University Adds Option for Faculty to Transition to Retirement

October 10, 2014 ( – The University of Minnesota has added a third retirement option to help faculty ease into retirement.

According to the Minnesota Daily, with the new “tenure trade” retirement policy, some faculty—in exchange for their tenure status—will be able to gradually retire while working part-time or completing any ongoing work, allowing them to leave the school without abandoning any of their long-term projects or research. For example, a faculty member might quit teaching or gradually reduce the number of classes they teach while finishing research from a long-term grant that entails yearly allocations.

Jackie Singer, director of the University’s retirement programs, said this option allows faculty to choose what they want to focus on during their final years at the school. “Some want to focus on research, work with Ph.D. students [or] teach, [and] some have grants,” she said. “We wanted to offer different ways to transition into retirement.”

The University currently has two existing retirement options: a traditional terminal agreement and a phased retirement option, which allows faculty to work below full-time while continuing to receive full benefits, the news report said. George Sell, a mathematics professor and member of the Faculty Affairs Committee, explained that tenure trade is a variation on the phased retirement option and makes it easier for faculty members to leave the University through a more gradual retirement process than other options.

With the option, faculty can receive a cash payment equal to two years pay not exceeding $500,000.

Joseph Konstan, chair of the University Senate’s Faculty Affairs Committee, said because there is no mandatory retirement age, the committee had to consider a variety of things to make retirement options appealing to faculty to encourage them to retire at a reasonable age. According to Singer, the average retirement age at the University has consistently been between 67 and 69 in the past few years.

The policy is open for comments until October 19.