Approved by the: University Senate November 29, 2007
Administration - May 13, 2008*
Board of Regents - no action required

* The University values the extraordinary contributions and experience of its retired faculty and staff. The President wholeheartedly supports additional improvements to the coordination and facilitation of retiree service in campus activities, particularly teaching, mentoring, advising, and serving on critical University committees. Consequently, the University is referring this resolution to the Vice President of Human Resources, the Vice President for University Relations (who oversees the Retirees Volunteer Center), and the Senior Vice President for System Academic Administration (with Extension and civic engagement offices) to identify ways to further improve in this area. The University is also asking them to evaluate the feasibility of implementing the other recommendations in the resolution, as appropriate

Resolution on Retiree Benefits

The University Senate recommends that the University:

1. Develop a system-wide process to:

a) invite all retiring employees to contribute their skills to the University after formal retirement;

b) distribute timely information to employees concerning benefits, privileges, and opportunities of retirees;

c) oversee the provision of benefits provided by colleges and departments, not only to retired professors, but also to civil service and professional and administrative staff;

d) amend the Regents Policy on Faculty Emeriti and the Regents' Conflict Resolution Policy to include all retired faculty, civil service and professional and administrative employees; and

e) always use gender-inclusive language such as "retired faculty" instead of "emeriti faculty." When referring to individuals, of course the traditional "Professor Emeritus" and "Professor Emerita" are appropriate.

2. Coordinate and facilitate the service of retirees in the areas of

a) mentoring new or junior University faculty members,

b) participating in advisory teams for interdisciplinary centers,

c) teaching courses,

d) advising and examining undergraduate and graduate students where needed,

e) mentoring or tutoring individual undergraduate or graduate students in their specialties, such as in English language acquisition for foreign students, in writing, in developing library skills, or in orientation to the University beyond the students' regular classroom instruction,

f) serving on University search committees, development committees, or governance committees, where appropriate and when needed by the University, and serving as advocates for the University in situations where the University's needs and the retirees' abilities and concerns match.

3. Implement the Regents' Policy concerning "listing in directories" to include retired faculty, civil service and professional and administrative retirees in all directory listings and Web sites at every level.

4. Ensure that achievements and honors of retirees be noted systematically in college and University publications, such as possibly having a designated retirees section in the Provost's Academic Update and similar materials.

5. Host an annual reception honoring all retirees (faculty, professional and administrative employees, and civil service staff) of the previous twelve months, with the University president and some members of Board of Regents present.

6. Consider the establishment of a University-supported Retirement Center.

(Note: There are numerous models around the country for relationships of retirees groups with the universities. Some retirees' associations are arms of the university, some are entirely separate but related in the manner of student organizations or a faculty union, some are members of parallel bodies like alum associations. The University of Minnesota has a volunteer center sponsored by retirees, the University Retirees Volunteer Center, and also the University of Minnesota Retirees Association (UMRA). Looking at the model that is being developed at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, The Senate recommends that SCFA begin discussions with appropriate administrative officers about the possibility of establishing a University-supported Retirement Center along the lines of the Madison proposal. [See Web link http://www.secfac.wisc.edu/senate/2006/1204/1958.pdf.] Such a center might consolidate budget, space, activities and authority for its retirees within the University and focus the organization of retired persons who might be helpful to the University when they are needed.)

COMMENT: The Faculty Retirees' Bill of Rights was adopted by the Senate on April 16, 1998, and the Regents included most of it in their Policy on Faculty Emeriti (July 14, 2000). The UMRA Web site (http://www.umn.edu/umra) prominently displays these policies.

The 1998 Senate Resolution points out that in addition to pension and health plans, "many emeriti[/ae] wished to retain a connection with the University by volunteering or contracting their services, continuing their research, or working with students, affirmed that such continuing ties brought substantial benefits to retirees and University alike, and urged that policies be developed for dealing with such activity."

The Regents Policy on Faculty Emeriti further elaborates that "the University shall provide the following privileges and services to a faculty emeritus[/a] equal to those provided to regular faculty:

1) email accounts;

2) library privileges;

3) listing in the University directory;

4) some faculty discounts offered by the University as identified in the administrative procedures; and

5) other services of a cost and nature similar to those listed above and as identified in the administrative procedures." (Administrative Procedures document approved by University Senate April 20, 2000)

In addition, a November 2004 report sponsored by President Robert Bruininks and Senior Vice President for Administration Robert Jones and conducted by Professor Carole J. Bland, Director of Research in Family Medicine, concludes that late-career senior faculty desire the following ten institutional relationships and benefits following retirement:

1) health care benefits (98%),

2) intellectual stimulation,

3) emeritus status (80%),

4) library privileges (majority),

5) office access (majority),

6) part-time teaching opportunities (majority),

7) parking privileges (majority),

8) faculty association (40%),

9) institutional volunteer roles (33%), and

10) institutional fundraising roles (21%).

Some of these--emeritus/a status, library privileges, office space where available, teaching and office services use possibilities, and parking privileges--are available either by University arrangements, UMRA negotiations, or through the University Retirees Volunteer Center. Although outstanding opportunities have been made available to many retired faculty through their departments and colleges, recent discussions in UMRA have revealed that policies regarding retirees have been unevenly implemented and do not include some important matters. The UMRA goal is to seek to have them available to all. SCFA would like to explore the possibilities, with the support of the Faculty Senate.

GEOFFREY SIRC, CHAIR
FACULTY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE


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