Gerontology Studies Shrinking Despite Growth Of Older Population

By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Despite the fact that more Americans are living longer, universities are not producing enough specialists to meet their needs, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

In recent years, the University of Massachusetts-Boston and San Diego State are among those that have suspended, reduced in size or folded gerontology into other programs.

In the 70s and 80s, it was expected that programs would grow with the prospect of baby boomers retiring en masse. But retrenchment and fewer students dictated cutting back. Instead of degrees, colleges are offering certificates.

UMass-Boston is considering a name change for its undergraduate program citing other sites that have renamed gerontology “wellness studies” or “life course studies,” and program heads argue that students would benefit from more hands-on experiences and opportunities for research.

Provost Winston Langley, an advocate, envisions gerontology as an issue of social justice, that could be taught alongside of disability studies.

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