PASEF: The Penn Association of Senior and Emeritus Faculty Annual Report AY 2019

Now in its 15th year, the Penn Association of Senior and Emeritus Faculty (PASEF) strives to organize programs and activities for its Members, encourage them to continue to remain active in the intellectual and social life of the University, and promote opportunities for  Members to render service to the University and the larger community. Major foci include assisting senior faculty in their transition to retirement; organizing lectures, excursions, and other social and intellectual events; and providing volunteer opportunities for Members. Encompassing both Standing Faculty in emeritus status and senior standing faculty age 55 and above, PASEF currently has 1,689 Members; 1,121 of these are senior faculty. This reflects both the growing tsunami of aging baby boomers as well as the greater longevity now enjoyed by our retirees. It also poses challenges in developing programs and services that suit the interests and needs of Members from age 55 to 100+. A sampling of our activities is described below.

Retirement Planning

Most highly subscribed of PASEF’s programs remains the series aimed at helping senior faculty plan mindfully for their own retirement. Given the importance of this life event to health and well-being, PASEF focuses not just on the financial implications, but also on the personal meanings and choices about what comes next in one’s life trajectory.  PASEF’s program series—Planning for Retirement—was enhanced this year by a new panel discussion Exploring Living Options in Retirement: The Continuing Care Retirement Community (November 28). Retirees living in different CCRCs spoke candidly about their decisions and transitions, and PASEF prepared and distributed a resource to assist interested Members to further explore this option. We continued our well-honed panel discussion by Members in various stages of their own retirement process, Negotiating the Retirement Transition: What’s Next? (February 27) and the program Nuts and Bolts of Faculty Retirement (March 27) on Penn’s choices, benefits & processes. Attendance ranged from 37 to 65 across the series. We also encouraged Members to attend Human Resources’ sessions on Medicare and Social Security in May. Our highly regarded publication, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Faculty Retirement (12th ed.), is available on our website. As further outreach, the Steering Committee met with School Deans/Department Chairs to apprise them of PASEF’s resources for their faculty. We consulted with Penn’s Department of Human Resources regarding messaging a change in health benefits management, and we advocated for individual faculty experiencing system challenges. Finally, this year’s Celebration for New Retirees (sponsored jointly by ASEF –PSOM and PASEF) feted 45 Members on May 8 in  the Jordan Medical Education Center Atrium, with remarks by Vice Provost for Faculty Anita Allen and background music by past president Roger Allen.

Intellectual & Social Events

Our Program Committee, chaired by Paul Shaman, organized several events this year (see Table 2). The Fall and Spring Distinguished Lectures were given by Craig Carnaroli (Innovation at Penn on October 4, preceding the 25-Year Club Reception in Houston Hall) and Jane Eisner (What Does the Surge of Anti-Semitism in America Really Mean? on May 2 in Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall). Monthly luncheon lectures at the University Club spanned Vincent Feldman’s Ours to Lose: Places in West Philadelphia at Risk of Being Forgotten, Dick Polman’s Review of the Midterm Elections, Stephen Senturia’s Anatomy of a Tenure Case, and Nancy Hodgson’s Better Living with Dementia. (See PASEF website for videos.) The Library Committee (Ann Mayer, chair) hosted two additional lectures, one a panel discussion on Contemporary Issues in Scientific Publishing with Lewis Kaplan, Darren Taichman, Richard James and Brigitte Burris and the other Becoming Penn by co-author John Puckett. Two outings, co-sponsored by PASEF and ASEF, took members to The National Constitution Center (October 24) and to the Academy of Vocal Arts (April 10), the latter especially well-subscribed. The Membership Committee, with Anita Summers as chair, continued its outreach and organizing efforts to better meet needs and interests, especially of senior Members, and to promote social connections. Members were enabled to continue free access to rehearsals of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and a theatre option with discussion or back stage tour is planned for Fall 2019. Meanwhile, an opportunity for Members to mentor international graduate students is in exploration. In March, we formally inaugurated  PASEF’s Lounge, a small furnished room in Duhring Wing available to Members for small group  meetings or sessions with mentees or colleagues; Vice Provost Allen was instrumental in securing and furnishing this space for us, and we borrowed art work from University Collections.

