Office for Faculty Development

Faculty Retirement and Emeritus Status

Faculty members who are nearing or contemplating retirement have likely contributed in significant ways to the department, college, and university. One approaches retirement with both pleasure and anxiety; the anxiety can be particularly acute if one is unsure how one’s impact on the department and the university will be remembered or appreciated after retirement.

You certainly do not want to, nor should you, convey any kind of pressure or be the first to question someone about their plans; in fact, it is illegal for you to raise the issue of retirement unless the faculty member brings it up with you. Usually the information will come to you in the natural course of conversation. When it does, you might:

  • Appreciate the difficult and/ or complex transition ahead of them; 
  • Discuss how they wish to retain their connection to the department and what formal or informal “legacy” they wish to leave behind. Retired faculty desire different levels of connection to the department; some return to teach in the summer or to fill in when sudden teaching vacancies arise; some wish to be involved in the mentoring of new faculty or mid-career faculty; some want to ensure that an initiative they began or helped to set in motion is not discontinued when they retire, and some are unsure and need help to envision the next step; 
  • Consider how not to make promises that you will not be able to keep. However, you should think creatively with them about how they can still be involved with the work of the department, college, or university, if this is what they desire;
  • Refer them to speak with the Dean and the Provost to see if there are initiatives out of those offices in which they could volunteer or offer their services if they are interested in some kind of post-retirement contribution of their expertise.
  • Refer faculty members interested in a phased retirement plan to check with the Dean about possible arrangements that would allow a faculty member to transition in stages to full retirement.
  • Refer faculty members who have questions about retirement benefits to Human Resources and the State Retirement Board for issues regarding benefits after retirement
  • Understand that retirees can provide useful historical perspective that might help in your understanding of a current complex departmental issue and could lead to your making a more thoughtful decision than in the absence of such perspective.
  • Inform the department of a colleague’s planned retirement and initiate the process of making a case for refilling the position.

Expediting the Granting of Emeritus/Emerita Status

Retiring faculty members who are at the rank of Professor may wish to file for Emeritus/Emerita status so as to maintain a professional identity post-retirement. The procedure for this process is on the Provost’s website. The departmental recommendation goes to the Dean for approval. If the Dean concurs, the file is sent to the Provost, who makes the final determination.