Professor Daniel Pope's Statement on the Retirement and Emeriti Policy
To the Senate:
First, thank you to Senators who notified me that this issue was on the March agenda and to President Kyr for agreeing to present my statement. I’m unable to attend because I’m teaching during the Senate meeting time.
My interest in this stemmed initially from a personal stake—that the five-years-as-full professor criterion would deprive me of emeritus status because I had contracted under the Tenure Reduction Program to retire this year with four years in rank. I appreciate the willingness of the drafters to add a “grandfather clause” and an exception for “extraordinary” cases in the future.
My concerns now are that the policy applies an unduly restrictive criterion for emeritus status, casts worthy retiring faculty into limbo, doesn’t eliminate the possibility of administrative arbitrariness, and offers no substantive new benefits to those receiving the title.
First, the motion sets forth a standard for granting emeritus status far more restrictive than any of our comparator universities. (I’ve compiled their statements and placed them in an appendix.) The five-years-in-rank standard rewards past but not recent accomplishment and certainly doesn’t reflect the “enduring excellence” that earlier drafts of the statement defined as its purpose.
Second, it leaves the status of non-emeritus retired faculty undefined. What will their titles be? Will they lose voting rights for the Senate and participation in the Assembly even when on the payroll? Will they be excluded from consideration for office space and other academic services when they’re teaching?
Third, the clause allowing the Provost to bestow emeritus status to those who don’t have five years in the top rank in “extraordinary” circumstances, while humanely intended, turns “difficult” cases back to administrative discretion with no standard for deciding whether a case is “extraordinary.”
Finally, I can find no new right or privilege granted to emeritus faculty in this statement, other than the dubious benefit of excluding some colleagues from the status that their counterparts had in the past.
In sum, the motion is at best superfluous and in all likelihood counterproductive to the aim of encouraging all retired faculty to take an active part in the academic life of the University. Please consider voting against the motion.
Professor of History
Appendix: Emeritus status standards at UO Comparator Universities
I cut and pasted statements from websites of the universities that the Senate Budget Committee designated as our comparator institutions. I added the University of Kansas, former President Lariviere’s previous institution, for good measure. Here is a summary of the findings: 1) None of them reserve emeritus status for full professors; all provide for associate professors to receive the title; 2) Several use the word "automatic" in their description of how the rank is awarded; 3) In some cases, there are length of service requirements, but these are far less stringent than "five years as full."
University of Michigan:
Regular and clinical instructional faculty, research professors, research scientists, librarians, curators, and archivists may, upon retirement, be granted an emeritus or emerita title by the Board of Regents. (See also SPG 201.34-1 Classification and Appointment of Instructional Faculty.)
Such titles for regular instructional faculty, research professors, librarians, curators, and archivists are granted on the recommendation of the appropriate chair and the dean or director (Ann Arbor campus) or by the provost and chancellor (Dearborn and Flint campuses).
[The University of Michigan is the only comparator that seems to allow for any substantive review of the retiring faculty member's work as part of the process of granting emeritus status. There is no indication that the review is any more than pro forma and there are no rank restrictions. See http://hr.umich.edu/procedures/spg201-80.html ]
Indiana University Bloomington:
On the Bloomington Campus, the Emeritus title is granted to retirees upon recommendations of the department, school, and campus administration, and upon approval by the Provost. https://www.indiana.edu/~vpfaa/academicguide/index.php/A._Academic_Ranks,_Titles,_Perquisites#Emeritus_Title
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill:
The designation "Emeritus" is awarded automatically on the effective date of retirement. Those, however, who continue teaching part-time will not be so designated until they have fully retired.
University of Virginia:
The honorary rank of professor emeritus or associate professor emeritus is conferred upon retiring faculty following nominations made to the Board of Visitors by the president for the following categories of employees: full or associate professors retiring after age forty-five after at least ten years of service; chair holders retiring after age forty-five with five years continuous service; former full or associate professors who have previously retired after age forty-five after ten years service. The rank attained prior to retirement usually governs the emeritus rank. Upon recommendation of the President, associate professor candidates who have evidenced outstanding teaching or public service performance may be elected to the rank of Professor Emeritus.
University of California:
The title Professor Emeritus shall be conferred, upon retirement, on every Professor and Associate Professor. The title suffix Emeritus for positions held at the time of retirement shall be conferred, upon retirement, on every member of the Academic Senate. With the approval of the President, Emeritus status shall be conferred, upon retirement, on every academic appointee who is not a member of the Academic Senate but who meets specific criteria established by the President.
University of Colorado:
According to the Faculty Handbook, "Upon retirement, any administative officer or any professional member of the faculty, in accordance with normal faculty review procedures or by approval of the Board of Regents, may be allowed to retain his/her title with the description 'emeritus.'"
The Chair writes a letter to the Dean, requesting emeritus status for the retiring faculty member, including a department vote. The request is sent to the Dean's office, the Dean concurs, and then the request is sent to Faculty Affairs. When the request has been approved by Faculty Affairs, Arts and Sciences get a copy back and the HR Center codes the emeritus status onto PeopleSoft. A copy of the approved request is sent to the department chair and the staff assistant.
There is no particular timeline that must be followed for requesting emeritus status. The request may be made either before or after the time of retirement. The effective date will be as of the retirement date.
University of Iowa:
b. Automatic conferral of emeritus faculty status. The following shall be accorded emeritus faculty status automatically when they retire from the University under honorable circumstances, including permanent disability sick leave, after serving the University for a significant period of time: 1) regular faculty, and 2) central administrative officers, deans, and directors, provided they also hold regular faculty status.
[In the full version of the statement, regular faculty are defined as "tenured faculty or salaried clinical track faculty of the rank of professor, associate professor, or assistant professor." The "significant period" is defined as ten years.]
University of Washington:
The emeritus appointment is recommended by departmental action for a regular, WOT, research or clinical faculty member who has retired under the UW Retirement Plan or is receiving benefits as if he or she retired under another state of Washington retirement plan and whose scholarly, teaching, or service record has been meritorious. Such a recommendation requires approval by the college dean and the President of the University. The normal criteria for appointment with the emeritus title are at least ten years of prior service as a member of the faculty and achievement of the rank of professor or associate professor. Under certain circumstances the President may grant emeritus status to an administrator at the level of dean or vice president, or at other levels if deemed appropriate.
University of Kansas:
University of Kansas Policy: At the University of Kansas, Lawrence, retiring members of the faculty and administrators automatically receive emeritus status if they are at least 55 years of age, have a minimum of ten years of full-time continuous service at the University of Kansas, and are determined by the University to be in good standing at the time of retirement. Emeritus faculty are expected to observe in retirement the same standards of professional ethics as in their active careers (See Articles IV and V of the Faculty Code). Emeritus status is not normally recommended for persons who are leaving the university in order to accept full-time service at another higher education institution, even if the age and service criteria are met. A member need not hold a full-time appointment at the time of retirement as long as the requirement for ten years of continuous full-time service was met earlier in his/her career.
Procedures: When a faculty member or administrator who is eligible for emeritus status provides his or her chairperson/director with written notice of intent to retire, the chair or director automatically will forward a recommendation for emeritus status to the Provost through the appropriate administrative channels (dean or vice provost). The Provost will make the appropriate recommendation to the Chancellor. Should a retiree be denied emeritus status, he/she may appeal the denial to the Chancellor.