Building and Managing the Faculty of the Future
Edited by Robert L. Clark and Jennifer Ma
Chapter 11: To phase or not to phase: the dynamics of choosing phased retirement in academe
David W. Leslie and Natasha Janson With the abolition of mandatory retirement, academic institutions are increasingly exploring alternative retirement options for their faculty. Early retirement, phased retirement, and other arrangements extending employment beyond the traditional retirement age(s) are alternatives that have emerged during a period best described as unsettled and exploratory. While approximately half of all colleges and universities now oﬀer phased retirement options to their faculty, phased retirement is still a relatively new development and has not been studied to the point that any clear assessments of its eﬀectiveness are available. This chapter focuses on the experiences thus far of a small sample of institutions with phased retirement policies. Our study, sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, was conducted during 2003–04 and is based on extensive interviews at twelve institutions and two state systems. We interviewed a wide array of faculty members who had elected for phased retirement and institutional leaders including department chairs, deans, provosts, and system-level executives. We supplemented the interviews at (predominantly) comprehensive and research universities with a survey of (principally) smaller liberal arts colleges. Altogether, we have responses from approximately 150 individuals. This chapter is a preliminary report about selected ﬁndings. Our project’s original purpose was to explore institutions’ and individuals’ experience with ﬂexible employment arrangements – focusing on phased retirement. We expected to learn how providing more ﬂexible working conditions for late career faculty might lead to new ideas that could beneﬁt early career faculty who are more often...
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