The University of Puget Sound (“university”) offers a voluntary phased retirement program (the “Program” or “Phased Retirement Program”), which provides an opportunity for eligible full-time tenured faculty members to make a gradual transition to retirement through reduced teaching (between 3-5 teaching units per academic year) and other service for a predetermined period in return for an equivalent reduction in compensation. The goals of the Program are to promote renewal of the professoriate in order to ensure institutional vitality and to provide additional flexibility and support for individual faculty members who are nearing retirement. Provost approval and a mutual written agreement between the eligible faculty member and the university are required to participate in the Program.
This Program will be effective as of May 14, 2021. Applications will be accepted in the fall semester prior to a phased retirement beginning on or after the academic year starting the following July 1, consistent with a more specific timeline to be published by the Provost’s Office.
The Program is completely voluntary but there is not an absolute right to participate, as further described herein. Once approved by the Provost and entered into by a written agreement between an eligible faculty member and the university the faculty member’s decision to participate in the Program is irrevocable; provided, however, a participating faculty member may elect to discontinue Program participation and elect Normal Retirement prior to the end of the phased retirement period pursuant to the terms of the Normal Retirement policy, including all applicable notice requirements.
The Phased Retirement Program for Full-time Faculty cannot be combined with the Early Retirement and Career Change Policy. Faculty members who participate in this Program are not eligible to participate in the Early Retirement and Career Change programs, even if they elect to discontinue participation in the Program.
Eligibility for Phased Retirement Program
This Program is available to all full-time tenured faculty members who meet one or more of the following criteria:
- 30 years of service at the university at any age;
- A minimum of 20 years of service with the university and have reached the age of 60 years or older before July 1 in the first year of the phased retirement period; or
- A minimum of 5 years of service with the university and have reached the age of 65 years or older before July 1 in the first year of the phased retirement period.
Process for Applying for and Approval for Phased Retirement
The university will announce to eligible faculty members a phased retirement application period during the fall semester to be effective as of July 1 of the following academic year. An eligible faculty member who wishes to participate in the Phased Retirement Program must submit an application, including the faculty member’s proposed phased retirement plan, to the Provost to be considered for the Phased Retirement Program during the application period and affirm that they have notified their department chair or program director of their request to participate in the Program. The Provost will review the application and proposed plan once the application period has closed to determine whether it may be approved based on university and departmental needs. Every term of the plan must meet the Phased Retirement Program guidelines contained herein and each term of the plan is subject to the approval of the Provost. The Provost must approve the requested phased retirement plan. Once the plan is approved, the faculty member and university will enter an agreement that sets forth the specific terms of the phased retirement plan. The faculty member also will be required to sign a release of claims in order to participate in the Phased Retirement Program prior to participating in the Program and at the time of retirement. This agreement must be completed and signed by the Provost and the faculty member generally no later than February 1 in the academic year prior to the start of the phased retirement on July 1, otherwise the faculty member will not be allowed to participate in the Program.
Factors to be considered by the Provost in evaluating the application and proposed retirement plan will include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
- the faculty member’s proposed retirement date and distributed teaching load and other university service during the phased retirement period,
- the needs of the department/program, and the ability of the department/program to cover teaching assignments during the phased retirement period; and
- other applicable departmental and university financial and operational considerations.
Although there are no set limits on who or how many faculty members will be allowed to participate in the Program, the university reserves the right to limit participants or determine the terms of Program participation, as determined at the discretion of the Provost. A faculty member whose application for participation in the Program is not accepted may re-apply for participation for a subsequent academic year or may elect normal retirement or early retirement, if eligible.
Details of the Phased Retirement Agreement
In consultation with the department chair/program director, the Provost, and Human Resources, the participating faculty member will propose a plan whereby they reduce their teaching load and their pay by equal percentages (e.g., 50% teaching load at 50% pay) for a defined period of time. Faculty members who wish to participate in the Program must agree to a teaching load that is at least half-time (50% or 3.0 units) along with other university service. Provost approval is required and approval is based upon University and departmental needs as described in Section II. Details of the phased retirement will be memorialized in a written phased retirement agreement that covers the following details:
- The duration of the faculty member’s participation in the Program will be one, two, or three years, with a maximum of three years.
- The percentages for workload and pay during the Program participation, which will be fixed for the duration of the faculty member’s participation in the Program or for a particular period and must be at least 50% (3.0 units) along with other university service.
- The faculty member will retain their rank during the phased retirement period and agree to resign their tenured faculty position with the university and relinquish their tenure rights effective as of the end of the phased retirement period.
- The phased retirement agreement will specify the faculty member’s retirement date.
