ERIC Number: EJ1081232
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 82
Too Old to Teach? The Effect of Age on College and University Professors
Stonebraker, Robert J.; Stone, Gary S.
Research in Higher Education, v56 n8 p793-812 Dec 2015
With the elimination of mandatory retirement, the average age of college and university faculty members has increased. While this has raised some concerns, relatively little research has tried to measure the impact of this aging on productivity inside the classroom. Using data from the RateMyProfessors.com website for a large sample of instructors in a broad cross-section of colleges and universities, we find that age does affect teaching effectiveness, at least as perceived by students. Age has a negative impact on student ratings of faculty members that is robust across genders, groups of academic disciplines and types of institutions. However, the effect does not begin until faculty members reach their mid-forties and does not seem to increase even when they reach the former retirement ages of 65 or 70. Moreover, the quantitative impact of age on student ratings is small and can be offset by other factors, especially the physical appearance of professors and how easy students consider them to be. When we restrict our sample to those professors deemed hot by student raters, the effect of age disappears completely. We conclude that ending mandatory retirement has had little impact on student perceptions of faculty quality.
Descriptors: College Faculty, Age, Older Workers, Student Evaluation of Teacher Performance, Teacher Effectiveness, Productivity, Teacher Retirement
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A