Saturday, April 14, 2012

Exploding the Myth of the Aging, Unproductive Professor

The other day waiting outside the Dean's office I decided to peruse through a stack of Chronicle of Higher Education issues. I was particularly drawn to an article from March entitled "Exploding the Myth of the Aging, Unproductive Professor" by Josh Fischman. Honestly, I was a little surprised that some think of older professors as unproductive. They have much more time to devote to producing scholarship than the younger members of the department. A late 30s or early 40s professor is likely to have young children, a heavy teaching load, and departmental or university obligations. A professor in the late 60s or early 70s will likely have grown children, a reduced teaching load, and maybe fewer departmental or university obligations. What truly stunned me in the article, though, was this idea of staged retirement. Meaning that professors have a staged 5-8 year step-down plan. It seems that the aging baby boom professoriate just cannot let go of their jobs and sense of purpose. Personally, I wish they would step aside and create some jobs for the younger members of the profession, like me!

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