how we spend our time

This is a month old, so I know I’m running the risk everyone saw it the first time around. But I just ran into it, and I’m a sucker for a good time use survey — especially when it’s about professors.

Boise State University anthropologist John Ziker has spent much of his career studying the cultural practices of indigenous people in Siberia (sample paper title: “‘Horseradish Is No Sweeter than Turnips’: Entitlements and Sustainability in the Taimyr Autonomous Region, Northern Russia”). Now chair of his department, he’s started doing fieldwork on something a bit closer to home: the practices of academics at Boise State.

His research suggests that his colleagues work fairly long hours (61 hours a week, on average), and that they spend, on average, only about 35 percent of their work weeks teaching.


The rest of the piece rounds up other surveys of faculty time use, showing work weeks in the 54 to 61 hour-per-week range. (Although they missed Jerry Jacobs’ work on this.) I was sad, although not surprised, to learn that I have five more hours a week of service to look forward to now that I have tenure. (I’ve been on sabbatical this year, so it hasn’t hit yet.)

I was also reminded of being on the job market with a one-year-old and not enough childcare. I had to be very efficient to squeeze out even a 40-hour week, and I started tracking my work hours on a calendar printout. I’m pretty sure that in my sleep-deprived, application-stressed state, I sent one of those sheets to the University of British Columbia. I hope the search committee enjoyed the peek into the nuts and bolts of my work life.


Written by epopp

May 24, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Posted in academia

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