Monday, October 16, 2006

Faculty follies - redeployment option for senescent wackademic

Under the new staff agreement at my institution, there is no compulsory retirement age. Now I know for a fact that many hitherto mentally competent individuals go through a process of intellectual degeneration when they reach an advanced age - on the face of it therefore, no retirement at age 65 could be a problem. (Some academics are bound to lose their marbles before they retire at an advanced age.)

While I am an optimist, I do have a passing concern now and again as I rocket towards, and past 60, 65... and proceed towards my 8th decade. My concern? - will I still be able to hold down my job at the university when I get decrepit? If I go ga ga, will anyone notice?

It is a comfort to me that many of my colleagues in teacher education are ga ga anyway - and have always been so. So I would have to undergo significant degeneration before I stood out from the crowd. Not only that, but if I became really incapacitated - incoherent, babbling, drooling etc, I could simply be redeployed to another faculty and school. Humanities and cultural studies perhaps. I could hang out in such a setting for decades and not be noticed. I might even become something of an iconic celebrity intellectual. It has happened before.