Our Vision

To make longer life a better life.

Our Mission

To promote opportunity, choice, and quality of paid and unpaid work across the lifespan, with a focus on older adults. Through research studies, engagement with a multi-disciplinary network of scholars and practitioners, and efforts to translate research into practice, we bridge the worlds of research and practice.

The Center’s vision and mission align closely with the School of Social Work’s values of individual dignity, respect for diversity, and pursuit of justice. The University’s mission, based in the Catholic, Jesuit tradition, is reflected strongly in our projects as we work to consider the “whole person”—mental, physical, social, and emotional—in the context of vocation across the lifespan.


Since its inception in 2005 through the generous funding of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and under the leadership of Dr. Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes (2005-2011) and Dr. Michael Smyer (2005-2008), the Center on Aging & Work at Boston College has put a vital stake in the ground around issues of aging and work. Key accomplishments of the Center include:

Thought Leadership for an Aging Society

The Center has played a critical role in increasing the prominence of aging workforce issues, transforming the topic from a marginal one with few vocal advocates to one that is recognized as central to the overall health of an aging society.

Major Research Studies

The Center has conducted a wide range of major research studies, including:

  • 2008 Age & Generations Study
  • 2008 CitiSales Study
  • 2009 Talent Management Study
  • 2011 Generations of Talent Study
  • 2012–2013 Time & Place Management Study

The impact of these studies will continue, as the data are archived at the nation’s preeminent social science data center, the Inter‐university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan.

Databases, Tools, and Publications

The Center has produced a variety of databases, tools, and other translational research products that are accessible to a wide variety of stakeholders. Examples include:

  • Workforce Benchmarking Tool
  • Employer Solutions for Family Caregivers Module
  • The Facts Database
  • Innovative Practices Database
  • Innovative Practices Case Reports & Executive Case Reports
  • Publications (including research briefs, research highlights, fact sheets, case studies, comparative policy summaries, country and state profiles, issue briefs, policy briefs, quick insights)
  • AGEnda Blog

In the fall of 2014, the Center experienced another transition as Dr. Marcie Pitt‐Catsouphes stepped down and the major center‐level funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation ended. Since then, the Sloan Foundation has continued to support the development of the Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work, a multi-disciplinary, multi-national network of researchers conducting investigations focused on different aspects of contemporary experiences associated with the phenomenon of “working longer.” In addition, the Center has reorganized around a core team that includes founder and senior advisor Dr. Jacquelyn James; co-director Dr. Christina Matz; founding director Dr. Pitt-Catsouphes; and several faculty affiliates, Dr. Kevin Cahill, Dr. Cal Halvorsen, Dr. Rocio Calvo, Dr. Erika Sabbath, and Dr. Joseph Quinn. 


Founding Principles

Workplace Flexibility

The Center on Aging & Work defines workplace flexibility to mean that employees and their supervisors have some choice and control over when, where, how work gets done, and what work tasks are assumed by which employees/work teams.

Quality of Employment

Employers understand that they have to offer quality jobs to their employees if they want talented people to work for them, rather than for a competitor (Mercer, 2007). The quality of employment is important to employers and their employees.

Organizations that want to become and remain employers-of-choice ask themselves: What will motivate employees (or prospective employees) to come to work for our organization, work hard for our organization when they are here, and want to stay working for our organization (rather than going to work for a competitor)?

Our Four Core Strategies

Conceptual Model of Engagement in Paid and Unpaid Work in Later Life

Conceptual Model of Engagement in Paid and Unpaid Work in Later Life

Our Conceptual Framework

Advancing the national conversation around aging and work will require the efforts of many disciplines, including social work, economics, public health, psychology, occupational therapy, gerontology, and sociology; and stakeholder groups including individuals of all ages, practitioners, for- and not-for-profit organizations, community members, advocates, and policymakers. Indeed, the topic of aging and work is an expansive one, especially when one considers both paid and unpaid work. However, few integrative models or frameworks have attempted to bring together these diverse perspectives. With a new vision and mission, we are well-positioned to occupy this unique space. Our previous conceptual framework was well-suited to paid work, but less so to other forms of productive engagement. The conceptual model depicted below defines our intellectual space and informs our revised vision and mission.

The goals of this model are:

  • to build a more holistic and multilevel picture of the aging and work landscape
  • to guide interventions and future research on aging and work both within and across disciplines
  • to articulate the Center’s alignment with the vision, mission, and values of the School of Social Work and the University at large.

(See article: Matz, C., Sabbath, E. & James, J. (2020). An integrative conceptual framework of engagement in socially-productive activity in later life: Implications for clinical and mezzo social work practice. Clinical Social Work Journal [special issue on productive aging], 48, 156–168.)


Contact Us

The Center on Aging & Work
140 Commonwealth Avenue
McGuinn Hall, 106k
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467