Closing Plenary: Jonathan Malesic

November 7, 2023

  • Jonathan Malesic portrait
    Jonathan Malesic Essayist, Journalist, and Scholar

Burnout Culture in Academia: Where It Comes from and How We’ll Get Beyond It

A vexing problem in academia is burnout: the experience of exhaustion, cynicism, and ineffectiveness that results from stretching across the gap between the ideals of your vocation and the reality of your job. This problem grew significantly worse as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted all aspects of teaching, learning, and administrative work. When faculty and academic leaders are burned out, a college or university cannot accomplish its educational mission.  

Jonathan Malesic left his job as a tenured professor at a small liberal arts college after experiencing burnout over the course of several years. Since then, he has published dozens of articles on work and burnout in academic journals and general-interest publications. In this presentation, he will draw from his research, reporting, and experience to address what burnout is, why college faculty and administrators are so vulnerable to it, and how to start building more compassionate institutions that can help prevent and heal burnout.