Late Career and Transition to Retirement

Late Career and Transition to Retirement

What are the goals of the module?

Mandatory retirement for faculty has been prohibited since 1994. Consequently, many remain active faculty members well into their 70s or even 80s, and the average age of faculty at institutions of higher education has risen dramatically.

The goals of this module are for participants to understand the applicable laws and policies related to late-career faculty and retirees, including:

  • Laws that apply to older faculty and potential age discrimination
  • When and how issues of retirement can legally be raised with faculty (including discussions of potential recall for research, teaching, or service)
  • Discussing late-career plans with faculty
  • Handling performance or behavioral issues
  • Facilitating a mutually beneficial relationship between faculty emeriti and the institution

Who is the audience for the module?

Aspiring or new Department Chairs, Deans, Vice Provosts

Why is the topic important?

Handling late-career issues effectively has the potential to benefit the department/unit, the faculty member, and the institution. Chairs and Deans have a reasonable expectation to be able to do effective succession planning. Yet there are legal risks to approaching current faculty members, potentially making them feel that they are being coerced to retire because of their age. Many faculty are also reluctant to discuss retirement, even if they could potentially receive more pay through the UC retirement system than as an active faculty member. Discussing retirement can result in valuable pre- and post-retirement opportunities, but some late-career faculty continue to work beyond when they desire because of fears of loss of status, office space, lab space, etc. Chairs and Deans can play an important role in helping faculty to successfully navigate the transition to retirement while continuing to make valuable contributions to the University.

Suggested options for module delivery

  • In-person presentation and discussion, Q&A, case scenarios for discussion, including opportunities for faculty administrators to discuss current challenges
  • Online readings and case discussions

Scenarios for discussion

  • Department chair has four faculty members, out of a total of 14, who are over the age of 60 and wonders how to inquire legally and appropriately about their plans for the future so she can engage in succession planning.
  • A faculty member tells the Dean that she has heard a rumor that another faculty member, age 70, is thinking of retiring next year.
  • Faculty member over the age of 60 with 25 years of service approaches the Chair to discuss potential pre- and post-retirement options at the University.

Resources for developing the module

Recommended prerequisites


Primary Category