Faculty Who Won’t Leave

, Malcolm A. Kline, 1 Comment

Tenured faculty may make up an increasingly smaller proportion of the professoriate than in days gone by but they are hanging onto their jobs with both fists.

angry professor

“Tenured faculty age 50 or older can be divided into three groups—35 % expect to retire by normal retirement age; 16 % would prefer to retire by normal retirement age, but expect to work longer (i. e., they are ‘reluctantly reluctant’ to retire); and 49 % would like to and expect to work past normal retirement age (i.e., they are ‘reluctant by choice’),” economist Paul Yakoboski found. Yakoboski is a senior economist at the TIAA-CREF Institute, a financial services firm.

In fact, Yakoboski writes, “Seventy-nine percent of those reluctant by choice report being very satisfied with their academic career.” Moreover, “anywhere from 60 % to 90 % have not seriously considered what they would do with their time in retirement,” Yakoboski found.

In his survey, Yakoboski found that most tenured faculty, no matter how reluctant they might be:

  • “Enjoy teaching and interacting with students;”
  • “Value the intellectual stimulation provided by research;” and
  • “Value the intellectual stimulation provided by interactions with colleagues.”

Arguably, no matter what their political views might be, these professors know a good deal when they get it and are “reluctant” to let go of it.