Schools like Johns Hopkins lose a lot when professors retire. Brilliant minds are out of the classroom, brilliant researchers are out of the labs; plus, it’s harder to maintain relationships and institutional knowledge once professors switch to emeritus status. But the professors lose out, too — once retired, they have less access to the university’s resources and community. So Johns Hopkins decided to “change in dramatic ways the meaning and experience of retirement” through founding a new institution with the stately name: The Academy at Johns Hopkins.
What is the Academy, exactly? Well, in the future it’ll be an actual physical space, although that won’t happen for a few more years. For now, active members will get research budgets, administrative support, and a budget to host seminars, workshops, and colloquia. Academy members won’t get paid — they are retired, after all — but they will get health insurance benefits.
In other words, scholars with a long-standing habit of engaging with ideas will still have the money, status, and space to do so, without having to teach or go to faculty meetings. It’s forward-thinking of Hopkins to realize that for many people, a retirement spent in front of a TV screen doesn’t sound like much fun at all. Kudos to the school for taking steps to further research and support the scholarly community.
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