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What You Do All Day
People in academe constantly talk about the division of professors' time between teaching, research and service. But according to new data and a report released by the U.S. Education Department on Wednesday, the real triptych of higher education work activity is teaching, research, and administrative duties.
The figures were released in a study of faculty members' characteristics and work activities. The data were collected in 2003.
The Education Department's new analysis indicated that while doctoral faculty members spend much more time on research than do other professors, they report spending less than one-third of their total time at work focused on research.
Use of Time by Full-Time Faculty and Instructional Staff, by Sector
|Institution Type||Teaching||Research||Administrative Duties|
|Public community college||79.8%||3.5%||16.8%|
When analyzed by disciplines, the data indicate that professors in the humanities and fine arts spend the most time teaching, while professors in the natural sciences and engineering spend the most time on research.
Use of Time by Full-Time Faculty and Instructional Staff, by Discipline
Another topic covered by the data is how much total time is spent with students -- in the classroom, and by "contact hours," which is a figure that multiplies the number of hours spent teaching by the number of students in those classes. Faculty members at community colleges lead -- substantially -- in both measures.
Average Weekly Hours Spent Teaching by Full-Time Faculty, by Sector
|Institution Type||Classroom Time||Contact Hours|
|Public community college||18.1||431|
Analyzed by discipline, fine arts led in classroom hours while science fields -- with larger class sizes -- led in contact hours.
Average Weekly Hours Spent Teaching by Full-Time Faculty, by Discipline
|Discipline||Classroom Time||Contact Hours|
The various splits of professorial time also raise the question of how much time professors spend on the job. Here the data indicate that the 40-hour week may be a reality for part-time professors (the data count hours spent on all jobs, including those outside academe), and that most full-time professors work well over a 40-hour week. Average Hours Worked Each Week, by Sector
|Institution Type||Full Time||Part Time|
|Public community college||49.3||39.0|
Additional data in the report cover a wide variety of topics related to professors' demographics, but much of this data is similar to other data previously released by the department or other groups. Among the highlights of the other data:
- Faculty positions are most likely to be full time at doctoral institutions and the least likely to be full time at community colleges.
- Doctoral institutions and engineering departments were more likely than other institutions and departments to employ Asian-American faculty members.
- Black faculty members were most likely to be employed at institutions where a bachelor's degree or lower was the highest degree awarded.
- Women make up a larger share of the part-time faculty pool than of the full-time pool.
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