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104.7 - Phased Retirement Program

University Group Policy #104.7

I.  Policy Statement

Commensurate with University of North Carolina Policy 300.7.2, The University of North Carolina Phased Retirement Program, Winston-Salem State University (hereinafter referred to as “WSSU”) establishes this guidance to provide an opportunity for eligible full-time tenured faculty members to make an orderly transition to retirement through half-time (or equivalent) service for a predetermined period in return for half-time compensation.


The Phased Retirement Program (hereinafter referred to as “Program”) is entirely voluntary and is available when agreed to and entered into by mutual written agreement between the eligible faculty member and Winston-Salem State University. Eligible faculty members who enroll in the Program may elect to begin receiving the benefits they have accrued under either the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System (TSERS) or the Optional Retirement Program, but are not required to do so. However, so long as an eligible faculty member does not receive a monthly retirement benefit, s/he will not receive University/State paid State Health Plan benefits. If a faculty member does not elect to receive a monthly retirement benefit from TSERS or ORP, he or she may continue participation in the State Health Plan as a permanent half-time employee on a fully contributory basis and would not be eligible to receive the university contribution. Participating faculty members will remain subject to The Code, Policies of The University of North Carolina, and Policies of Winston-Salem State University.

This document supplements existing UNC guidance and should not be interpreted in any way that is inconsistent with UNC Policy 300.7.2 and Guidelines 300.7.2.1 [G], as they may be amended from time to time.

The goals of the program are to promote renewal of the professorate in order to ensure institutional vitality and to provide additional flexibility and support for individual faculty members who are nearing retirement. The expected outcomes on implementing this policy include the following:

  1. Better personnel planning—institutions will be able to anticipate position changes and plan for them at an earlier time than is currently the case;
  2. Enhanced recruitment and retention—institutions will realize an additional benefit available to
    tenured faculty members that should help in recruiting and retaining quality faculty members;
  3. Increased quality of faculty—institutions will be able to fill tenure track faculty positions while
    retaining the skills and knowledge of experienced faculty on a half-time basis throughout their
    phased retirement period.

II.    Guidelines

Eligibility

Eligible faculty members are full-time tenured individuals who (1) have 5 years of full-time service at Winston-Salem State University, (2) are age 62 or older for members of TSERS or 59 ½ for participants in the ORP, and (3) are eligible to receive retirement benefits through either the TSERS or ORP, as applicable. Tenured faculty members occupying full-time administrative or staff positions are not eligible to participate in the Program until they vacate such positions. Thus, services rendered while in phased retirement will be only those teaching and administrative duties under faculty appointment.

The Phased Retirement Program contemplates actual retirement and reemployment of participating faculty on a part-time basis for a limited period. For purposes of this Program, “normal retirement age is 62 years of age for TSERS members and 59 ½ for participants in the ORP. When a faculty member has achieved the above-listed age for his or her applicable participating retirement program, he or she will have reached “normal retirement age” and, therefore, need not undertake a break in service prior to entering the Program.

Individual faculty members are responsible for providing WSSU all information necessary to determine eligibility as to age, service at the university, and retirement benefit eligibility within either TSERS or the ORP. For these purposes, WSSU shall determine an applicant's age and service longevity with reference to the August 1 that follows submission of an application for participation.

Eligible faculty members do not have an absolute right to participate in the Phased Retirement Program. Rather, departments, schools or WSSU may limit participation based on various conditions. However, if an eligible faculty member and WSSU tentatively agree to an eligible faculty member's participation and "work plan" as described below, the final decision to enter or not enter the Phased Retirement Program rests with the eligible faculty member.

Once made, a decision to enter the Program (signified by the Eligible Faculty Member’s signing and non-revocation of the Phased Retirement Application and Reemployment Agreement and Release) is binding. Upon entering the Program, eligible faculty members give up tenure, terminate full-time employment and contract for a period of half-time or equivalent service to WSSU.

Institutional Limits on Participation

Due to instructional demands or accreditation standards for each of the academic programs, Winston-Salem-State University will limit participation in the Phased Retirement Program to no more than one (1) member from each academic department at a time.

Institutional Limits on Participation Due to Academic Program Compromise

To maintain the integrity of the academic program in a given department and to remain in compliance with university-specific and/or program-specific accreditation standards, participation may be denied. The university may deny an application to participate in the Program upon a finding that granting the application would substantially weaken academic quality or disrupt program sequence.

Institutional Limits on Participation Due to Financial Exigencies

Consistent with the provisions set forth in Section 605A of The Code, WSSU may deny an application to participate in the Program if there is a bona fide finding that financial exigencies prohibit further enrollment into the Program.

Projected List of Eligible Faculty and Ineligible Faculty by Position Title and Aggregate Number Within Each Cohort as of August 1 (of each year).

WSSU will provide a projected list of eligible and ineligible faculty by position title, age and department and the aggregate number within each cohort as of August 1 for each year. This list will include the job titles and ages of all individuals in the same job classification or organizational unit eligible for the Program and the ages of all individuals in the same job classification and organizational unit who are not eligible as required by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Included also in this list are tenured faculty members who would be eligible if they resigned their current full-time administrative position and those persons ineligible to participate because they are disqualified for one of the reasons identified in the Program, as well as those tenured faculty members who do not meet the basic eligibility requirements.

See Attachment A in Related Resources

Time Period for Participation in Program

To provide a reasonable period of time for eligible faculty members to participate in the Phased Retirement Program, the time period for participation in the Program will be limited to two (2) consecutive years. This period of time provides an opportunity for a larger number of faculty members to participate in the Program.

