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The Society of Senior Scholars

February 4, 2009

Retired faculty, like alumni, are looking for meaningful ways to stay connected to the University that has been such a significant part of their lives. Now, an organization exists precisely for that purpose. The Society of Senior Scholars was created to build an ongoing relationship between Colorado State University and its retired faculty.

Society of Senior ScholarsWant to be involved

According to Robert Zimdahl, professor emeritus of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management and one of the founders of the organization, “Many retired faculty want to continue to be involved in some way. This is a large, dedicated group of committed people who have given their lives to CSU in time, energy, and expertise. They want to continue to be intellectually engaged and involved in the continued growth and change of the university.”

Tom Gorell, vice president for Administrative Services, describes the organization as a ‘win-win’ situation. “There’s a great deal of wisdom there and we need to provide opportunities so both sides can benefit from their experience.”

Support and opportunities

For retired faculty, the Senior Scholars can provide advocacy on everything from keeping current on campus events and issues, keeping connected via a University Electronic Identity (eID), or having access to university services and facilities, to more essential issues such as health care.

“Basically, we assist retired faculty members in living rich, productive lives in their retirement years,” says Jerry Eckert, professor emeritus of Agricultural and Resource Economics and a member of the Senior Scholars.

That is what prompted the Senior Scholars to sponsor a monthly lecture series that is free and open to the public. This helps retirees, and all attendees, stay current on issues affecting the campus and community.

Eckert has also developed a retirement guide for faculty that provides a step by step countdown to retirement, as well as sections on perks and privileges of retirement, staying connected to CSU, and how to maintain your CSU identity. The guide is available on the Senior Scholars website.

University benefits

How does the University benefit? According to both Zimdahl and Eckert, the University “can access our skills as they need them.” Retired faculty teach, give guest lectures in classes, join in research efforts, publish, serve as mentors for young faculty members, and sit on graduate advisory committees. They could be called in to analyze or evaluate an issue – a ‘think tank’ of years of combined wisdom. They are part of CSU’s public image representing the University both on and off campus.

Zimdahl says the Society of Senior Scholars will conduct an annual survey of the continued academic contributions of retired faculty and where and how they can be reached. “Eventually, if an alumnus would want to know whatever happened to that professor who taught that great course, this organization will try to know where they are, how they are, what they’re doing, and how to put you in touch with them.”

This article was originally published in Around the Oval magazine. To subscribe to Around the Oval, become a member of the CSU Alumni Association.

Contact: Hedy Berman
Phone: (970) 491-6533