Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

Cash Strapped Universities Look For Retired Professors To Teach On Voluntary Basis

As state university systems are making budget cuts and furloughing professors while have to expand course sections to meet burgeoning enrollment, one solution may be to tap the expertise of retired professors in the area.

The Research Triangle area of North Carolina, home to over a dozen colleges and universities, is also home to at least 600 retired professors.

This morning, Eric Ferreri of the Raleigh News & Observer, one of the best higher-ed reporters in the biz, reports on the offers from very accomplished profs who want to give back to their community and the relative lack of response from the big universities:

Evelyn Huber has found a way to tap those resources. Huber chairs the political science department, where budget cuts would have forced her to eliminate an honors seminar on European politics because she didn’t have the $7,500 to pay an instructor.

She found an answer in Jurg Steiner, who spent 40 years on the UNC faculty before retiring in 2000. He has taught on a part-time basis since and was happy to do so without pay this semester. If anything, Steiner is a better teacher now than he used to be when he balanced a full teaching load with research and administrative responsibilities, he said. And he spends at least half of each year in Europe conducting research that he incorporates into his politics seminar.

Of course, there is some reticence to such a temporary solution:

While budget cuts have strained many academic departments, university leaders are leery of plugging retired faculty members into roles that may not fit them perfectly.”This really has to be one of those things where matches get made,” said Ron Strauss, [UNC-Chapel Hill] executive associate provost. “We don’t want to bring back people who ended their academic careers several years ago and aren’t keeping on the cutting edge of their disciplines, just as a stopgap measure.”

[. . .]

Still, Strauss concedes that if professors are a good match, department heads would be wise to use them.

What do you think? Does your university have a program for connecting retired profs with current academics?

You may also like these posts

Read comments »

Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »