Sounds ominous. But it's really just an incentive to pull the trigger on retiring, figuratively speaking. From The Chronicle of Higher Education.
One Idea to Ease Faculty Into Retirement: the ‘Terminal Sabbatical’
Faculty members can work as long as they want, a right that began with the end of mandatory retirement in 1994. Many haven’t been shy about exercising that right, and the American professoriate is decidedly grayer than a generation ago.
This creates complications for colleges, including by limiting their flexibility in making decisions about budgets and about academic programming. It also exacerbates job-market pressures for some new Ph.D.s who see a glut of aging scholars contributing to the dearth of job openings. All this was on the minds of Widener University administrators when they conceived of a new option they’d like to begin offering soon: the terminal sabbatical.
The idea is to allow eligible faculty members — based on years of service — to take a one-year sabbatical from which they would then retire, without returning to the faculty. Julie E. Wollman, Widener’s president, says she hopes such a program would encourage more professors to retire by easing their transition out of campus life. That, in turn, would free up money in the budget and allow administrators to more nimbly shift money to emerging priorities.
Administrators are just beginning to sketch out the specifics of their idea, and to pitch it to faculty, but they envision that a professor who takes a terminal sabbatical would continue to receive a salary and benefits for one year while doing the kind of work one would do on a typical sabbatical, like research and writing. The sabbatical might also include some form of service to the university, like performing an analysis of a proposed program or helping to revamp curricula.
Offering a structured sabbatical program at the end of a professor’s academic career is unusual, says Janette C. Brown, executive director of the Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education. Many colleges, though, are paying more attention to easing tenured faculty members’ transition into retirement. Phased retirements, in which professors work progressively fewer hours for one or more years, are common.