Retired professors. Retention of the university email account. 27.12.2023

Retired professors. Retention of the university email account. 27.12.2023

Retention of university email address of higher education teachers after retirement. A Statement Paper.

Content

History

A Statement Paper

Professors Emeriti Ethical and Legal Aspect Group

The Role of Professors Emeriti

Supporters

Publications

History

Professors Emeriti Network is a component of the Inter-Municipality Initiative: Cross-border eCollaboration in the eRegion. The initiative was established in the meeting on February 10, 2011. Numerous activities (meetings, workshops, conferences) have been organized and supported by its Members in the last twelve years.

A working group Professors Emeriti Ethical and Legal Aspect Group was formed by the Professors Emeriti Network on 8th of November 2021. Its objectives were in line with the statements of the European Commission in the GREEN PAPER ON AGEING Fostering solidarity and responsibility between generations (Brussels, 27.1.2021).

In the group, we found that there are number of issues which professors emeriti have regarding their participation in the teaching and research activities of their universities. The group agreed to prepare a paper for the congress of the European Association of Emeritus Professors. The paper Ethical and legal aspects related to the contributions of emeriti professors to the public good has been published in the proceedings (Čok, Lucija; Campanella, Luigi; Christodoulou, George N.; Gričar, Jože; Mayr, Heinrich Christian; Le Navenec, Carole-Lynne; Sadlek, Greg. The Capital of Knowledge: 2nd International Congress. European Association of Professors Emeriti, Naples, April 28-30, 2022, pp 43-48).

The problems we have identified include the experience of retired professors at universities that terminate professor’s university email account upon retirement.

We recognize that the established practice of all universities is that emeriti professors enjoy unchanged access to university information technology. Thus, the problem is primarily with the thousands of our colleagues, retired professors, who do not have this title. We must strive to repair this unfair and short-sighted practice. For many reasons, maintaining a university email account after retirement is good for retirees, universities and society as a whole. In order to draw attention to the problem and encourage the search for solutions, we published a Statement Paper Retention of university email address of higher education teachers after retirement on December 27, 2023.

A Statement Paper

Providing retired professors with a university email account can be seen as a fair practice for several reasons:

  • Continuity and Collaboration: Retired professors may still be engaged in scholarly activities, collaborative research, or mentorship roles. Having access to a university email account allows them to stay connected with current faculty, students, and research projects. This continuity can foster ongoing collaboration and the exchange of knowledge.
  • Access to Resources: Retired professors often retain their ability to make scholarly contributions but may need access to certain university resources, databases, or libraries to continue their research or scholarly pursuits. Providing them with an email account ensures continued access to these resources.
  • Technical assistance: Just like students and those actively employed, retired professors occasionally need the help of an expert from the university’s IT support department. If they do not have access to this resource, they lose contact with frequent IT innovations and updated software.
  • Professional Networking: An active university email account allows retired professors to maintain professional connections within the larger academic community beyond the walls of their universities. Via email, they can stay informed about conferences, seminars, and other events, facilitating essential networking opportunities.
  • Mentorship and Guidance: Retired professors may continue to provide mentorship and guidance to current students or junior faculty. An ongoing email account facilitates communication with individuals seeking advice, guidance, or support.
  • Recognition of Contributions: Offering a university email account to retired professors can be seen as a well-deserved recognition of their past contributions to the institution. It acknowledges their long-standing commitment to academia and to the university community.
  • Retired Faculty Status: Some universities have programs or policies that recognize retired faculty as a distinct category with certain privileges, including email access. This status acknowledges the ongoing value retired professors bring to the academic community.

Although some universities already offer continuing email privileges to retired faculty members, others terminate these accounts on the day of retirement. This termination raises questions about the ethics and culture of the university’s leadership because such policies stifle the potential of retirees who are still able and willing to do research. Such policies hardly reflect the appropriate gratitude for the work of those who have contributed so much to the university over the course of their active careers. Moreover, these policies ignore the importance of digitization in today’s world as well as the role of the university in promoting lifelong learning.

We recognize that the established practice of all universities is that emeriti professors enjoy unchanged access to university information technology. Thus, the problem is primarily with the thousands of our colleagues, retired professors, who do not have this title. We must strive to repair this unfair and short-sighted practice.

A university that allows its professors to retain a university email account even after retirement can be described as age friendly. We want there to be as many age-friendly universities as possible around the world, because this is good for retired colleagues, for universities, and for society as a whole. We appreciate your support and actions in 2024. You are welcome to encourage your colleagues to participate by sending a copy of this document to members of the networks and universities with which you are in contact.

Professors Emeriti Ethical and Legal Aspect Group

Professors Emeriti Ethical and Legal Aspect Group

Expert Working Group on Ethical and Legal Aspect

Professors Emeriti Network8th of November 2021

 

Dr. Luigi Campanella, Professor Emeritus

Department of Chemistry, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Past General Secretary, European Association of Professors Emeriti – EAPE & Chairman, Ethics Committee, General Secretary, EAPE Italy

Luigi.Campanella@UniRoma1.it

 

Dr. Lucija Čok, Professor Emerita
Former Rector, University of Primorska, Slovenia

Coordinator, Professors Emeriti Ethical and Legal Aspect Group (since November 8, 2021), Professors Emeriti Network

Lucija.Cok@UPr.si

 

Dr. Jože Gričar, Professor Emeritus 

University of Maribor, Slovenia

Secretary, Professors Emeriti Network, Secretary, eSeniors 55+ Network

Joze.Gricar@UM.si

 

