Research in Higher Education

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 301–316 | Cite as

Emeritus professors: Correlates of professional activity in retirement

  • Lorraine T. Dorfman


The major purpose of this study was to investigate correlates of professional activity of professors in retirement. The investigation focused on a number of variables related to the nature of academic work, including professional role orientation, professional affiliations and contacts, material supports, department, and the state of knowledge in various fields. Sixty-four University of Iowa emeritus professors who continued to reside in the Iowa City area during the entire year, and thus had opportunity to maintain University contacts and use University facilities, were interviewed. The most striking finding was the high degree of consistency between level of professional activity during the preretirement career and level of professional activity in retirement. Significant correlates of professional activity in retirement included rated importance of research or other creative work, strength of ties to colleagues and professional organizations outside the University, contacts with former students, and departmental membership in the older, traditional professions.


Education Research Professional Organization Major Purpose Professional Affiliation Professional Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Atchley, R. C.The social forces in later life. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1977.Google Scholar
  2. Benz, M. A study of faculty and administrative staff who have retired from NYU.Journal of Educational Sociology 1958,31 282–293.Google Scholar
  3. Clark, B. Faculty culture. In T. Lunsford (Ed.),The study of campus cultures. Boulder, Colo.: Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, 1963.Google Scholar
  4. Dennis, W. Creative productivity between the ages of 20 and 80 years. In B. Neugarten (Ed.),Middle age and aging. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968.Google Scholar
  5. Dorfman, L. T. Emeritus professors review university retirement policies.Journal of the College and University Personnel Association 1979,30 13–25.Google Scholar
  6. Fillenbaum, G., & Maddox, G. Work after retirement: An investigation into some psychologically relevant variables.The Gerontologist 1974,14 418–424.Google Scholar
  7. Gouldner, A. W. Cosmopolitans and locals: toward an analysis of latent social roles.Administrative Science Quarterly 1957–1958,2 281–306; 444–480.Google Scholar
  8. Havighurst, R., McDonald, W., Perun, P., & Snow, R.Social scientists and educators: lives after sixty. Chicago: Committee on Human Development, 1976 (mimeographed).Google Scholar
  9. Havighurst, R. J., McDonald, W. F., Mauelen, L., & Mazel, J. Male social scientists: lives after sixty.The Gerontologist 1979,19 55–60.Google Scholar
  10. Ingraham, M. (in collaboration with Mulanaphy, J.)My purpose holds: Reactions and experiences in retirement of TIAA-CREF annuitants. New York: Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association/College Retirement Equities Fund, 1974.Google Scholar
  11. Moore, E. H. Professors in retirement.Journal of Gerontology 1951,6 243–252.Google Scholar
  12. Parsons, T., & Platt, G. Higher education and changing socialization. In M. Riley, M. Johnson, & A. Foner, (Eds.),Aging and society, vol. III: a sociology of age stratification. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1972.Google Scholar
  13. Parsons, T., & Platt, G.The American university. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973.Google Scholar
  14. Roman, P., & Taietz, P. Organizational structure and disengagement.The Gerontologist 1967,7 147–152.Google Scholar
  15. Rowe, A. The retirement of academic scientists.Journal of Gerontology 1972,27 113–118.Google Scholar
  16. Rowe, A. Scientists in retirement.Journal of Gerontology 1973,28 345–350.Google Scholar
  17. Rowe, A. Retired academics and research activity.Journal of Gerontology 1976,31 456–461.Google Scholar
  18. Streib, G. Changing perspectives on retirement: role crises or role continuities. In R. Wirt, G. Winokur, and M. Roff (Eds.),Life history research in psychopathology, vol. IV. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1975.Google Scholar
  19. Wilensky, H. The professionalization of everyone?American Journal of Sociology 1964,70 137–158.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Agathon Press, Inc. 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorraine T. Dorfman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Home EconomicsThe University of IowaUSA

Personalised recommendations