Proposal for
A Retiree Centre for Simon Fraser University
Prepared by the
Simon Fraser University Retirees Association (SFURA)
June, 2006
The members of the SFURA executive board who prepared this proposal include B.
Carlson, M. Jones, E. Palmer, N. Lalji, J. Walkley, M. Stark, B. Yule, J. Blanchet, Elizabeth
Michno and M. Wideen. The board is grateful to Barbara McDaniel for her editing
work on this proposal.
Simon Fraser University Retirees Association (SFURA) Executive1 2
A Proposal for a Retiree Centre for Simon Fraser University
A recent survey of members of the Simon Fraser University Retirees Association
disclosed problems that we believe the SFURA should address. In particular, many
retirees feel the sort of alienation expressed by this comment:
Retirees are literally discarded on retirement and the university loses access to a
great resource.
While some connections currently exist for retirees, and while several retirees work
extensively in some departments, the lack of specific programs and a specific location
within which to interact limits a retiree’s ability to remain connected.
The University of Toronto and at least eight universities in the United States have
established retiree centres to maintain connections with retired faculty, staff, and
administrators and their spouses. In turn, the universities are benefiting from the
contributions retirees are able to make through the centres. After studying numerous
reports and documents about these centres and visiting the centre at the University of
Washington, the executive of the SFURA believes such a centre at SFU would cultivate
connections with retirees and allow retirees to offer substantial services to SFU. We
therefore propose that a retiree centre be established at the Burnaby campus.
The retiree centre for Simon Fraser University would pursue the following objectives:
1. Facilitate an ongoing connection between retirees and the university.
2. Enable the university to draw upon the considerable talents and abilities offered
by retired staff, administrators, faculty and their spouses.
3. Provide an advocacy for and support service to all retired persons and those
contemplating retirement.
The members of the SFURA executive who prepared this proposal include B. Carlson,
M. Jones, E. Palmer, N. Lalji, J. Walkley, M. Stark, B. Yule, J. Blanchet, Elizabeth Michno
and M. Wideen.
The authors are grateful to Barbara McDaniel for her editing work on this proposal.
4. Offer opportunities for the university and the retirement group to extend the
university community.
The growing seniors' age group carries potentially serious social problems if social
attitudes do not change. Objective three recognizes the need for support and advocacy
for retirees on both an individual and a group level. Persons in the retiree centre could
work with researchers and people interested in social issues to alert policy makers,
insurance companies and other agencies to problems affecting retired persons.
The fourth objective sees the retiree centre adding a new dimension to the university.
Signifying SFU as vibrant and progressive, the centre's role in fund-raising, courses, and
research and development would enhance the university's profile in the larger social
and academic communities.
The centre would provide an infrastructure for programs involving retirees, and would
work out policies and practices. It would offer programs like those described below.
1. A volunteer/mentorship program. In a volunteer program for retirees and their
spouses, activities could range from hosting international visitors to helping
students get started in their university work. Retirees could mentor students, staff,
administrators and beginning faculty. An example of successful mentoring from
outside the University is the RCMP Victim Services Program: volunteers provide
services to victims of crime.
2. Teaching, consulting and research. The centre could enable retirees to engage in
research, international consulting and teaching (full time or as guest lecturers).
People might continue their previous research after they retire or participate in
research on issues that affect seniors. The centre could also support retirees in
their applications for research.
3. Specific projects. The centre could work on projects like the oral history DVD
project recently completed, and it could act as a welcoming centre for donors
during fund-raising events.
4. Support and advocacy. By working with other groups on campus, such as the
Gerontology Research Centre, and with off-campus groups, persons in the
centre could contribute to the investigation of ways to study and support
retired persons.
5. SFURA activities. Current SFURA activities like those offered through the social
programs and the seminar series could continue within the new framework of the
There are a number of ways the centre could be structured within the university. It
could be organized within a department such as Human Resources, an academic
Department, or a Faculty. It could be built around an organization such as the Faculty
Association, SFURA, the Burnaby Mountain College, or some combination of those and
others. Or it could be independent, planned around SFURA or entirely separate from
the university. An example is the centre at the University of Washington, which is a
virtually independent body linked to the Provost's office.
Any type of centre at SFU could build on existing activities and practices of SFURA and
individual retirees. SFURA now shares some limited space to hold meetings and house
files. It offers its 350 members and spouses a rich program of social activities, and
presents seminars for members and the university community. Several retirees provide
considerable voluntary service to the university. SFURA is supported financially by
membership fees and an annual grant from the president’s office.
Whatever the structure, we firmly believe that a retiree centre established on the SFU
campus must reflect an underlying SFURA principle: staff, administrators and faculty
are equal partners in the organization.
We add the caveat that the objectives, activities, and structures proposed above would
be discussed in the ongoing negotiations of a collaborative process.
The proposed centre requires space on the campus in which to carry out its activities.
The location should make it possible for the centre to welcome retirees and visitors to
the campus. The centre needs office space, a staff, study space and access to a seminar
room. The office should have room to house files and accommodate support persons.
The site should be attractive and preferably have windows and be on the ground floor.
Glazer (2005) points out that the key factors determining the success of campus centres
include a strong commitment from the central administration, adequate funding to
support a professional and administrative team, and sufficient resources to
communicate with an off-campus constituency. Staff and executives at the retirement
centre at the University of Washington have also stressed the importance of support
from the central administration of the university.
Assuming that these conditions prevail, we propose an implementation process with
three stages.
First steps. At the earliest possible date, the university would make available to
SFURA the services of a part-time clerical worker and temporary space large
enough to accommodate the work of planning, developing programs, and raising
funds to support programs.
Planning and initiation. The university administration would establish a broadly
based steering committee to review the options available within the university
and to set out a plan for the retiree centre. Meanwhile, SFURA, using volunteers
from SFURA and elsewhere in the university, would plan and initiate various
programs in consultation with the steering committee.
A permanent centre. When a permanent retiree centre has been established,
programs that are underway and volunteers already in place will make a smooth
transition to the new facility. By this time, issues regarding governance and
structure will have been resolved through discourse among campus groups led
by the steering committee.
Select Bibliography
Cusack, S. and W. Thompson. 1998. Leadership for Older Adults. Philadelphia: Taylor
Francis Group.
Delany, P. 2005. "Retirement and the College Model." Paper presented to the CURAC
Conference, Vancouver, April 2005.
Dougherty, P. 2006. washington.edu/admin/uwra.
Glazer, S. 2005. "University Retiree Centers in the United States." Presentation made to
the CURAC Conference, Vancouver, May 2005.
Glazer, S., E. Redmon and K. Robinson. 2005. "Continuing the Connection:
Emeriti/Retiree Centers on Campus." Educational Gerontology 31:363-383.
Grima, L., D. Creelman, R. Garber and R. Stone. 2005. "U of T Retiree Centre: A
Proposal." Toronto: Retired academics & Librarians of the University of Toronto.
Hindes, N. 1990. The Retirement Association at the University of Washington: A History.
Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Warkentin, G. 2005. "Establishing Retiree Engagement: Inside the Process." Presentation
made to the CURAC Conference, Vancouver, May 2005.
Continue to survey literature and web sites on retiree centres.
Interview, conduct focus groups, and survey SFURA members
regarding the concept and its application.
Survey the work now being done by retirees on campus.
Continue discussions with the President and the university
Circulate the proposal to, and meet with representatives from the Burnaby
Mountain College, Faculty Association, CUPE, and other groups.
Revise the proposal for final presentation to the President and the
university administration.

(Draft) Proposal for A Retiree Centre for Simon Fraser University