Building and Managing the Faculty of the Future
Edited by Robert L. Clark and Jennifer Ma
Chapter 14: Recruitment, retention and retirement: institutional research and the need for data
14. Recruitment, retention and retirement: institutional research and the need for data Michael A. Baer, Deborah A. Freund, Charlotte V. Kuh, David E. Shulenburger and Richard R. Spies There is a long-standing need for research to inform administrative or institutional policy decisions that too often tend to be based on assumptions or ‘conventional wisdom’ with little or no supporting data. As issues involving faculty recruitment, retention, and retirement become increasingly urgent, the advantages of having a repository of data on these matters based on shared institutional research are clear. To establish such a resource will require developing or inventing better ways to measure the eﬀectiveness of faculty employment policies in light of immediate and long-term institutional goals. While the need for this research is apparent, deﬁning or identifying its exact nature presents a challenge. At this point in the history of higher education and the professoriate, it is diﬃcult to know exactly what questions researchers should be posing. That was not always the case. As recently as the late 1980s and early 1990s, the questions were more direct: what for instance should (or could) be done about the impending elimination of mandatory retirement for faculty? Indeed, with the growth in adjunct and part-time faculty, the definition of a faculty member has blurred. The issues have become more subtle and open-ended, and the possible solutions more complicated and less prescriptive. The TIAA-CREF Institute conference on the Three Rs shed considerable light on these issues, while making apparent the...
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