The main aim of the study is to give an overview of the background of Estonian academics, including their time management, workplace motivation, teaching, research, and workplace satisfaction. Emphasis was also given to determining their educational background and teaching experience.
Estonian academics are satisfied with their work
The results of the study display high levels of workplace satisfaction among academics. Interest in their field and intellectually stimulating work environment are considered as the principal motivational factors. The amount of workload is considered adequate. There are quite many older academics in Estonia, but compared to other countries, the amount of visiting academics in Estonia is relatively small (5.1% in 2010). At the same time, Estonian academics are well qualified, having often doctoral level degree or corresponding qualification.
Combination of lecturing and research
It is common to combine lecturing with research. About half of the working time of a typical academic comprises lecturing and teaching, the rest is given to other work assignments such as research, administrative duties or self-perfecting. Similar patterns are found in salary statistics – over half of the academics have a secondary job, usually in another university (the average net income of academics in Estonia in 2012 was 1137 euros per month). Therefore only 67% of their the gross income accounts for the main salary, the other 33% comes from secondary job positions, work projects, and scholarships.
Opinions on teaching competence and shortcomings in skills
The results reveal that academics associate teaching competence rather with specialized knowledge than teaching skills. Successful teaching is also related to the motivation and background knowledge of the students. Teaching quality is negatively affected by big classes, shortage of funds, and sizeable workload.
The means of self-improvement among Estonian academics are different. The main forms of improving oneself used are reading relevant literature, having discussions with fellow colleagues, analyzing student feedback, and attending conferences. Shortcomings are felt in e-teaching and active learning methods.