Faculty Retirement Process

Faculty interested in retirement should contact their chair the year before they intend to retire. The retiree and the department chair (or dean) agree to the terms of retirement in writing. This normally takes the form of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which both parties sign, or a letter from the faculty member to the chair, to which the chair attaches his/her endorsement.

Department chairs have more latitude in agreeing to other aspects of the retirement agreement, such as office use, secretarial support, computer use, etc. The written agreement is then submitted to the dean for endorsement, and then forwarded to the Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Affairs who will approve the agreement and prepare a legal retirement contract between the University and the faculty member. This legal retirement contract incorporates the agreement between the faculty member and the department chair. 

For more information regarding faculty retirement agreements as well as the resources you need to begin on your path to retirement from the University of Colorado, see: 

CU Faculty Retirement Plan

Faculty who are eligible for the CU Retirement Plan must enroll within 30 days. Contact the CU System Benefits Office for enrollment information, forms, and assistance. The following list includes benefits allowed to retired faculty:


  • Continuing voting membership in the University Faculty Senate
  • Rank of emeritus professor, when recommended in accordance with normal faculty review procedures and approved by the Provost
  • Invitations to attend commencement and other campus and University-wide events

Continuing Privileges

  • Continuing library privileges, similar to current faculty
  • Office and laboratory space, including limited use of departmental supplies and clerical services. These privileges depend primarily on the availability of space in conjunction with the productive contribution of the retired person to the department and the University. Space offered may be shared space. The department is responsible for making every effort to meet the requests of the retired faculty and the decision lies with the department
  • IT support from the Office of Information Technology's Service Center and Buff Techs
  • University retiree parking permits that are renewed annually. Contact Parking Services at (303) 735-7275 for more information
  • Emeritus professors and employees returning to work are eligible for a Buff OneCard and an EcoPass card. Contact boc@colorado.edu for more information

Additional Privileges

Faculty Retirement Agreements

Boulder Campus Guidelines 

November 6, 2007
Prepared by Jeffrey N. Cox, AVC for Faculty Affairs

As of June 6, 2007, President Brown approved a new policy on Faculty Retirement Agreements.

This policy arose from the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Retirement Options which was created to respond to concerns raised by the Faculty Council about the range of retirement options available to faculty. On October 6, 2005, the Board of Regents passed a resolution authorizing the President to create such a policy to expand retirement incentive options.

The present document outlines the Boulder Campus guidelines for implementing this policy. They are designed to put the new policy into practice in ways that will both help the faculty and serve the institution. We all know that the decision to retire is an important one, often a difficult one. It is our hope that these guidelines will help faculty think through their options as they approach retirement. They are also designed to secure the best interests of the University.

It is important to recognize that regular faculty retirement agreements are not necessary in many cases where a faculty member wishes to retire. Indeed, most faculty retire with the benefits available under normal retirement policies; they do not need a retirement agreement. In some cases, it will serve both a faculty member and the institution to create such an agreement. However, if the unit and the faculty member agree to a phased retirement agreement, an agreement must be put in place through the Office of Faculty Affairs. 

The President’s policy states that all retirement agreements must meet “the overall needs of the University. No faculty member has a right to such an agreement.” Such agreements will be created only when all parties are convinced it serves them well. The incentives outlined in the policy are not entitlements but a list of potential tools available to assist the University in meeting its goals with regard to faculty staffing needs. The use of one or more of these is not standard practice, but rather these tools are available to be used in extraordinary circumstances as approved, and deemed appropriate and feasible, by the chair/director, dean and provost. As is indicated below, applications for retirement agreements will be reviewed by the Provost; a case must be made that an institutional good is met by creating the agreement. Such agreements are also subject to the availability of funding.

General Procedures:

In most cases, faculty will begin their discussions about retirement with the chair of their unit; they will want to talk about the faculty members’ plans and the needs of the unit.

If a faculty member and her/his chair decide that a retirement agreement is appropriate, the dean's faculty liaison in conjunction with the faculty member, should create a memo outlining the terms of the agreement. This should be approved by the chair/director and the dean’s office, and sent to the Office of Faculty Affairs (OFA). OFA will consult with University Counsel and Employee Services on such agreements. If OFA agrees with the proposal, it will draft a Faculty Retirement Agreement to be reviewed and signed by the appropriate persons.

The policy on Faculty Retirement Agreements grants the authority to approve such agreements to the provost, but allows the provost to delegate that authority to the Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Affairs. On the Boulder campus, that authority is delegated to the provost who has the final authority to approve or to reject all agreements. All retirement agreements will be submitted to the provost for approval. In making a request for a retirement agreement, the dean should make clear what institutional good is being served by the agreement; a case for a retirement agreement might include long term savings, the opening up of a faculty line for a new hire, an ability to adapt to changing academic goals, etc.


A faculty member is only eligible to retire once her/his combined age and years of service total at least 70. If the phased retirement period ends prior to the individual’s age and years of service totaling 70, the faculty member will not receive the University of Colorado retirement benefits available to those who do meet the minimum established age and years of service requirements.

