Edited by Donald E. Heller and Madeleine B. d’ Ambrosio
Chapter 10: As Baby Boomers Retire
10. As Baby Boomers retire Valerie Martin Conley Will you still need me? Will you still feed me? When I’m sixty-four? (Beatles, “When I’m Sixty-Four,” written by Paul McCartney, released 1967) INTRODUCTION What about 65? 70? 80? When a new faculty member joins an institution there is a sense of excitement and anticipation. Everything is new. There are typically several programs designed to welcome and orient the faculty member to their new community—at the institution, college, and department. Sometimes there are even receptions hosted by organizations within the surrounding community. After all, a lot of eﬀort, including a substantial monetary investment has been made to recruit the faculty member (and sometimes his or her spouse or partner as well) to the institution. When all of the negotiations are ﬁnally said and done, everyone is committed to the individual’s success. But, the lyrics from the popular Beatles song capture the sentiment many older faculty members, including those from the Baby Boom Generation, may be feeling as they age. To what extent do institutions continue to demonstrate commitment to individual faculty members’ success throughout their career? In a policy environment where legislators are looking for ways to keep experienced workers working, higher education policy-makers may be headed in the opposite direction. For example, the National Governor’s Association is studying ways to engage Baby Boomers and “build an experience dividend” (Greenya, 2008). Former senator, Harris Woﬀord, D-Pa, is working with states to ﬁnd ways to tap older workers’ skills. In...
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