The New York Times this week asks "Are younger scholars' careers blocked by their older (and tenured) professors?" To which seven professors respond in discussion of "the professors who won't retire" under the protection of their tenure. Wesleyan University's Claire Potter writes, "You heard it here first: I will retire as a tenured professor no later than the spring of 2025. I will be 67." While Wesleyan cannot legally require that she retire at any age, Potter suggests that "we need to imagine voluntary retirement as a foundation for the 21st century university," because "if senior scholars offer experience, young PhDs challenge us with new knowledge." Brooklyn College's Robert Johnson discusses the "value of the longtime professor" in certain academic disciplines. Stephen Trachtenburg at George Washington University tackles "how to phase out lifetime tenure," while Harvard's Cathy Trower emphasizes that older academics are "neither stars nor sloths."
This Room for Debate discussion marks the Times' second examination of tenure in recent months.