An assessment of stress factors on engineering academics in a regional context

Goh, Steven and Zhou, Hong and Bullen, Frank and Davey, Kenneth (2012) An assessment of stress factors on engineering academics in a regional context. In: 42nd ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE 2012): Soaring to New Heights in Engineering Education, 3-6 Oct 2012, Seattle, WA. United States.

[img] PDF (Documentation)

Download (891Kb)


The Australian higher education sector has accepted that increasing work-related stresses can have a negative impact on the quality and productivity of academic life. Workplace stresses can have significant financial impact both on university budgets and the overall economy due to poor decision-making, health issues and accidents resulting from illness. Engineering academics that teach and/or research within higher education institutions have been reported anecdotally to have a high prevalence of stress. The actual (self-perceived) level however has been largely unquantified. The research reported in this paper was conducted to assess self-perceived stress levels and identify the stress factors within a cohort of engineering academics at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), a small regionally based Australian university renowned for its distance education. The questionnaire was applied using a mix of validated and non-validated survey instruments and incorporated a set of questions previously applied at the University of Adelaide (UoA). Findings from USQ are broadly in line with those independently reported elsewhere for Australia and the UK, with some minor exceptions. In summary the USQ project indicates that engineering academics have higher perceived stress levels than the validated health threshold, with significant variation based on age, academic type (teaching-research), and for staff with English as a second language. The results from both universities also indicated that there are significant stress contributors related to the pressure to obtain grants and to publish and to the (low) resultant levels of recognition from employers for any success. More specific to distance education providers (such as USQ), there are stress contributors related to servicing and dealing with the external mode of course design, delivery and lecture preparation.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 22671
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. © 2013 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering
Date Deposited: 07 May 2013 23:30
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2014 04:40
Uncontrolled Keywords: work-related stress; workplace practices; faculty development; academic development
Fields of Research : 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150311 Organisational Behaviour
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety
09 Engineering > 0999 Other Engineering > 099999 Engineering not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9304 School/Institution > 930401 Management and Leadership of Schools/Institutions
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1109/FIE.2012.6462228

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only