Rutgers dedicates center to keep retired faculty connected
The Retired Faculty Association of Rutgers University hosts a mix of educational and enrichment programming, including one program that introduced retirees to cuisines from different countries, said Todd Hunt, executive director of the RFA.
“You walk away from teaching, and you’ve been organizing courses and lessons and material and information, and then it’s kind of hard to just walk about and say ‘now I can work in my garden 100 percent of the time,’” he said.
Hunt, former acting dean of the Rutgers School of Communication and Information, retired in the 1998, said the RFA was put together in 1999.
Brent Ruben, executive director of the University Center for Organizational Development and Leadership, asked Hunt to outline a plan for an association of retired faculty the very week Hunt retired.
Although he needed a few months of breathing time to settle as a retired professor, Hunt had the association up and running by the spring of 1999.
Aside from the RFA, other organizations for retired faculty include the Silver Knights: Rutgers Staff Retirees Association, the AAUP Emeriti Assembly of Rutgers University and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Retired Faculty Association, RFA’s partner organization according to the RFA website.
A new space for representatives of all of these organizations to come together and collaborate opened on Route 1 in New Brunswick two weeks ago, Hunt said. The center is housed in the Rutgers University Human Resources building.
“When you’re hired by Rutgers, you go to human resources to fill out forms that have to do with your retirement plan and all sorts of things,” he said. “When you retire, you go to human resources for workshops on how to retire, what things have to be done when you retire.”
The Retired Faculty and Staff Association is an overarching umbrella organization for the different retiree groups on all of the Rutgers campuses, including the Silver Knights and the AAUP Assembly, according to Rutgers Today.
The organizations all have different meeting places. The Silver Knights meet in the dining hall facilities, and the AAUP Assembly has a house on Stone Street.
Though the center was dedicated two weeks ago, Hunt said the different retiree associations have been meeting in it since last October.
Hunt said today, representatives from all of the retiree organizations plan to meet at the center to collaborate and talk about programming.
Ruben, a professor in the Communication Department, said via an email correspondence that retired faculty and staff are a significant resource because of their dedication to the success of the University.
“The Rutgers Faculty and Staff Retirement Association and Center are vehicles that help to facilitate a strong relationship between the University and the retired faculty/staff community for the benefit of both groups,” he said.
Gustav Friedrich, dean emeritus of SC&I, said he was asked by former University President Richard McCormick to chair an advisory committee in charge of focusing on retired faculty and staff over all of the Rutgers campuses.
The committee is in its second year, and Friedrich said although much of its work has centered around the New Brunswick campus, it has been working with Camden recently to ensure their involvement.
The center was Hunt’s idea, Friedrich said. He formed the Rutgers Retired Faculty and Staff Association and donated much of the funds possible for the creation of the center.
The center is located in a convenient place and has parking. It is a place where people can come in and host workshops and events.
“In terms of the center, I think it’s really an important first step, but what we’re doing is we’re trying to create activities. For example, if retired faculty or staff members want to be involved with various parts of the University, on the website we’ll list possibilities,” Friedrich said.
Friedrich is a docent at the Zimmerli Art Museum, and he said there are other places in the University where people are needed.
Additionally, he said the council plans to branch out and connect with other organizations for retirees.
“We’re hoping to connect not only to all the campuses at Rutgers but connect ourselves to the Big 10 and to the nation in terms of retired faculty and staff organizations,” he said.