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Food for Thought
You heard it here first: I will retire as a tenured professor no later than the spring of 2025. I will be 67....
Why go at 67? I believe that if senior scholars offer experience, young Ph.D.’s challenge us with new knowledge. Furthermore, while a classroom presence does not necessarily deteriorate with age, we don’t always notice, or want to admit it, when we become diminished. Setting a voluntary retirement date, well in advance of any decline, respects this reality.
First, the era has long passed in which a tenure-track faculty position automatically replaces a retired professor, as colleges instead opt for higher percentages of contingent faculty, who cost much less money. A handful of resource-starved public universities (CUNY, under the leadership of Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, comes to mind) have bucked the trend, but too often the real-world choice comes between classes taught by a longtime professor who has delayed retirement or by an adjunct, hired at the last minute without a competitive national search.
Second, and to a degree unprecedented in the history of American higher education, the contemporary academy has aggressively limited the number of topics to which students can be exposed. New faculty lines have been crafted to place an increasing number of research questions and pedagogical approaches off-limits.