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Martha Kuchar retired from
Roanoke College three
years ago after 29 years of
service, but continued to
teach as an adjunct.
Back to
Retirees head back to
campus and share their
wisdom and expertise
as adjunct instructors.
etirement for some
doesn't mean riding off
into the sunset, but rather
an opportunity to try their
hand at something new.
Instead of taking up a hobby like pickleball
or gardening, some retirees decide to pick
up a side hustle, like teaching.
Colleges and universities often
supplement their full-time faculty with
adjunct instructors, which are contracted
on a course-by-course basis. One of the
reasons why retirees are so appealing to
institutions is that they have plenty of
industry experience, which means they
can offer students practical insights and
perspectives that their more researchdriven
tenure-track counterparts simply
don't have.
Ray Leven, 70, is a prime example of
someone who has found a way to share his
decades of experience with young minds
24 / RETIRE-VA 2024
by adjunct teaching.
The western New York native came to
Virginia to attend Washington and Lee
University for law school. Shortly after
graduating, he started his public service
career in the Office of the Public Defender
in Roanoke. After starting as an assistant
public defender, he led the office for
roughly 25 years. Later, he became chief
magistrate for the area.
A couple of years after meeting
Virginia's retirement requirements for full
benefits, he decided to retire at the still
vibrant age of 54 in the mid-2000s. " I was
working two offices. I had 12 magistrates.
We're open 24 hours, seven days a week.
It was a heck of a load, " he recalls. " After
33 years, I said that's probably enough, so
I retired. "
In the early days of his retirement, he
continued to dabble in the legal profession
by going to court five days a month for
a friend who ran a local law practice. He
focused on collection cases for various
local hospitals. He continued to do the
occasional litigation up until two years ago.
He was eventually asked to join the
advisory board for Roanoke College's
Department of Business and Economics
by a friend who was on the faculty. This
eventually led to an opportunity to join
the faculty as an adjunct business law
instructor in 2013. At first, he wasn't sold
on the idea. He had taught some night
classes at Virginia Western Community
College for paralegals years earlier, but
figured he didn't have the chops to cut it at
Roanoke College. Despite his reservations,
he went ahead and took the job.
" As a litigator, neither public speaking
nor ego was a problem, " he jokes about
getting accustomed to his teaching role.
Despite the ego, he admits the process
of designing the course from scratch was
" scary. "
Although he only teaches one class a
semester, Leven is a constant presence
on campus. As a divorcee with no kids, he

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