Generational Shockwaves and the Implications for Higher Education

Generational Shockwaves and the Implications for Higher Education

Edited by Donald E. Heller and Madeleine B. d’ Ambrosio

This volume, part of the TIAA-CREF Institute Series on Higher Education, is based on a national conference convened by the Institute in November 2007. The generational issues that were the focus of the conference raise both risks and opportunities with the potential to profoundly affect our cultural environment, both inside and outside academe.

Chapter 7: Recruiting and Retaining the Next Generation of College Faculty: Negotiating the New Playing Field

Martin Finkelstein

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, education, education policy, politics and public policy, education policy, social policy and sociology, ageing, education policy

Extract

7. Recruiting and retaining the next generation of college faculty: negotiating the new playing field Martin Finkelstein THE PROBLEM IN CONTEXT Recruiting—and retaining—the next generation of college faculty has risen to the top of our national agenda over the past decade no less than recruiting and retaining the next generation of nurses or the next generation of public school teachers. In the latter cases, of course, the shortages are acute right now—and have been longstanding; and the focus on recruitment is driven almost single-mindedly by the horrendous attrition rate among new nurses and teachers once on the job—a kind of revolving door (half have left the profession after three to five years). In the case of the college teaching professions, the rising concern is more “anticipatory” (although not far out in the future) and more focused, at least comparatively speaking, on recruitment—since retention in the academic professions has historically been very good (indeed, until not too long again, the ultra-high retention rate of tenured faculty was itself considered a major problem for American higher education).1 And these concerns are being driven by stark demographics: the aging of the current corps of college and university teachers, the relentless expansion of student demand, and the leveling off (or even slight decline) in doctoral production in the United States, as well as the declining competitiveness of faculty compensation—all raising serious concerns about the quantity, but perhaps more importantly the quality, of future supply. As concerns about...

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