2013 17:03
The staff of CareerCast.com, a website designed to assist job searches, recently announced a study deeming university professors as having the least stressful job in 2013. The study attributes high salaries, job security and low health risks as reasons for why the career is particularly not stressful. However, the study fails to realize the complexity of teaching in a university environment and how diverse the field of education can be.
The study seemingly lumps every academic field into the single category of education without acknowledging the difference between teaching an upper-level organic chemistry class and introductory English. Also, many professors face stress outside the classroom when conducting research and attempting to get their work published in academic journals and periodicals. If a certain department is lucky enough to receive a large government grant, the university pressures the professors conducting the research to complete thorough and vigorous results. The university benefits from receiving research grants and relies on the researchers to make discoveries and breakthroughs, all of which apply a large amount of stress on professors.
Evaluating a professor’s performance whether researching or teaching is almost entirely subjective and up to the interpretation of their superiors who are not always familiar with the academic field the professor works in. Given the nature of teaching, figuring out who is to blame for poor student performance is a difficult task. It is equally possible that the student failed due to bad teaching or his or her own lack of effort. This subjective nature surrounding the evaluation of a professor’s performance leads to misconceptions on how much stress comes with their work. Naming a profession as, stressful, or, not stressful, is subjective itself. Given the diversity of education, this standard is definitely not applicable to the field.