Faculty Retirement and Emeritus Status

Under federal law, a faculty member is not required to retire based on the faculty member’s age. Ordinarily a faculty member makes the decision to retire, based on personal circumstances. Helpful information for advance planning is available through the Office of Human Resources. Sufficient notice to allow departments to adjust their teaching schedules is expected, unless circumstances beyond the control of the faculty member occur.

Occasionally, for special situations of mutual benefit both to the University and the faculty member, a legally binding retirement agreement is negotiated in which a faculty member gives up a faculty position in return for some other benefit, for example, transitional leave or part-time employment. An example of a corresponding benefit to the University might be the ability to open a new position for needed hiring. Authorization for exploration of such possible agreements is given by the appropriate provost, after consultation with the faculty member’s dean and department chair. Since any such arrangement is based on mutual agreement, both the faculty member and the University have the right to indicate disinterest in pursuing such discussions at any point. Such agreements are proposed only for special situations of significant benefit to the University. They are neither expected nor routine.

A. Post-retirement Employment

Employment after retirement is permitted on an annual basis, generally on a reduced workload. Such employment must be recommended by the appropriate department chair and dean, and approved by the provost. A faculty member employed after retirement may not serve as chair of a department or on policy-making committees of departments, faculties, or other University bodies. A faculty member employed after retirement will be paid a salary commensurate with the faculty member’s University assignments.

B. Emeritus Status

Emeritus (used in this Subsection B in the gender-inclusive sense) is a status of honor and esteem at Boston University intended to recognize professors for lifetime contributions to the university, to their field, or to both, upon their retirement. Professorial faculty, with or without tenure or modified titles, are eligible for this consideration. The granting of Emeritus status is first voted upon by the faculty of the department, or by the appropriate unit for faculty appointments and promotions in schools or colleges without departments. The outcome of that vote is transmitted to the Dean, who is authorized to grant the change in status. Emeritus faculty retain the academic rank held at the time of retirement, modified by the incorporation of the gender-appropriate Emeritus designation. If applicable, this title includes the modifiers “Clinical,” “Research,” or “of the Practice,” however, honorific titles, including named professorships, are not incorporated into the Emeritus designation unless approved by the President or the President’s designee. Emeritus status is not awarded posthumously and a faculty member who retires from Boston University to assume a professorship at another university is also normally not eligible for consideration for Emeritus status.

While Emeritus faculty members may continue their productive life within the University, the basis of such continued participation shall be determined by each School and College through its faculty and Dean. An Emeritus faculty member may not serve as chair of a department or as a member of a policy-making committee. Emeritus faculty members may be employed by the University at a rate of compensation appropriate to the assigned responsibilities.

Deans, upon stepping down from the decanal role after serving with distinction, may be granted the title “Dean [modified by the gender-appropriate Emeritus designation],” following a positive vote of the full-time faculty of the school or college, and approval by the Provost.

Voted by University Council 2/10/16.

Updates voted by University Council 3/22/17,  3/22/22, and 6/14/22.