Psychology Faculty Publications

Title

Life Meanings for Past and Present: Case Studies of Four Retired Faculty

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-2009

Journal Title

Educational Research Quarterly

Volume

32

Issue

4

First Page

17

Last Page

35

Abstract

This empirical study employed the inductive qualitative research method with four faculty who retired from a private, religiously affiliated, Midwestern university. Participants possessed diverging experiences and representative prototypes. The literature suggests that higher education likely will experience significant numbers of retired faculty within the next decade. However, relatively little has been reported about this population, motivating us to utilize qualitative methodology. Analysis of transcribed interviews showed four different portraits emerging. In "A Life of Service, the woman represents faculty who continue professional activities after formal retirement. "Vaguely Dissatisfied," typifies faculty who felt squeezed into retirement and are not generally happy in this life phase. The third we labeled, "Renaissance Man." He has used retirement as a time to peruse new intellectual pursuits and find personal fulfillment. We called our final account, "Family Affair." This person belongs to a generation of women for whom family is particularly meaningful. For her, retirement has centered around connections with children and grandchildren, with professional interests from retirement day.

Keywords

Qualitative research, higher education, retirement, faculty

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