Research faculty are retiring too slowly!

Late retirement is a paradoxical problem. In most of the economy, we want people to delay retirement, if only to keep a reasonable ratio of workers to retirees (which is needed for Social Security and for retirement financing in general). But at research universities, “new blood” is especially critical, and 70-year old faculty tie up slots for new hires.

Many workers yearn for retirement — the goodbye parties, the golf course, maybe even a gold watch. But Stanford University has the opposite problem: Nobody wants to leave.Hoping to create more space for young scholars, Stanford has revamped its generous “Retirement Incentive Program” — for the second time in a decade — to nudge more old-timers toward the door.”Our senior faculty are wonderful. I love them all,” Provost John Etchemendy said at a recent meeting of the Academic Senate, publicizing the plan. “But we’re getting fewer people into the faculty, and that’s because people are staying longer,” he said. “The faculty is aging.”

via Stanford University confronts the graying of academia – SiliconValley.com.

Perhaps a solution is in the article’s observation that foreign universities are hiring like mad, hence have very young faculties. Better for US would be to bring those students here; but if we can’t do that, I know some of my colleagues who are “retiring” abroad.

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One thought on “Research faculty are retiring too slowly!

  1. I wonder: Is it true that faculty retirements mean more jobs for junior faculty? I don’t think it is, and if it is, the ratio isn’t 1:1. With the radical restructuring of universities — with their serious “use” of contract lecturers — senior faculty retire without opening spots for junior faculty. At my R1 school, I just replaced (in theory) *three* very solid senior faculty who retired in the previous three years, and my profile is fairly slim. Compared with any one of the researchers I replaced, my profile is nothing, even though I have super ideas that will revolutionize the world of everything, because they are hugely insightful and groundbreaking.

    Perhaps the real solution is: a lot of money should be given to universities!

    (That is my only suggestion. WHAT DOES STANLEY FISH SAY?!?!)

    A.

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