Back to work
Retirees offer their time to help departments with heavy workloads

By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs


Sheridan “Sherry” Warrick peers through a door window as part of a survey of classroom usage.
Noah Berger photo

10 April 2001 | After 28 years at Berkeley, retiree Sheridan “Sherry” Warrick now spends his days traveling, writing, exercising and watching sports.

But he recently joined the ranks of the working again, coming back to campus for an unusual assignment: strolling the hallways of campus buildings, peering through classroom windows and taking notes on what he saw.

Warrick, the former director of International House, was not alone in this voyeuristic endeavor. He and dozens of other Berkeley retirees assisted the Office of the Registrar with a survey of classroom use on campus, inspecting nearly 100 rooms a day during a two-week period.

“Numerous construction projects combined with an influx of additional Tidal Wave II students have made space a critical issue on campus,” said Associate Registrar Walter Wong, whose office is coordinating the survey. “With the survey data, we will have a clearer picture of how classrooms are utilized and use this information to better organize and schedule classes. We want to make sure faculty and students have the kind space they need for teaching and learning.”

The classroom survey is a prime example of how retirees can help ease the workload of already burdened career staff. Hiring retirees for short-term special projects was one of several ideas posed by Chancellor Berdahl during his announcement of workforce initiatives last fall.

“A great number of retirees still have strong connections to the campus,” said Shelley Glazer, director of the UC Berkeley Retirement Center, who helped recruit workers for the survey. “Some of these people spent decades on campus. You retire from a job, but not a community.”

“I jumped at the chance to work on campus again,” said Warrick, 79, who retired in 1987. “I wanted to render some service to the university for all the good years it has given to me and my family.”

Though retirees have worked on campus for years through the Temporary Assistance Program (TAP), the retirement center, the Office of Human Resources and others are looking for creative ways to tap into this valuable resource as a means to address workforce issues.

“Retirees have a great understanding of campus culture, policies and procedures,” said Glazer. “They bring a maturity to the job and are committed to the university’s purpose and mission.”

And since technology is rapidly changing, the retirement center offers basic computer and Internet classes to assist retirees in updating their work-related skills.

Glazer said the face of retirement is changing, not just at Berkeley but across the country. As people live longer, healthier lives, work is one of numerous choices available to retirees. Some are spending as many years in retirement as they did working, she said.

“It seems a new kind of workforce is being created,” said Glazer. “This generation is re-inventing what it means to be a retiree.”

To explore ways retirees might assist with short-term or special projects, call Glazer at 642-5461 or the TAP office at 642-2348.


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