PRISM Magazine On-Line  - December 1999
Grappling with an Age-Old Problem

Frank L. HubandOur population is aging. As America grays, the AARP has become a lobby with clout, and it seems that suddenly articles and advice abound on subjects ranging from investment to long-term health care.

Retirement, however, is a subject of abiding interest. Medical coverage, office and research space, student contact, and school affiliation are among the concerns for faculty members considering retirement. Meanwhile, engineering college deans are trying to maintain research and teaching capability in traditional areas that are still important, while also developing the ability to contribute in newly significant areas. As pressures mount, many schools are looking more creatively at retirement packages. This month's Prism article, "Out to Pasture?" examines these issues.

An emerging research area is the relationship, and the overlap, between the life sciences and engineering. The baby boom generation has made it clear that they expect creative design and new products to make their later years easier. "New Age for the Elderly," this month's cover story, examines how engineers are using technology to dramatically improve the lives of a growing number of older adults. New biological and technical systems are being developed today as never before, and though engineers cannot actually hold back the years, they are working creatively to make aging easier, not only for the baby boom generation, but for us all.

How do you feel about retirement? Do you look forward to doing something new and different, or are you determined to never retire? What about the rest of the faculty at your institution? Are they aging in place or becoming younger by the year? If you have thoughts to share, I would enjoy, as always, hearing from you.


Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher