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07/06/2008

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Dr. Steven J. Balassi

As a new full-time faculty member, I was amazed at how long it took to find a tenure-track position (5 years in my case). Professors at many colleges don't retire until they are in their 70's. It makes it a very hard career track for people who have already invested a lot of time and money in their educations. Because it's so hard to find a position, many high quality candidates move to the private sector or choose not to pursuit this career.

In the end, it's the students who suffer from Professors who should not be teaching past age 65 (or any bad teacher for that matter). Education needs to be a high quality and leading industry because it's our future. It's one of America's biggest comparative advantages and we are letting it slip away.

qi

yea, it's a difficult problem worldwide, in Aussie, some old unqualified lecturers can maintian their job because of similar laws ands rules

qi

yea, it's a difficult problem worldwide, in Aussie, some old unqualified lecturers can maintian their job because of similar laws ands rules

Jack

Hmmm, perhaps sort of a bell curve with young greenies at the other end armed only with what they may have learned from the texts written by the old "unqualifieds?"

A bit more seriously ARE we ready to say "65 is too old" for profs, senators, congressmen, mayors, presidents and surely those sitting in judgment of others and on the Supreme Court?

It did occur to me that perhaps tenure could end at a certain age so "deadwood" could be excised, but surely that makes an open season for college politicos who may be gunning for "Marxists" and those who are veterans of "the culture wars".

me

The problem isn't old professors, it's that tenure does not allow schools to remove less productive faculty. When I was in grad school, some younger (40s-50s) professors had nearly stopped doing useful research after tenure, while some older professors were still hitting home runs in their field. The tenure system is broken.

Becker is 77 and Posner is 69, I would not agree to any system that would force you guys out.

UCD Neuroscientist

It would be useful to compare the U.S. situation with that in other countries. The United Kingdom has a strict retirement age, which, in some cases, prematurely aborts productive careers. Given that faculty salaries are a modest cost to society (generally 1/150th that of the average large company CEO), perhaps there is some benefit to allowing faculty to remain productive at the cost of supporting some dead wood?

VT

You can ask (not tell) new Phds to teach in developing countries, that ways, both, the countries as well as new teachers win! ;)

Supremacy Claus

Judge Posner should address the problem of aging judges. College students discount the left wing propaganda of these professors, and find them humorous. No one is getting fooled by any professor.

However, aging judges have lifetime tenures. They send armed government agents to impose their wrongheaded decisions.

The lifetime appointment of the Constitution was one of the three big whoppers committed by the god-like founding fathers. In their defense, it would be another 100 years before the clinical description of senile dementia. We have no excuse to maintain the lifetime judicial appointment.

Jack

Interesting:

"Adding to this job pressure for American academics is that the market for faculty, along with that of many other services, has gone global since students from all over the world come in large numbers to get their graduate education at American universities, especially in the sciences, economics, and a few of the more humanistic fields. Many of the best of the foreign students stay on to teach and do research."

.......... assuming the above inspires a number of policy questions:

It would seem to be of great benefit to the US when the "best of the foreign students stay on..." but as it appears with "too many" H1B visas in other specialties are they being allowed to come at rates above a reasonable (non-wage deflationay) absorbtion rate? And do we advocate a mandatory exit point for our vintage profs to make more room for foreign graduates? Was not much of the original purpose of studying in America to bring benefits to their home countries and create more understanding of foreign cultures among our own college students?

I can't help wondering what your 65 year old prof forced to retire would do in a climate as competitive as these essays would indicate? I'm assuming that some fair number stay on and work due to the fact of their not being able to maintain a decent standard of living from their retirement. Also, what would be the effect on those "in their prime" once they knew what was planned for them? Would they be inclined to bail at the peak of their "market value", thus increasing the percentage of "deadwood" as only those unacceptable to "the market" would stay on under protection of their tenure?

David Heigham

Compulsory retirement ages look crazier and crazier in all activities. They simply don't fit most cases. In Universities, I have seen people of over 90 being very effective (part-time) teachers; and burned out academics in their 50s.

