Generational Shockwaves and the Implications for Higher Education
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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.
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Chapter 10: As Baby Boomers Retire

Valerie Martin Conley


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 a feature story in USA...

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