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Skidmore College

College cited for best practices in retirement transitions

June 18, 2012

Skidmore College is receiving a $100,000 grant from the American Council on Education and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for its innovative work in faculty retirement.

Along with 14 other institutions honored, Skidmore demonstrated a best practice in three stages in culmination of faculty careers: the development of a legacy, the transition into retirement and the continuing involvement of faculty in the academic community post-retirement.

Skidmore has strengthened its connection with retired faculty through initiatives that encourage ongoing interaction with the College. Activities have included gatherings featuring College officers, who have provided campus news updates; social and educational events both on and off campus; and informational sessions, such as workshops and one-on-one meetings devoted to retirement planning. In addition, there are opportunities for retired faculty to maintain their intellectual connections to the College, by mentoring younger faculty; by working on a legacy project; by fostering connections with alumni/ae; or by pursuing academic projects with students.

In all cases, the goal has been to build capacity for retirees to remain connected to Skidmore and to each other.

Recently retired Vice President for Academic Affairs Susan Kress is delighted that Skidmore was recognized for its efforts to support faculty transitioning toward retirement and retired faculty. "Retired faculty are one of a College's richest resources. This award will help strengthen connections between the College and its retirees to the great benefit of both," said Kress.

"With the generous support of the Sloan Foundation, ACE is pleased to recognize institutions like Skidmore for creating win-win solutions that involve faculty in meaningful ways before, during and after retirement," said Gretchen Bataille, senior vice president for Leadership and Lifelong Learning at ACE.

"Our intent in funding these awards is to broaden the national conversation and the agenda within higher education to take into account the full scope of the culminating stage of faculty careers," said Kathleen Christensen, Working Longer program director, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. "We are hopeful these award winning institutions can provide examples for our community of thoughtful approaches that can be modeled."

The names of the other institutions honored, along with summaries of their award-winning activities, can be found on the ACE web site. In addition, each of the winners will draft a chapter about their campus practices which will be included in an upcoming ACE monograph. They will also have the opportunity to disseminate their best practices at conferences and in other venues.

"Transitioning into retirement marks an important phase in a faculty career," Senior Advisor and Project Director Claire Van Ummersen said. "These 15 colleges and universities are to be commended for their recognition and positive actions in addressing this major milestone."

Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation  is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, its Working Longer program is expanding understanding of aging Americans' work patterns.

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