September 28, 2022

Is the Great Resignation Coming to Higher Education? New Cengage Research Shows Most College Faculty are Satisfied, but Increasing Responsibilities are Leaving Them Feeling Unsupported and Burnt Out

Faculty are Rising to the Challenge of Expanding Responsibilities, but More Than a Quarter are Dissatisfied – a Number That is Likely to Grow Without More Support

graphic displaying key research findings on faculty job satisfaction

BOSTON – September 28, 2022 – While many higher education faculty are satisfied in their jobs, they’re calling for more support as they struggle to balance new responsibilities brought on by the pandemic and the dramatic shift in teaching and learning, according to a new survey from edtech provider Cengage. For its Faces of Faculty study, the only recent quantitative research on faculty satisfaction, Cengage surveyed 1,025 faculty members at 581 U.S. colleges and universities (including two- and four-year institutions) to better understand the evolving role of faculty and how to best support them.  

“Almost all faculty say their role as an educator has changed, including how they’re spending their time each day as they manage multiple course modalities, meet new creative content demands and keep up with student communication needs,” said Erin Joyner, Senior Vice President for Product, Cengage . “Their connection with students - teaching, helping and mentoring them, is the greatest driver of satisfaction for faculty but they are continually pulled away from that because of competing priorities. Our goal with this research is to shine a light on these challenges and the resilience of faculty, and also continue to improve our faculty support so students have a successful learning experience.” 

Additional survey findings include: 

  • The majority (64 percent) of faculty are happy in their roles, but those who are unhappy are considering leaving. While faculty are showing resilience and adaptability in their roles, 26 percent are dissatisfied, and 70 percent of those not satisfied have considered a career change in the past 6 months. 

    • The top driver of dissatisfaction for discontented faculty is “feeling unsupported by their institutions, or under pressure from administration” (29 percent), followed closely by 28 percent who feel they are undervalued or underpaid. 
  • The faculty workday is much different today – managing multiple course modalities and content demands mean more working hours. On average faculty spend 42 percent of their time on teaching and instruction, 31 percent on course preparation, 14 percent on administrative tasks and only 13 percent of time connecting with students. Faculty have little time to focus on the most important and satisfying part of their job – teaching, helping and mentoring students – which 88 percent of faculty say is among the most satisfying components of their work. Multiple priorities compete for their time.  

  • Seventy-seven percent say managing multiple course modalities (e.g., online, face-to-face, hybrid) has had a significant impact on their role.  

  • Nearly 6 in 10 (59 percent) say the need to produce creative content has had a significant impact on their role.  

  • Eighteen percent say they are spending less time teaching (in-person, virtually or hybrid). 

  • Keeping up with constant student communication is a challenge. Sixty-one percent say keeping up with student communication has had a significant impact on their role. 

  • Fifty-two percent of faculty are spending more time communicating with students about class content. 

For more information on the Faces of Faculty research, access the blog post here or download the infographic for a snapshot of the research.  


Survey Methodology 

The “Faces of Faculty 2022” research featured January 2022 survey responses of 1,025 faculty members at 581 higher education institutions in the U.S. Respondents were full-time professors (56%), adjunct professors (18%), assistant professors (7%), other (E.g., instructor, researcher, assistant, etc.) (11%), teaching at 2-year institutions (31%) and 4-year institutions (68%).


About Cengage 

Cengage, the U.S. Higher Education business of global education technology company Cengage Group, serves millions of instructors, learners and institutions. We deliver affordable, high-quality digital products and personalized support to power learning individually and at scale. Our customer-centered approach enables innovation, including Cengage Unlimited, the first and only all-access digital subscription for textbooks and course materials. Our textbooks, homework tools, and flagship online learning platforms, MindTap and WebAssign, help educators and students achieve their goals. Visit us at or find us on Facebook, Twitter and  LinkedIn.