Incentive Plan for Tenured Faculty Retirement

December 6, 2013

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the introduction of a new Incentive Plan for Tenured Faculty Retirement, effective January 1, 2014.  This voluntary plan will be available to full-time tenured faculty in the Schools that have elected to participate in the Incentive Plan. These Schools are: Arts and Sciences (including the School of the Arts), GSAPP, Business, Journalism, SEAS, SIPA, and Social Work. This new program has been developed in response to one of the key recommendations of the Working Group on Faculty Retirement (see the full report online here).  The Incentive Plan for Tenured Faculty Retirement will be evaluated after five years.

The Incentive Plan is intended to serve three principal goals. First, it will supplement the retirement resources currently provided for tenured faculty who wish to retire, all at once or in phases, after age 65.  Second, by replacing the current system of individually negotiated or “customized” retirement arrangements with specified terms known in advance, faculty will be able to plan ahead more effectively. Third, it will permit retiring faculty to phase retirement over as many as five years.  Tenured faculty who meet the eligibility conditions will receive an incentive payment equal to 100 percent of their annual base salary upon retirement.

Eligibility is limited to full-time tenured faculty with at least ten years of continuous service at the University. Under the Plan, retirement may take place all at once or phased through reduced activity at reduced salary for up to five years, with terms subject to the approval of the Dean of the faculty member’s School. In addition:

  • Faculty aged 65 to 73 must commit to retiring by the time they reach age 74 (though retirement phasing at less than full workload may extend beyond age 74 in some cases).
  • Faculty aged 74 or over by December 31, 2014, must commit by June 30, 2014 to retire or to begin a phased retirement with reduced workload by December 31, 2014.     

Eligible faculty who choose to participate in the Incentive Plan will continue to be entitled to participate in the University's fringe benefit plans for retired officers, according to the terms of the plans then in effect. Participating in the Incentive Plan will not affect arrangements made with Deans and Department Chairs for continued participation in research, teaching or other activities.

The legal documents that provide specific information on the Incentive Plan for Faculty Retirement and relevant application forms can be accessed (with CU ID and password) online here.  An online list of FAQs about the Incentive Plan is also available. Faculty considering participating in the Plan should meet with their Dean to discuss retirement arrangements.

I am also pleased to report that we have established the Office of Faculty Retirement, which I mentioned in my Fall Update.  The Office provides information and advice for all Columbia faculty contemplating retirement as well as those who have already begun this new phase of their careers.  Emeritus Professor Douglas Chalmers has taken charge of the new office as Special Assistant to the Provost.  Doug is your resource for faculty retirement, and I recommend that you consult with him as you navigate the retirement process.  He can be reached by email at faculty.retirement@columbia.edu. Information is also available on the Office of Faculty Retirement website, at http://faculty-retirement.columbia.edu/

I encourage you to take advantage of these resources and review the Incentive Plan for Tenured Faculty Retirement carefully to consider what is right for you.

John Coatsworth