The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: April 20, 1999

Retired UI faculty members form Emeritus Faculty Council

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Retirement from academic life usually brings a welcome end to the obligation to participate in a long-standing tradition of university life: the committee. But a group of emeritus faculty has voluntarily come out of committee retirement to form the first ever University of Iowa Emeritus Faculty Council.

The council grew out of a task force charged by the UI provost and the vice president for research with finding out what emeritus faculty need from the university as well as what university needs emeritus faculty could help to fill. The task force recommended establishing the council as a permanent advisory and advocate group.

As its first order of business, the council will review the other recommendations the task force forwarded to the provost and vice president for research. Jim Clifton, professor emeritus of medicine and chair of the council, said the council will explore having emeritus faculty serve as student advisors, as mentors for new faculty members and new department chairs, and as members of scholarship committees, among other tasks.

"We recognize that the faculty are hard pressed with their teaching and research responsibilities," he said. "We've all been there ourselves so we know there are areas where emeritus faculty might pitch in to relieve working faculty."

Clifton said the council also will be an advocate for emeritus faculty. "We have all gone through the process of retiring from this university so we can be available to help those who are starting their retirement," he said. The council hopes to recommend ways the university could better serve the UI's more than 400 retired faculty members including designating a single employee in the university benefits office as the emeritus faculty resource person.

Lee Anna Clark, associate provost for faculty, is the liaison between the council and the administration. "Our emeritus faculty have been an untapped resource," she said. "They can contribute to the ongoing educational mission of the university in a way they have not in the past, simply because no one ever asked them to."

Initial members of the council, in addition to Clifton, are: Janusz Bardach, otolaryngology; Samuel Becker, communication studies; Peg Burke, sport, health, leisure, and physical studies; Joan Cantor, psychology; Frank Cheng, radiology; Robert Engel, planning policy and leadership studies; Beatrice Furner, curriculum and instruction; Lawrence Gelfand, history; Robert Kremenak, dentistry; John Long, pharmacology; Jerry Nordquist, economics; Jean Reese, nursing;
Duane (Sprie) Spriestersbach, speech pathology and audiology; and David Vernon, law.

"Most emeritus faculty have given many years — some their entire careers — to this university, and just because you retire doesn't mean you lose interest in it," Clifton said. "You like to see it prosper and continue to grow in positive ways."

The UI Emeritus Faculty Council meets the first Monday of every month at 10 a.m. For more information, contact Clifton at (319) 351-1561 or