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ACE Brief Calls for Strategic Leadership on Campus Retirement Transitions

April 01, 2013

 

Faced with the current economic climate delaying retirement for many college employees, and the aging of both the professoriate and higher education's senior leadership, ACE convened a Presidential Roundtable in October 2012 to address retirement transitions. The results of that conversation emphasize that presidents and other campus leaders must take a strategic approach to the issue, now more than ever.

Retirement Transitions in Higher Education, produced with the generous support of the TIAA-CREF Institute, encourages campus leaders to expand their view of traditional retirement, as professors and presidents seek to move from full-time work on campus to an encore career or find new opportunities for involvement with the institution.

Among college presidents, 52 percent plan to step down from their current position within the next five years, and 21 percent plan to step down within six to nine years, according to ACE's The American College President 2012 (also supported by the TIAA-CREF Institute). Meanwhile, even as faculty age, only 25 percent intend to retire at 66, according to a 2011 study by the TIAA-CREF Institute.

"On-campus retirement transitions have long-term consequences for both individuals and institutions. These leaders gave us ideas for win-win solutions we're pleased to share with the higher education community," said Gretchen M. Bataille, ACE's senior vice president for leadership and lifelong learning. "We are grateful to the TIAA-CREF Institute for their support of this and other ACE Presidential Roundtables, which hone in on critical issues facing academia."

Presidents of various types of institutions nationwide, as well as representatives from ACE and TIAA-CREF, joined the roundtable that served as the basis of the brief, written by Jean McLaughlin, associate director of ACE's Institutional Leadership Group.

"It is critical that we move away from a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to higher education retirement planning," said Stephanie Bell-Rose, senior managing director and head of the TIAA-CREF Institute. "The Presidential Roundtable gave us an opportunity to hear directly from university and college decision makers and exchange ideas on new, creative ways to help senior leaders and faculty plan for a comfortable retirement."

The issue brief takes a close look at the structural and cultural components of retirement transitions for faculty and presidents, and emphasizes that institutional leaders need to strategically examine the issue, which was once relegated to human resources offices. It discusses the idea that the transition is a unique process for each individual, and that social, psychological, financial and professional considerations are all part of the decision.

To download the report, visit the ACE website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ginnie Titterton ▪ 202-939-9368 ▪ gtitterton@acenet.edu

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