Academic and judicial tenure are something separate and precious. We cherish them for the independence that they give to those who posess those tenures. There is a strong case for maintaining judicial tenure "quam diu se bene gesserit" - in effect judges can only be fired by a very difficult process of impeachment (Posner pardon the simplification)- at all ages.

For academic tenure, the case is different. A retired academic on pension will be at least as independent for purposes of expressing opinions - and indeed teaching if he or she cares to teach freelence - as he or she was in the earlier years of his or her career. It seems to me that the balance of advantage is to have in universities something like the tenure that my British driving licence gives. Up to seventy, I could only lose the licence by committing grave driving faults. After 70, it is renewed every three years provided that I demonstrate my continued competence.

Put another way, a route around the federal law would be to say that tenure ends at a given age; but that this is not an age of compulsory retirement. Academics will be continued in post as long as their university colleagues deem that performance is adequate for the job; a decision that will be periodically reviewed.

neilehat

When I look back to my college daze; at the beginning of the semester, or was it quarters ( you mean I've got to do the same amount of work in half the time?), the great lament in the Lecture Hall was, "Not again! Not another Grad Ass! When are we going to get real Professors? I'm paying this place good money!" Finally, real Professors began to appear out of the woodwork and the research labs when we reached the 400 to 600 level courses. If you made it that far.

Perhaps the "graying" Professoriat is good thing. At least the undergrads may get real Professors for change.

Matt, 20, San Diego

I think it could also be that 1) Younger people are opening their minds to other career fields and aren't attracted to the countless school budget cuts, and 2) It's very easy for older people that have financial security to go teach after they have been at their job for 20 years, notably the large amount of former and current lawyers and businessmen who teach both law and business classes.

Cui Peng

I am a Chinese student.It is quite different in China.As long as the pension is paid or if they have got enough money for the rest of their life,most of Chinese faculty members are willing to retire as early as possible.AND the law here is that any company or university can force their employees when they are 60.

bad egg

I am a Chinese,In China, the professor can be retireat the appropriate age , but some of my teachers, can continue to work after retirement.

DPB

Another possibility is offering +50 teachers the possibility of working part time. I was speaking with a professor friend of mine recently who had explored this option and was told in no uncertain terms that she couldn't do it under her tenure agreement. Full-time or nothing, with a loss of benefits. Seems like something should be available for older professors. They are an asset, even at half time.

WHQ

It seems to me that the greying effect is a transient caused not so much by the law itself, but that the rules changed because of the law. What I mean by that is , if the law stays in place, keeping the rules stable in the future, the older professors comprising a large percentage of the professors now working will have to retire or, most certainly, die at some point. This will cause a great outflow of professors that will need to be replaced. What will follow will be an inflow of young professors. But, eventually, there will be a stabilization under which the age distribution of academics will be fairly even. It will just be a distribution over a wider age range than before the enactment of the law disallowing mandatory retirements. Of course, the average age of professors will still be higher than it was before the law, but there won't be the bulge that we're now seeing.

RuijinZhang

I am a student of China,the main professors in most universities in our country are the middle age experts in different research areas, the older professors do not always do teaching or researching work and young faculties usually do teaching work.
About the hiring new faculties in our universities they are liking to employ the PHDS who got the degree abroad,especially in the US.
So the market of our teachers employment is also smaller because of the competition.But the old professors would retire at the age of 55 for female,60 for male.

Anonymous


I am a student of China,the main professors in most universities in our country are the middle age experts in different research areas, the older professors do not always do teaching or researching work and young faculties usually do teaching work.
About the hiring new faculties in our universities they are liking to employ the PHDS who got the degree abroad,especially in the US.
So the market of our teachers employment is also smaller because of the competition.But the old professors would retire at the age of 55 for female,60 for male.

limingliang

顶一下!

jack

I am a student of China,the main professors in most universities in our country are the middle age experts in different research areas, the older professors do not always do teaching or researching work and young faculties usually do teaching work.

I think it true! yeah!

In china ,It's really borm!

eCurrency Arbitrage

Adding work ship is more important but the economic should me maintained. but the market for new teachers is really less.

Anonymous

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Anonymous

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Anonymous

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Anonymous

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