Here’s an interesting angle on Baby Boomers from In The Capital: Boomer-age professors aren’t retiring, just because they’re 65!
According to recent data, it turns out baby boomer professors won’t be retiring at or even around 65 years old – a statistic that’s surely frightening school officials who worry that as a result fresh talent on college campuses will dwindle and tenure costs will only increase.
The reasons professors are holding off on leaving the higher education bubble vary, but two concerns seem to be echoed by most. There are the financial concerns, as can be expected, but also intellectual concerns. Professors aren’t ready to leave the work they’ve committed to for so many years.
In fact, in one study some 60 percent of faculty surveyed said that they expected and hope to continue in their profession past the “traditional” retirement age. Another study found that 89 percent of baby boomer professors who anticipated delaying their retirement date for “professional reasons” said that they were interested in staying “busy and productive.”
So what’s the solution? Do professors really need to choose between retirement and intellect? Inside Higher Ed says no. The emeritus college could be the perfect transition for professors.
To date there are around six and eight emeritus colleges, the “intellectual bridge to retirement for a growing number of professors,” as described by Inside Higher Ed. While there’s still no evidence to prove that emeritus colleges are really effective in making faculty retire, it still looks like school officials are taking to the concept as a good return on investment.
Roger Baldwin, a professor of higher, adult and lifelong education at Michigan State University, has studied emeritus colleges and spoke to their advantages. He said that emeritus colleges are so attractive to institutions nowadays because of “their potential to make more meaningful the honorary but often hollow rank of ‘emeritus’ professor, and offer a ‘renegotiated’ path to retirement to faculty in general.”
They also have a “narrower mission” than most other retired faculty organizations. “Instead of sponsoring tours or museums and trips abroad and golf tournaments, their primary focus is on providing opportunities for people to have shared intellectual achievements through lectures and continuing education opportunities, or serving as guest lecturers and occasionally continuing to teach.”
Sure, emeritus college are still relatively new, but there’s something to be said about this idea of a place for talented faculty to continue to have a dynamic, intellectual force in their lives.