Volunteer Service

PASEF’s newly launched Community Involvement Committee (Jorge Santiago-Aviles and Gino Segrè, Co-Chairs) explored volunteer opportunities in affiliated West Philadelphia schools & libraries through the Netter Center and, with the Penn Center for Innovation Ventures and the Office for Global Initiatives, identified and publicized opportunities on Penn’s Campus. Council Members continue to represent PASEF on the Senate Executive Committee and its standing committees as well as the University Council Committee on Personnel Benefits, bringing historical and experiential wisdom to these agendas. PASEF is also represented on an ad hoc committee exploring the feasibility of a University-affiliated continuing care retirement community near the campus. PASEF’s 28-member Speakers Bureau (led by Roger Allen), a service now in its 3rd year, provided 18 lectures to Philadelphia-area organizations, including CCRCs, Rotary Clubs, Public Libraries and senior residences. Finally, Council agreed to sunset the Library Committee and to inaugurate in Fall 2019 the PASEF Library Liaison role to keep retired Members connected and informed about library services and advise the library on Member access or service needs.


PASEF’s 17-Member Council (See Table 1), led by a three-member Steering Committee, is broadly representative of the campus, meets monthly and populates its various committees and liaisons previously described.  PASEF is a member of the Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education (AROHE) and two Members, together with ASEF-PSOM leaders, attended its fall biennial conference. Challenges addressed this year included establishing clarity in committee roles and responsibilities, facilitating replacements for two early resignations (via Nominating Committee, Marc Dichter, chair), initiating new initiatives together with an already full agenda and without additional human resources, and significant delays in launching the new website (part of the Provost Office suite). In AY2020, we will initiate a process for archiving PASEF’s important materials, increase the frequency of brief communications with Members, and launch our new Website to provide timely access to PASEF’s resources. With support from Vice Provost Allen, we engaged a consultant to facilitate a very successful half-day strategic planning retreat in June. These efforts will help us prioritize and move to the next phase of organizational development, enabling PASEF to even better meet the needs of Members. We remain grateful for the intellectual, collegial and financial support received from Vice Provost Allen, for the able management of multiple assignments by Sarah Barr, part-time administrative coordinator, and for the consultative support of Jillian Powell in the Provost’s Office. Personally, I thank the PASEF Steering Committee and Council and our ASEF-PSOM colleagues for their support, guidance and collaboration. I look forward to what our 16th year will bring!

For information, contact: (215) 746-5972

—Lois K. Evans, PASEF President 2018-2019

Table 1. PASEF Council Membership 2018-2019

Roger M.A. Allen, SAS (Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations), Past President, Chair of Speakers Bureau

David P. Balamuth, SAS (Physics & Astronomy), Representative to University Council Committee on Personnel Benefits

Joretha Bourjolly, Social Policy & Practice, At-large member of Council

Janet Deatrick, Nursing (Family & Community Health), At-large member of Council, Co-Editor of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Faculty Retirement

Marc A. Dichter, Medicine (Neurology), At-large member of Council, Chair of Nominating Committee

Lois K. Evans, Nursing (Family & Community Health), President, Chair of Steering Committee

James Ferguson, Veterinary Medicine (Clinical Studies-New Bolton Center), President-Elect (until February)

Joel H. Greenberg, Medicine (Neurology), President, ASEF –PSOM

Howard I. Hurtig, Medicine, At-Large member of Council (elected October)

John C. Keene, Design (City and Regional Planning), At-large member of Council, Representative to Senate Committee on Faculty Development, Diversity & Equity

Walter Licht, SAS (History), At-large member of Council (until September)

Ann Mayer, Wharton (Legal Studies & Business Ethics), At-large member of Council, Chair of Library Committee

Marshall W. Meyer, Wharton (Management), Representative to Senate Committee on Faculty and the Administration

Martin Pring, Medicine (Physiology), At-large member of Council, Representative to Senate Executive Committee, Senior Editor of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Faculty Retirement

Jorge J. Santiago-Aviles, SEAS (Electrical and Systems Engineering), At-large member of Council, Co-Chair Community Involvement Committee

Gino C. Segrè, SAS (Physics & Astronomy), At-large member of Council, Representative to Senate Committee on Faculty and the Academic Mission, Co-Chair Community Involvement Committee

Paul Shaman, Wharton (Statistics), Secretary, Chair of Program Committee, President-elect(elected April)

Anita A. Summers, Wharton (Business Economics and Public Policy), Representative to Senate Committee on Students and Educational Policy (SCSEP), Representative to Retirement Community Committee, Chair of Membership Committee

Former Presidents: Benjamin Shen, Gerald Porter, Neville Strumpf, Vivian Seltzer, Roger Allen, Ross Webber, Rob Roy MacGregor, Jack Nagel, Anita Summers, Paul Shaman