Dr. Carole-Lynne Le Navenec, Associate Professor Emerita

University of Calgary, Canada
Program  Committee Member & Editor, monthly eLetter, University of Calgary Retirees Association (UCRA), Board Member and Chairperson, Later Life Learning Committee, College and University Retiree Associations of Canada – CURAC 

CLLeNave@UCalgary.ca

 

Dr.Dr.Hc Heinrich C. Mayr, Professor Emeritus
Former Rector, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Austria
Application Engineering Research
Heinrich.Mayr@AAU.at

 

Dr. Gregory M Sadlek, Professor Emeritus/Dean Emeritus
College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences – CLASS, Cleveland State University, OH, USA
G.Sadlek@CSUOhio.edu

The Role of Professors Emeriti

It is a general policy for universities around the world that Emeriti professors retain their rights to their university email accounts and IT technology after retirement.  For this reason, some Emeriti professors are not aware that other retired academics without the title “Emeritus/a” sometimes lose these same rights.

In fact, there are two types of universities: the first cancel university email addresses when professors who are not Emeriti retire, those in the second category do not. In fact, universities are autonomous in this regard, independent of the size or prestige of the university. Termination of university email accounts is a problem, then, at all those universities in the first category.

Indeed, some of retired professors who served at universities in the first group discover only gradually that problems develop because they have lost their email accounts. Among these problems are the loss of accessibility to e-journals and databases and the inability to use a variety of university computer programs.  Despite being discouraged, some resign themselves to this state of affairs, believing that nothing can be done.  Others are too embarrassed to ask that this access be restored to them.  Yet, the decision to grant access to email accounts and other IT services is simply a managerial decision.  While some university administrations are age-friendly, others are not. Yet, denying this access runs counter to fundamental principles of human cooperation.

It is no surprise that the general level of IT use is declining over time among retired professors, like retirees in general.  For example, the loss of advice from a university’s IT support staff is among the most critical problems caused by such policies, even though some IT support staff report bypassing university policies and helping retirees when they can.  Nevertheless, as a result of this loss of professional support, affected retirees may not keep up with new technologies and software updates, and some simply stop using IT all together. Some even give up on continuing their research. In sum, these retirees can no longer take advantage of the benefits that IT can provide to creative and active aging.  For those who have spent their lives serving their institution of higher education, this seems unfair and unethical.

Simply put, the results of these kinds of policies include the loss of the intellectual capital of the affected retirees.  After a certain time, this capital can no longer be retrieved.  Since people are living longer today, the loss of this intellectual capital robs society of opportunities that retired professors could provide.  They cannot make a contribution to the silver economy.

It is discouraging to note that the administrations of universities with such restrictive policies seem to be fine with the status quo, and have only limited continuing interaction with their retired professors.

Emeriti professors can play an important role in addressing this situation. They can pledge their voice and influence to retired colleagues who do not have Emeriti status. They would do this because, based on their own experience, they know very well how beneficial it is to maintain access to university IT and everything related to it.

They would take up this cause not for themselves, but for their former colleagues. Specifically, Emeriti professors can influence the policy of the university’s management by proposing that, regarding the possibility of continuing use of university IT, the treatment of all retired professors should be equal to that of Emeriti.

By joining the campaign Supporting the preservation of the university e-mail accounts of retired higher education teachers, Emeriti Professors would be demonstrating the possibilities of cooperation among retired professors as well as the eCollaboration of members of the respective networks. For example:

All retired academics are, then, kindly invited to join this campaign. The coordinates of those joining will be published in the group “Supporters” on this website.

Supporters

Dr. Dom Caristi, Professor Emeritus

Department of Media, Ball State University, USA

Board of Directors, Fulbright Association Indiana Chapter

Member, Broadcast Education Association

DGCaristi@BSU.edu

 

Dr. Anna Grabowska, Head, Autodesk Academic Partner and Academy of Third Age
Founder of the Distance Education Centre at Gdansk University of Technology, Poland
Founding Member, Association of Academic E-learning, Advisor U3A online, Member, Steering Committee of U3A Communities
Anka.Grabowska@gmail.com

 

Dr. Michael Kunze, MD, Professor Emeritus

Medical University of Vienna, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Center for Public Health, Austria

Michael.Kunze@MedUniWien.ac.at

 

 Dr. Gordon Murray OBE, Professor Emeritus

University of Exeter, United Kingdom

G.Murray@Exeter.ac.uk

 

Dr. Bernhard Schrefler, Professor Emeritus, Mechanics of Biological Materials
Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Padua, Italy
Bernhard.Schrefler@dicea.UniPd.it

 

 Gaetano Thiene, MD, Professor Emeritus
University of Padua, Italy
Gaetano.Thiene@UniPd.it

 

Dr. Bogusława Urbaniak, Professor

Department of Labour and Social Policy, Faculty of Economics and SociologyUniversity of Łódź, Poland

Boguslawa.Urbaniak@Uni.Lodz.pl

 

Dr. Doug Vogel, Professor of Information Systems & eHealth Research Institute Director
Harbin Institute of Technology, China
Fellow and Past-President, Association for Information Systems – AIS
Member, Cross-border eCollaboration Consortium
Fellow, Australian Institute of Digital Health – AIDH, South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in association with the University of the Third Age
Vogel.Doug@gmail.com

Publications

Retention of university email address of higher education teachers after retirement. A Statement Paper. Published by Professors Emeriti Ethical and Legal Aspect Group, Professors Emeriti Network, December 27, 2023.

Developing the Silver Economy and Related Government Resources for Seniors. A Position Paper. Global Network of Associations & Networks: Retirees Developing Silver Economy. September 19, 2022.

Minister of Seniors Appointment. Position Paper. Professors Emeriti Network. April 21, 2021.

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