MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXXI No. 2
November / December 2018
MIT Entanglement with Saudi Monarchy
Requires Independent Evaluatio
Ethical Obligations of Universities
in Their Transnational Engagements
The MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman
College of Computing
Ethics and Liberal Arts in the
Schwarzman College of Computing
Update on Construction Across Campus
Lamenting MIT's New Web Portal
On The Transition to Retirement
Hypothesizing About Stephen Hawking
Questioning the New MIT Website
Faculty Policy Committee
Committee on the Undergraduate Program
Committee on Campus Planning
Most Popular Undergraduate Majors
Printable Version


On The Transition to Retirement


To The Faculty Newsletter:

In the September/October 2018 issue there was an article written by Dr. Emeritus Beaver on “The Transition to Retirement.” My first thought is the advice I give to students: “Never trust something written by someone unwilling to use their own name.” As I read further the article described the need for a faculty member of age 70 or older to retire and make way for younger faculty. I have offered MIT this option for the past 16 years but it has fallen on deaf ears by our administration. MIT does nothing to make retirement a rewarding experience and wonders why some faculty stay on past normal retirement age?

The article went on, retirement offers:

a) liberation from classroom teaching,

b) renew or strengthen family ties,

c) removal of the pressures to remain creative, raise summer salary, secure research funds, etc.,

d) find new adventures.

I could not disagree more with Dr. Beaver. I enjoy teaching; it has always been why I have stayed at MIT. I find no pressure to “remain creative.” I find my creative thinking is enhanced by the MIT environment and only grows stronger over time. It never has been a burden. Raise summer salary: who needs it? I could make a much greater salary outside of MIT. Secure research funds. I admit that for my first few years at MIT I felt this pressure, but nearly 40 years ago I decided not to stress about funding and I have been happier ever since. Find new adventures; I have been looking for these since I came as a freshman 50 years ago. Strengthen family ties. It is a bit late to start this in retirement.

So, Dr. Beaver, you are out of step with why the faculty stay at MIT. We stay because we can and because we learn to enjoy what we do.

From the other beaver,

Thomas W. Eagar
Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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