Report to CUCRA on the AROHE 10th Anniversary Conference October 21-24, 2012

Hosted by: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

      North Carolina Central University, Durham

      North Carolina State University, Raleigh

There were over 120 conference attendees with approximately 65% academicians and 44% involved in the program as speakers /presenters and conveners. The conference presentations and tone reflected the increased involvement of retired faculty over previous conferences.

Conference Theme: Innovations for the Next Decade

Keynote Addresses:

Outer Space, Inner Space, Creative Space

Professor of English, Trudier Harris of University of Alabama, presented challenging ideas about moving beyond traditional ways of thinking and moving into the future of Mars.

Outer Space includes downsizing housing, getting rid of stuff, streamlining and creating a leaner environment.

Inner Space is about one’s attitude and developing a healthy inner space that finds ways to deal with loneliness, and adjust to a new way of being. Inertia leads to dehabilitation. Younger retirees can adopt older retirees to help keep them healthy.

Creative Space continues developing or expanding the use of one’s hand, body and mind/imagination.

Retirement Planning and the Future of Pension Plans in the US

Professor of Economics, Robert Clark of North Carolina State University, spoke on the importance of having financial literacy with informational programs starting when persons are hired. He stressed the need to make plans for income security early, as well as when nearing retirement and in postretirement, and the importance of saving, investment decisions and diversity and when to take social security. There is a shift from defined  benefit plans to defined contribution plans.  The private sector will not have benefit plans. Social security and medicine will change in the future with the demographics driving the changes to social security, such as raising payroll taxes results in persons having  less.

Rethinking Aging: Growing Old and Living Well on an Overtreated Society

Professor of Medicine, Nortin Hadler of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has written 10 books and many articles about aging and medicine and his latest book was the title of his talk. He spoke on longevity with the first law for a medical school student being “the death rate is one per person”. While the average life expectancy has increased, mortality can be decreased significantly if persons like their jobs.

There are a number of medical procedures which have limited benefit which he categorized as Type II Medical Malpractice: all manner of stinted coronary artery bypass grafts, arthroscopy, spine surgery for backache and “spine stresses” and vertebroplasty. With regard to the proliferation of screening tests, the questions to ask: are they accurate, are they looking for something important and can they do something about it. Being well is being able to cope with the situations of life.

Retirement in Academia, Rethinking Politics, Priorities and Procedures

Professor and Director of Journalism and Mass Communication, David Perlmutter of University of Iowa, spoke about making the intellectual transition to retirement.  One of the biggest needs is mentoring and emeritus faculty are an untapped resource. Help is needed for faculty to make the decision about whether one should make the decision to retire and when and where to retire. How are emeritus faculty treated on your campus? Is it with engagement, respect and honor to those who made it a great university? There is a lot to gain from helping each other bridge between the department and the emeriti faculty and across disciplinary lines.

Concurrent Sessions

The concurrent sessions covered a variety of areas. Some topics that were common to previous AROHE conferences include:

Oral, written or video histories both personal memories and work related

Emeritus Colleges

Developing Volunteer Programs

Starting a Retirement Organization

AROHE Survey Update

Retirement Housing

Health Care and Wellness

Special emphasis was given to:

Changing Interests of New Retirees

Fraud

Investments

Establishing Local Consortia of AROHE

Items for CUCRA’S Consideration and Possible Development

Following are some areas CUCRA may be interested in developing:

Adapting or presenting workshops or one day programs using the UC presenters at AROHE

Convening a statewide colloquia of UC and other universities to form a California division of AROHE

Extending or adapting programs that engage emeriti to staff retirees

Facilitating the use of AROHE resources and data in UC retiree associations

Exploring interest and ways to seek outside grants or funds for staff similar to ACE program

 

I very much appreciate the opportunity to represent CUCRA at this conference and want to thank you for the honor and support.           Deanna Falge Pritchard