Wednesday, June 4, 2014



The Chronicle of Higher Education and Fidelty Investment have issued a report based on an extensive survey. Here is a summary of their findings:

 Delayed Retirements. Overall,

nearly one-quarter of faculty members

expect to retire after the age of

70.Some 38 percent of campus executives

believe that faculty members

frequently or always stay on the job

longer than the institution would like.


Money. As a result of the financial

impact of the recession on retirement

savings accounts, 28 percent of faculty

members say they will retire later

than they expected, with 40 percent

of them estimating they will stay on

five or more years longer than they

had planned.


The Retirement Years. For the most

part, the reasons professors say they

are remaining on the job have less to

do with finances than with identity.

Some two-thirds of older professors

and a majority of younger faculty

members say love of the job is the

number one reason they want to

remain on campus.


Innovation. Nearly 80 percent of administrators

and 90 percent of faculty

members agree that young professors

are crucial for advancing innovations

within academic departments. But

45 percent of faculty members don’t

believe that delayed retirements are a

factor in younger generations deciding

to forgo academic careers, while some

73 percent of administrators say that

faculty members staying on past traditional

retirement age are a deterrent

to younger professors seeking full-time

teaching positions.

Health Care. Faculty members report

high confidence in their ability to

save money for retirement (58 percent

are very or extremely confident). But

only 28 percent are confident in their

ability to manage medical bills in



Engaging Retired Faculty. Both

professors and campus leaders agree

that retired faculty members would be

effective mentors for young faculty. But

professors believe that the most effective

way that they can engage with an

institution in retirement is to continue

in roles similar to those they have held

(65 percent say they would want to

teach and 51 percent want to engage in

research). Meanwhile, campus executives

want to move faculty members

into new roles, such as development

or teaching enrichment courses to the

local community.

 You can read the report here.

 For myself, I plan to stay in this job as long as I am able.


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The major deterrent to young people entering academia is the reduction of tenured positions. There are advantages and disadvantages to tenure. It's being attacked because in its present form it prevents dismissing all but the most outrageously behaving faculty (and generally with respect to issues other than teaching and scholarship). Had faculties agreed to realistic post-tenure review, to do something about the tenured faculty that aren't holding up their end of the deal, it is possible tenure would have been sustained. So most younger people are presented with a different set of choices than existed 20, 30, or more years ago. Non-tenure-track positions, part-time positions, adjunct positions -- with many younger faculty teaching at multiple institutions, with few or no benefits, and low salary.

Posted by: James Edward Maule | Jun 5, 2014 10:14:09 AM

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