Ageing academics

The Faculty Lounge has an interesting post (and link to the original controversial article, at the Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled “The Forever Professors: Academics who don’t retire are greedy, selfish, and bad for students“) on the alleged consequences and costs of ageing academic members of staff.

As I come closer to being a senior prof (not there yet, but visible on the horizon), I must disagree wholeheartedly.  ; )

Colin Picker



One thought on “Ageing academics

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  1. The article is very American and refers to some things which just don’t apply to us in Australia. But there are two issues that might be considered. One is that with an ageing population we might need to hold onto our people for longer anyway, and academe is a job where you don’t get physically damaged; and the other thing is that the idea that it is going to be true that older people staying are going to block earlier people from jobs. But as in the American example, what is really blocking people from jobs is that universities have expanded without commensurately expanding the number of full time jobs. The funding is just not there. Unlike Germany where they see education as an investment for the whole community so that university is free even for foreigners, in Australia and the US it is seen as a personal individual matter. The other thing that worries me is that this is a bit too much like assuming that younger people are always more energetic/capable/lively than older people. In my experience this is somewhat like saying all men are stronger/more rational/better workers than women. We don’t do that any more because we have learned it isn’t true. Maybe it isn’t true that older people should always make way for younger people. Maybe there is something to offer in the second half of life that isn’t available in the first.These things are worth thinking about in our societies which worship youth.


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