Procedure for Informing Eligible Faculty Members

All faculty members will be informed about the Phased Retirement Program by the Office of the Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs by September 1 of each calendar year. Information will be communicated through newsletters, posted on the university’s Web site, and disseminated through other forums. Additionally, the university will provide information sessions for eligible faculty members each academic year. All eligible faculty members will be notified in writing through the Office of the Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in September of each year.

Eligible faculty members will be informed of the Phased Retirement Program via the "letter to eligible faculty.” The letter will be sent via certified mail and will include the following:

  1. WSSU Phased Retirement Guidelines;
  2. UNC Phased Retirement Program (300.7.2);
  3. UNC Phased Retirement Program Guidelines (300.7.2.1[G]);
  4. A copy of the Model UNC Phased Retirement Application and Reemployment Agreement;
  5. A copy of the Model UNC Phased Retirement Program Release;
  6. A chart reflecting information regarding those who are eligible and ineligible for potential participation in the Program

Procedures for Accepting, Reviewing, and Approving Applicants

Group meetings will be held with all eligible faculty members who indicate an interest in participating in the Program. A faculty member may apply for the Program not earlier than eleven (11) months prior to commencement of the fall semester and not later than six (6) months prior to that semester.

Eligible faculty members who plan to apply to participate in the Program should meet with officials appointed or designated by WSSU to answer questions about the Program. Faculty members may then approach their respective department chairperson or school/college dean to negotiate participation in the Program and their half-time work plan for the period. When this negotiation has been completed, the Phased Retirement Application and Re-employment Agreement shall be signed by the Department Chairperson, the School/College Dean, and the Provost.

The signed Agreement and the Release shall be delivered or mailed to the eligible faculty member. As required by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the eligible faculty member shall have at least 45 calendar days from the date of receipt of the signed Agreement (1) to consider the Phased Retirement Application Agreement and the General Release (Attachment A) prior to signing and (2) to execute and return the signed Agreement and Release to the Institution.


The forty-five day (45) period begins with the date of the university’s final offer. The date of the final offer is the date on which WSSU physically delivers to the eligible faculty member the Agreement signed by the Department Chairperson, the School Dean, and the Provost, or the date on which the documents are posted to the faculty member. The Agreement must be sent by a method of delivery that requires a signature for delivery. The date received by the eligible faculty member or date of the receipt for postal handling of the documents shall be prima facie evidence of the date of the final offer.


Eligible faculty members who elect to participate in the Program also have the right under the ADEA to revoke the Agreement and the Release anytime within seven (7) calendar days of the date both of these documents are fully executed by the parties (Department Chairperson, School Dean, Provost, and Eligible Faculty Member). An election to participate does not become final until after that date. Revocations shall be in writing personally signed by the affected faculty member and shall be effected by personal delivery of the revocation or by submission of it for postal delivery to the Office of the Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The date of the revocation is the date on which the faculty member physically delivers the revocation to the appropriate institutional officer or office or the date on which the revocation is posted to that officer or office. The date received by the university or date of receipt for postal handling shall be prima facie evidence of the date of revocation. If the Agreement and the Release are effectively revoked, then the Agreement is void.

Once an agreement is finalized, the parties by mutual accord may still terminate the Agreement at any time.

Applications for participation in the Phased Retirement Program from eligible faculty members will be accepted on a first-come first-served basis until the institutional limits are reached. However, department chairpersons will consider program integrity or financial exigency in considering applications for the Program.

The Half-time Work Plan

A completed application must include a half-time work plan. The activities appropriate for consideration in the development of an eligible faculty member's half-time work plan covers the range of typical activities in which the faculty member has been engaged in throughout his/her career. Such activities include teaching, research and creative activities, service, advising, writing of grants, publications, etc. In general, assuming the campus-wide teaching load for full-time tenure-track faculty to be twelve (12) credit hours per semester, the standard half-time work plan should include:

  1. four (4) to six (6) credit hours of instruction at the undergraduate level;

  2. research activity;
    • faculty members who are engaged in funded research activity will be allowed to reduce their
      teaching load by one course through released time;
    • continue to serve as PI/CO-PI of ongoing research grant(s)
    • publications/presentations—faculty members will continue to be encouraged to publish their research results and to present their work at national/international meetings
  3. other departmental activities, including:
    • academic advisor to approximately 50% of normal undergraduate advisee assignment
    • committee assignments at department, school/college, or university level
    • participation in public service related activities
    • participation in professional society related activities

The percent in which an Eligible Faculty Member will be involved in activities in items 2 and 3 will depend upon the level of time commitment required as discussed during the negotiations with the appropriate university administrator (i.e., Department Chairperson and/or School/College Dean). In cases where WSSU and the eligible faculty member cannot agree on a half-time plan, the faculty member will not be allowed to participate in the Program.

List of Benefits, Privileges, and Services Which Individual Program Participants May Continue to Receive

See Attachment B in Related Resources

III.    Roles and Responsibilities

Institutional Officers Authorized to Answer Questions about the Program

The following university officers are authorized to answer question about the Phased Retirement Programs:

Dr. Merdis McCarter
Senior Associate Provost for Academic Affairs/Undergraduate Programs
123 Blair Hall
336-750-2204

 

Dr. Randy Mills
Assistant Provost for Administration and Planning
204 Blair Hall
336-750-2132

 

Mrs. Ann Joyce
Personnel Technician
C117 Anderson Center
336-750-2833

IV.     Applicability

This policy is applicable to eligible faculty members at Winston-Salem State University.

Responsible Division: Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic & Student Affairs

Authority: Board of Trustees

History:

  • Adopted: October 29, 2003
  • Amended: September 19, 2008

Related Resources: