says his office is studying new ways of
recruiting and retaining faculty —
including part-timers — along with how
to feed more students into doctoral programs. He expects outcomes from this
planning process in the next year.
For his part, Chancellor Holden
Thorp ’ 86 doesn‘t think the retirement
wave will be as dramatic as some predict.
And he said the recent market downturn
should delay the retirements of some
who won’t be ready financially.
Some steps to mitigate the loss of faculty already have been taken. Since 2001,
all tenured faculty over age 50 have been
able to enter into a three-year phased
retirement. Participants give up tenure in
return for a reduced workload: The professors get to ease into retirement, while
the departments get more time to plan
for the coming vacancy.
“It’s a wonderful time,” says Rollie
Tillman ’ 55, who capped his 44-year
career at the Kenan-Flagler Business
School with a phased retirement ending
in 2003. “It’s a wonderful chance to
lighten the load.”
Phased retirement also can enable
departing faculty to pass on some of
what they know about their jobs to their
replacements. Willow Jacobson, an assistant professor in the School of Government who studies work-force secession
planning, calls it “a great strategy for
keeping institutional knowledge.”
For example, the first year on the job
for Ken Joyner, an expert on property tax
administration and mass appraisal in the
School of Government, overlaps with the
last year of the man he is replacing, Joe
Hunt. Joyner says Hunt has been able to
counsel him through the issues that come
up as he adjusts to his new position.
Meanwhile, the long-retired Lyle
Jones says that only parking regulations
keep him from getting an earlier start
on work in his office in Davie Hall.
“I’ve had colleagues who, once they
retired, they were gone. That is what they
wanted.” But 16 years after his retirement, he says he still values the opportunity to remain involved. “Even though
there is an office space problem, I haven’t
been sent away.”
DARV JOHNSON ’ 93 is a freelance writer
based in Chapel Hill.