The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the working and home lives of faculty. The largest impact was felt by women and caregivers, who suffered a staggering setback to their research productivity throughout the pandemic, and declines in research productivity have negative downstream consequences for tenure and promotion. The current research sought to examine gender and caregiving differences in research productivity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic among University of Dayton faculty. In two primary studies, research-active faculty were surveyed (Study 1) and interviewed (Study 2) to better understand the impact of gender and caregiving on research productivity during the pandemic. Study 1 also examined research productivity before the pandemic (2019) through the end of 2022 in order to examine change in productivity over time. Due to a small sample of data collected for Study 1, we were unable to examine differences in gender and caregiving, but we did find that multiple indicators of research productivity, ability to conduct research, difficulty with conducting research, and job satisfaction declined during the early pandemic but trended toward 2019 levels by 2022; although the quadratic pattern of the data suggests that these outcomes are beginning to improve over time, the majority of these outcomes have not reached their pre-pandemic values. Study 1 also examined correlations between job stress, burnout, workload, and multiple barriers to being research productive during the pandemic. Study 2 interviewed 19 faculty members and found that the predominantly female sample of faculty felt a lack of separation between their home life and work life during the pandemic, which was particularly pronounced for caregivers. They also reported declines in well-being and health, needing to put a hold on research due to caregiving, and finding it challenging to reset and restart their research. A consistent finding from both studies was that many faculty reported feeling undervalued and unappreciated by the university administration, and reported a lack of trust in the university. We conclude our report with a set of data-driven, equity-focused recommendations to improve faculty research productivity that focus on directing support to faculty research, teaching, and family. We also include additional recommendations that seek to address feelings of being underappreciated and undervalued, and increasing faculty job satisfaction.
COVID-19, pandemic, tenure, academic promotion, faculty
Kunz, Erin O'Mara; Brion, Corinne; Kessler, Hannah; and Michelson, Eden, "Examining the Impact of Gender, Caretaking on Faculty Research Productivity, Tenure and Promotion Progress During the COVID-19 Pandemic" (2023). Reports from the Gender Equity Research Fellowship. 8.