In addition to the Phased Retirement Agreement the university and faculty member enter at the beginning of the Program, the faculty member also is required to sign a standard Release Agreement prior to participating in the Program and at the time of retirement. Participation in the Program is conditioned upon the faculty member entering into a standard Release Agreement prior to participating in the Program and at the end of the Program.
Because the Phased Retirement Program is intended to allow the university to plan in advance for faculty staffing, faculty members who enter the Program will not be permitted to extend their retirement dates beyond the end of the agreed upon phased retirement period. During the phased retirement period, the university may terminate the faculty member’s employment only under conditions fully covered in Chapter IV, Section 1.g.(1) and (2) of the Faculty Code. In addition, the decision to participate in the Program is irrevocable; provided, however, a participating faculty member may elect to discontinue Program participation and elect Normal Retirement prior to the end of the phased retirement period pursuant to the terms of the Normal Retirement policy, including all applicable notice requirements.
Examples of Phased Retirement Teaching Loads and Pay. Please note, terms of any Plan are subject to the approval of the Provost, and will also encompass other university service expectations:
- 1st year: 3.0 teaching units at ½ pay + eligible benefits
- 2nd year: 3.0 teaching units at ½ pay + eligible benefits
- 3rd year: 3.0 teaching units at ½ pay + eligible benefits
- 1st year: 4.0 teaching units at 2/3rds pay + eligible benefits
- 2nd year: 3.0 teaching units at ½ pay + eligible benefits
Other Terms and Conditions
The terms of each faculty member’s phased retirement will be more specifically described in the individual phased retirement agreement approved by the Provost. These will include the following terms unless otherwise specified:
- Calculating Years of Service. Participation in the Phased Retirement Program will not alter or affect the years of service of a full-time faculty member for purposes of the university’s faculty compensation process. Each year during the phased retirement will count as one year of service to the university for salary purposes.
- Eligibility for Annual Salary Increases. The faculty member’s annual salary during the phased retirement period will be eligible for standard increases. However, the total salary will be prorated to reflect the reduced teaching load and work performed.
- Faculty Voting Rights. Faculty participating in the Program will retain voting rights as members of the Faculty until retirement.
- University Service and Advising. University service and advising will continue to be required during every semester faculty participating in the Program are teaching at least one class. During the final year of phased retirement, the faculty member may request to be exempt from service on a standing committee.
- Department Service and Functions and University Events. Department service will continue to be required during Program participation. Individuals should work with their department chair/program director to ensure that program and advising needs are met and distributed equitably across all faculty members in the department or program. Department chairs and program directors are encouraged to work with faculty in order to phase out service and advising duties during the period of phased retirement. Faculty are invited to continue to participate in university events during the phased retirement period.
- Eligibility for University Enrichment Funds and Faculty Development Opportunities. Faculty will maintain eligibility for university enrichment funds and other faculty development opportunities during the phased retirement period.
- Sabbaticals. Pursuant to the university's Sabbatical Policy, and due to the part-time status while participating in the Program, faculty will be ineligible for sabbaticals after the start of the phased retirement period.
- Eligibility for Retirement Benefits. Faculty will remain eligible to participate in the university’s Retirement Savings Plan, in accordance with the terms of that plan. The university’s contributions will be based on the salary paid during the phased retirement period.
- Eligibility for Health Insurance. Faculty members teaching no fewer than 3.0 units each year will continue to be eligible to participate in the university’s health insurance plans as if the faculty member remained employed on a full-time basis in accordance with terms of those plans.
- Eligibility for Life and AD&D Insurance. Faculty will remain eligible to participate in life and AD&D insurance, including both university-provided and voluntary coverage, in accordance with the terms of the plan.
- Eligibility for Long-Term Disability Insurance. Faculty will no longer be eligible for long-term disability insurance benefits, after the start of the phased retirement period, in accordance with the terms of the plan.
- Eligibility for Educational Benefits. Faculty will be eligible for the university’s Educational Benefits Policy, in accordance with the terms of that policy.
- Office Space. The university will make every effort to accommodate Program participants in their offices. This process will include pertinent consultations with appropriate faculty members in the department or program, as well as the faculty member who is a Program participant.
- Faculty Evaluations. Faculty in the phased retirement period are exempt from being evaluated in the faculty evaluation process.
University Right to Modify or Terminate Phased Retirement Program
The university reserves the right to modify or terminate this Program at any time for any reason. However, any changes to this Program will not modify any phased retirement agreement already in effect between the university and any faculty member absent the written consent of both the Provost and the faculty member. Further, any modifications to the Program will not modify or alter the terms of the release between the university and the faculty member.
Policy Owner: Provost’s Office
Date Adopted: May 14, 2021
 Tenured faculty occupying full-time administrative positions are not eligible to participate in the Program until they vacate such positions.