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Emeritae, Emeriti

The word “emeritus” may have its roots in a meaning of “out of” or “from” merit. It is a title often given to retired faculty at universities. Some universities reserve this title only for those of extraordinary merit. Increasingly, almost all retired faculty are provided such a title. We have a strong set of emeritus professors at Georgetown.

Early in my tenure as the provost at Georgetown, I met with the Association of Main Campus Retired Faculty. I learned much from that encounter, not the least of which was a set of stories of earlier days at Georgetown. It was a great part of my orientation to campus.

I also learned that Georgetown could do better at supporting the group and honoring their service to the institution.

My feelings toward emeriti, in general, were shaped throughout my career. The current retired faculty are significant contributors to the Georgetown we now enjoy. They devoted decades of their lives to building the reputation of the school. Their scholarship was key to the reputation of individual departments. Their contributions to the formation of generations of students produced the commitment to the university among our alumni. We owe them. We owe them respect and thanks for that service, but also we owe them, in ways possible within budget constraints, a continued link with the university.

So, working with the group, we’re reiterating and strengthening a set of benefits to the emeriti. These include continued use of a faculty identification card, continued Georgetown email access, full library privileges, the funding of small research grants to facilitate completion of work, computer help-desk access, and free parking for official meetings on campus. The Office of the Provost will support the meetings of the association and help arrange meeting rooms.

We will continue to support the emeriti work in the Georgetown University Learning Community, which offers courses taught by emeriti for the neighborhood and the larger public. This is a key contribution to strengthening Georgetown ties with the larger DC community. It does us proud.

In addition we’ll attempt to find hoteling-based office space for emeriti to share if they need to work on campus (this is perhaps the hardest task we’re attempting, given tight space constraints on the Hilltop). We’ll ask departments to create a single mailbox for emeriti who wish to receive mail at their department office.

Further, I’ll meet with the group on a set of scheduled meetings to discover new ways to integrate the emeriti into the life of the campus in ways that build a stronger Georgetown.

Many Georgetown emeritus faculty continue their scholarship deep into retirement; many have energy to contribute more to Georgetown in ways we’d all value. Creating policies to support this merits attention.

7 thoughts on “Emeritae, Emeriti

  1. It would be nice to be able to stipend retired faculty for teaching at a decent rate. I’ve been in the position of wishing to hire a retired faculty member for one or two courses a year, but being told that we could only pay the part-time adjunct rate. Surely someone who has been a star teacher at Georgetown for over 30 years should get more than the adjunct rate we pay part-timers right out of graduate school?

  2. Thank you for this post, Bob.

    May I suggest that the emeritus organization for Georgetown change their by-laws so that non-tenured professors who have contributed for some time to the mission also be included into their activities and continuing contributions? I have been approached by many of these “non-tenure line” faculty who have been part of the Georgetown fabric for many years and who would like to continue to contribute and be recognized for their contributions to the University’s mission.

  3. Great post. Totally agree that retired faculty have much to continue the university. I attended a mini course last year and it was superb. I look forward to your efforts to connect, honor,and utilize their tremendous talents.

  4. Apropos the comments above, retired faculty can and would often like to have a greater role in regular teaching especially at advanced undergrad or master’s levels. But to be effective, and adequately compensated, the business model should be better aligned with the academic model. The re-engagement of retired faculty is fundamentally different from the common notion of adjuncts (leave substitutions or other temporary needs)

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Office of the ProvostBox 571014 650 ICC37th and O Streets, N.W., Washington D.C. 20057Phone: (202) 687.6400Fax: (202) 687.5103provost@georgetown.edu

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