‘This can’t be the new norm’: academics’ perspectives on the COVID-19 crisis for the Australian university sector

Fiona McGaughey, Richard Watermeyer, Kalpana Shankar, Venkata Ratnadeep Suri, Cathryn Knight, Tom Crick, Joanne Hardman, Dean Phelan, Roger Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected the university sector globally. This article reports on the Australian findings from a large-scale survey of academic staff and their experiences and predictions of the impact of the pandemic on their wellbeing. We report the perceptions of n = 370 Australian academics and accounts of their institutions’ responses to COVID-19, analysed using self-determination theory. Respondents report work-related stress, digital fatigue, and a negative impact on work-life balance; as well as significant concerns over potential longer-term changes to academia as a result of the pandemic. Respondents also articulate their frustration with Australia’s neoliberal policy architecture and the myopia of quasi-market reform, which has spawned an excessive reliance on international students as a pillar of income generation and therefore jeopardised institutional solvency–particularly during the pandemic. Conversely, respondents identify a number of ‘silver linings’ which speak to the resilience of academics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHigher Education Research & Development
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Sep 2021

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