Times Debate: When Should a Professor Retire?

tenureThe Times has an online feature called, "Room for Debate." One topic this week was particularly incisive, about aging professors who won't retire.

Especially in an era of downward economic contraction, it is imperative to the health of a society that older employees in all professions retire in a timely manner to make room for the next generation of workers.

Here is how the Times frames this debate. It's worth a read through all seven contributions and the comments to them.

The Professors Who Won't Retire

If tenured professors are retiring later, with some working well into their 70's and beyond, does that block the career paths of their brilliant young students? A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education examined the effects of the aging professoriat, and quoted administrators who said that turnover was crucial to hiring new professors. A TIAA-CREF faculty survey found that nearly one-third of the professors polled said that they expected to work until at least 70, compared with about a quarter of American employees generally.

While professors of any age despair at the limited opportunities for their students, do they see themselves as influencing this tight market? Are they? What are other factors involved?

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