TU opens new communal space for retired faculty

By Sedonia Martin

The space encourages retired faculty to remain active on campus and in the TU community.

Annette Chappell, president of TURFA and Timothy J.L. Chandler, university provost, cut the ribbon at the opening of the TURFA office suite in Enrollment Services.
Annette Chappell, president of TURFA and Timothy J.L. Chandler, university provost, cut the ribbon at the opening of the TURFA office suite in Enrollment Services.

The Towson University Retired Faculty Association (TURFA) opened its new office space Monday, April 17, 2017, with a ribbon-cutting and reception. About 20 retired faculty joined President Kim Schatzel, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Timothy J.L. Chandler and Vice Provost Maggie Reitz for the opening. 

The office suite is located in Enrollment Services, suite 207, and is complete with comfortable furnishings, framed photos of iconic pictures from campus, a conference room and computer work station space.

Annette Chappell, current president of TURFA, who taught English and served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts for 17 years, says she’s engaged with TURFA, “because it’s a chance to reconnect with the university and with a lot of friends that I worked with for a number of years.”

According to Chappell, “as a group we want allow and facilitate and encourage the retired faculty to stay connected to the university. To contribute in ways that are comfortable for them to the academic life of the university and to stay connected with colleagues and students.”

Chandler and Reitz helped establish the center when Chandler served as interim president of Towson University.

“This is exceeding important,” said Chandler, “and an opportunity to keep you all here contributing to the institution which you have done for many, many years. A place where you can interact with each other.”

Chandler hoped the retired faculty with come and interact with the students “who can gain so much from your wisdom and experience.”

Chandler thanked Vice President for Administration and Finance and CFO Joe Oster and Director of Facilities Management (Planning) Kris Phillips for the space and furnishings.

Reitz said she enjoyed working on the project with TURFA and thanked all those who helped make the space a reality.

President Schatzel spoke of the importance of TURFA for Towson University, saying, “faculty are always a part of Towson University. For as long as they have been here, we want to be able to continue that engagement and, I have to tell you, the expertise and experience that they bring...we want to keep it on campus to create a social environment but also to bring that expertise and experience back in because of the fact that they mean so much to us all.

“I like having everybody on campus and having a spot where we can have them gather and we can talk to them about what their interests are and supporting the university. I’ve talked to some folks about having them act as mentors to the junior faculty—such a tremendous opportunity there. So I’m looking forward to working with them more.”

According to Don Forester, TURFA’s first president and now serving a one-year term as past-president, about 60 former professors, instructors and librarians stay connected to TU as TURFA members. Since 2015, this voluntary, nonprofit association has kept retired Tigers tied to the university long after they have stopped lecturing, grading finals or posting to Blackboard.

Members volunteer on campus within their respective departments or colleges, he adds.

Retired faculty also meet for campus events, including planetarium shows or athletic and cultural events. TURFA members receive discounted tickets to campus events, access to campus meeting space and complimentary parking, among other benefits. They also take day trips to other places of interest.

A scholarship committee is looking into way to fund small grants to support the continued scholarship of its members.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel's priorities for Towson University: Strategic Plan Alignment