Survey highlights pandemic stressors, finds improving climate for many, but not all, underrepresented faculty

In 2022, a large majority of University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty who responded to a confidential survey indicated they feel respected by their colleagues, students and department leaders and are satisfied with their salaries and benefits, as well as the support they receive to teach and conduct research.

And even as their satisfaction with campus life lagged behind their majority peers, most faculty from historically underrepresented groups reported better relationships with their departments and the university than in previous years.

However, more than two years after COVID-19 necessitated a massive, yet largely temporary shift in how faculty teach and conduct research, many UW–Madison professors say the pandemic wrought a more permanent impact on their work life. In a new pandemic-related question on the long-running survey, 36% of campus faculty reported feeling less confident they will reach important career milestones like achieving tenure. Meanwhile, more than half of faculty have taken on “significant” caretaking duties during the pandemic, with the caretaking burden falling more heavily on women faculty.

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