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Serv Sci. 2012 Mar;4(1):69-78.

Nonfixed Retirement Age for University Professors: Modeling Its Effects on New Faculty Hires.

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Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139.


We model the set of tenure-track faculty members at a university as a queue, where "customers" in queue are faculty members in active careers. Arrivals to the queue are usually young, untenured assistant professors, and departures from the queue are primarily those who do not pass a promotion or tenure hurdle and those who retire. There are other less-often-used ways to enter and leave the queue. Our focus is on system effects of the elimination of mandatory retirement age. In particular, we are concerned with estimating the number of assistant professor slots that annually are no longer available because of the elimination of mandatory retirement. We start with steady-state assumptions that require use of Little's Law of Queueing, and we progress to a transient model using system dynamics. We apply these simple models using available data from our home university, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Age Discrimination in Employment Act; Little’s Law; education; mandatory retirement age; modeling; queues; retirement policy; simulation; system dynamics; university faculty; workforce management

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