Leaving Academia

As our faculty ranks age, an ever-increasing number choose to remain in academics into their 70’s and even 80’s for any number of reasons including job satisfaction, tenured status, retirement income concerns, and a desire to continue research. But there is also increased pressure, sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant, for more senior faculty to retire. Retirement incentives, which used to be offered rarely, are now routinely made with increasingly desirous benefits. The academic world requires a specific set of skills that, at a minimum, involves research, publication, student advising, teaching, and service to the higher education community. When faculty leave this setting after years of service many find that this specific set of skills does not easily translate into the life of a retiree. Using data collected from semi-structured interviews with retired professors, this paper includes feedback from those who have struggled with retirement, those who have worked to find satisfaction, and those who found easy fulfillment almost immediately. In these interviews, retirees share their adjustment issues, the activities in which they have or continue to engage, how they have continued to engage with the academic world, and how the academy could support senior faculty to move toward a more satisfying and meaningful transition. The presentation concludes with suggestions for the academic community that may help long-serving faculty to enter this transition with dignity and continued involvement.

Academia Faculty Retirement Retirement Incentives Post-retirement Transition Adjustment Issues

Learning in Higher Education

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session