The campus could
in the next decade — a doubling of the rate in recent years.
If the numbers don’t lie, Carolina might need a few more professors like Lyle Jones in
the years to come.
Though he no longer teaches in the psychology department, Jones is reliably in his
office at Davie Hall every afternoon except Wednesday. He does some consulting work
in his field of psychometrics, publishes a paper here and there, and does some mentoring of younger faculty.
The catch? Jones is retired — and has been since 1992, back when he was 68 years
old. “I thought it was wise to get out of the way,” he says.
If that’s what it means to be retired, UNC shouldn’t have much trouble weathering a coming
demographic storm, one that will see huge numbers of its professors — members of the baby
boomer cohort — reaching retirement age over the next 10 years. But assuming that most of
those who step down choose a more leisurely approach to retirement than Jones, the University
has a problem: How will it fill the startling projected number of vacancies without losing its
momentum as a top-notch teaching and research university?
“You’ve got a lot of folks getting gray,” said Norma Houston ’ 86, executive director of UNC
Tomorrow, the commission charged with planning for the UNC System’s growth over the next
two decades.“If you look over the next five to 10 years, that will have some pretty serious ramifications.”