Recruitment, Retention and Retirement in Higher Education

Recruitment, Retention and Retirement in Higher Education

Building and Managing the Faculty of the Future

Edited by Robert L. Clark and Jennifer Ma

This volume examines some of the most pressing employment and compensation issues confronting academic administrators. Contributors discuss topics such as: ageing of faculty, changing economic conditions and shifts in faculty employment patterns, rapid increases in health care costs and trends in retiree health insurance, and adoption of phased and early retirement programs.

Chapter 10: Faculty retirement incentives by colleges and universities

John Pencavel

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of education, public sector economics, education, economics of education


John Pencavel 10.1 INTRODUCTION The ending of mandatory retirement has given tenured faculty a new job privilege.1 Except for faculty dismissed for cause, a tenured faculty member’s decision to leave a university or college is now entirely at the discretion of the faculty member. At one time, the implicit contract between a university and a professor involved tenure for a certain number of years followed by its termination at a specified age. The professor was protected from job dismissal for his views, but in return the institution was permitted unilaterally to sever its association with him at a particular age. With the end of mandatory retirement, this university-initiated severance has been ended. Yet academic tenure was not intended to provide a guarantee of lifetime employment. In 1940, the American Association of University Professors provided a classic statement about academic freedom and tenure:2 Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition. Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and applies to both teaching and research . . . Tenure is a means to certain ends; specifically: (1) freedom of teaching and research and of extramural activities, and (2) a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession attractive to men and women of ability. Freedom and economic security, hence, tenure, are indispensable to the success of...

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