Voices of Experience

Senior Faculty Transitions

Interviews with senior and emeritus faculty

Johnson and Johnson
Professor of Surgery, Emeritus

Deciding when to retire varies from department to department. My situation was unique. Being a surgeon is a 24/7 job. Since I was the only full-time faculty member in my division (thoracic surgery), I was always on call. I did my best to prepare the department in advance of my actual retirement. However, I precipitated a search by becoming emeritus in 1997. Immediately thereafter I was recalled to 100% duty because there was no one else. 

Professor of Medicine (Hematology),

I’m probably busier now than I was when I was retired. Now I see patients, do research and teach. Also I’ve just received two new grants. I changed from being a ‘lab rat’ to becoming a clinical investigator – something I thought I’d never do. At a certain point it became apparent that I wouldn’t be able to get grants for my basic lab research , so I switched gears. Now I draw upon my clinical experience to obtain funding for both my clinical and research activities. 

Professor of Comparative Medicine

I haven't entirely decided to retire, but I wanted to step down as Chair. I think 15 years is long enough for anyone to be chair. Retirement factors I think about are:
Can I afford it? Since I didn't start a professional life until late, contributions to a retirement fund didn't begin until about 1976 . I was working almost entirely off grant funding; research salaries are often not as high as clinical salaries. As a single parent, I had two children to put through college by myself, so there wasn't a lot of saving until that was past. More »

Senior Faculty Transitions