Faculty who are tenured or tenure-track and who are employed at fifty percent time or greater and meet at least the minimum combined age and years of service requirements contained in Regent Policy 11F are eligible for retirement incentive agreements. Non-tenure track faculty are only eligible for the regular or phased retirement agreement designed for them.

For Tenure Track Phased Retirement Agreements: All tenured and tenure track faculty members who are employed at fifty percent time or greater and: 1) will be at least 55 years of age by the end of the term of the phased retirement agreement; and 2) whose age and years of half time or greater service at the University total at least 65 are eligible to participate in this phased retirement program (“Program”).

For Non-Tenure Track Faculty Phased Retirement Agreements: All non-tenure-track faculty members who are employed at fifty percent time or greater and: 1) will be at least 55 years of age by the end of the period of the phased retirement program (“Program”); and 2) whose age and years of half time or greater service at the University total at least 65 are eligible to participate in this Program.

Authorized Incentives for Tenure Track Faculty:

The policy creates a menu of incentives that may be offered by the campus when a faculty member is ready to retire. Agreements will need the concurrence of the faculty member, the chair, the dean, and the provost.

  1. Negotiated Differentiated Work Load: This is currently available; no changes in practice are needed. (See Faculty Retirement Agreements IV.B.1.)
  2. Post-Retirement Employment or Consulting Opportunities: Under this incentive, one year’s worth of the faculty member’s pre-retirement base salary may be set aside to be used as payment after retirement for consulting, research, or other services (teaching, advising, administration, service) for a specified period. This may be a multi-year commitment until funds are exhausted. The faculty member is an “at-will” employee during this period. This does not preclude additional employment beyond the term of the agreement and/or exhaustion of funds. (See Faculty Retirement Agreements IV.B.2.) This incentive would be most likely used in a case where a faculty member is ready to retire but there is a mutual benefit to the individual and the institution to maintain a working relationship over a few more years after the individual leaves her/his faculty position.
  3. Increased employer contribution toward insurance costs upon retirement. Up to an additional 50% (not to exceed 100% of the total premium cost) may be paid by the University for medical insurance costs of retirees who reside outside Colorado and choose one of the University’s medical plans. This increased contribution may continue until Medicare eligibility or until the retiree again resides in Colorado. (See Faculty Retirement Agreements IV.B.3.)This incentive may be used when it is in the institution’s interest to help a faculty member move into retirement who is also moving out of state.
  4. Increased base academic year salary. The salary may be increased up to 6% over and above the average faculty salary increment for the campus for two years preceding retirement. (See Faculty Retirement Agreements IV.B.4.)Such incentives are often used at other institutions when such increases would change the payout on a faculty member’s retirement plan; that will not be the case for our faculty. Such incentives will most likely be used when such an increase will help a faculty member make a decision to retire and the institution has an interest in freeing up a line.  Currently, the CU Boulder campus does not provide a salary incentive.
  5. Phased Retirement for Tenure Track Faculty. We, of course, currently have a phased retirement program, but the new policy makes available some new options. In most cases, phased retirement agreements for tenure track faculty on the Boulder Campus will be for anywhere from one year to no more than 5 years. While the policy allows for a sabbatical to be included as part of the phased agreement, in most cases tenure track faculty on the Boulder Campus will not be granted a sabbatical during the term of the agreement insofar as sabbaticals are investments in the future development of our faculty.

    The new features of the new phased retirement agreements can be outlined:

    • Phased retirement agreements may be requested for a period of up to 5 years. 
    • The pay level and workload must remain at an average of 25% or more (previously 50%) over the course of the agreement. 
    • Workload and duties may be renegotiated annually. 
    • The taking of a sabbatical may be included as part of the phased agreement; they can be taken during phased retirement only if part of the agreement. The faculty member must return for the equivalent of one year of full-time service. 
    • Retirement plan contributions will be paid at two times the workload percentage, to a maximum of 10% of full salary. For example, a 40% workload would be paid based on 80% of salary, or an 8% contribution. (Previously faculty could not drop below a 50% appointment. University contributions continued at 10% of salary.) 
    • University contributions to group insurance plans shall continue as if the faculty member were 100% time. 
    • Employee may begin retirement plan distributions at age 59 ½. 
    • The University must continue to be the faculty member’s primary professional commitment. 
    • Faculty must continue to participate in annual evaluations, post-tenure review, etc. 
    • A request for participation in a phased retirement program must be filed with the department chair or the dean by December 1 for a program to begin the following Fall semester; it must be filed by May 1 for a Program to begin the following Spring. The dean’s office should forward the request to OFA in a timely fashion, normally within one week. The campus will notify the faculty member whether the request is granted or denied by March 31 for the Fall semester or September 30 for the Spring semester. Requests filed after the due dates may be considered but may be considered untimely; late requests will be handled by the campus as expeditiously as possible.
  6. Phased Retirement for Non-Tenure Track Faculty. The general rules governing these agreements are the same as for tenure track faculty, except that the agreed term of the agreement may be from one semester to up to one academic year.