MIT Faculty Renewal Program

May 19, 2008

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

We all recognize the fundamental value of faculty renewal for keeping the Institute community strong yet nimble. Identifying the best incentives and methods to ease senior faculty’s transition to retirement thereby providing opportunities for academic departments to recruit junior faculty members into tenure track positions is a complex task. We are grateful for the efforts of Associate Provost Lorna Gibson and Vice President for Human Resources Alison Alden for leading a working group over the past year in developing a policy related to faculty renewal.

Following the recommendations of the working group, I am pleased to announce that the Executive Committee of the Corporation has approved the establishment of a Faculty Renewal Program at MIT. Participation in the program is completely voluntary and enables eligible senior faculty members to retire with a choice of retirement incentives. The program will be in effect for a defined period of three years, with the earliest retirements beginning July 1, 2009, although faculty eligible to retire in the first year of the program may begin on July 1, 2008 to make an election to retire.

Although the working group explored programs that would remain indefinitely, the Institute’s financial resources and related considerations indicated that a program with a limited duration would best match our goals at this time.

A detailed description of the plan will be mailed to eligible faculty and be posted on the Faculty Renewal web site (http://web.mit.edu/facultyrenewal/). Below are key facts about the program:

Eligibility: Tenured faculty who are age 68 and above by June 30, 2008 and have accumulated at least 10 years of MIT service at the time that they retire will be eligible to participate in the program.

Incentives: Eligible faculty may choose one of the following two options:

  1. A financial incentive upon retirement equivalent in value to one academic year salary.

    or
     

  2. Release from regular classroom teaching responsibilities (but with normal research, advising, and administrative obligations) during the final year leading to retirement, while continuing to receive full pay and benefits.
     

Program schedule: For each year of the three-year program, eligible faculty will have a six-month period in which to elect to retire, followed by a one-year period during which the actual retirement must take place. In Year 1, the program will be open to those faculty who are age 70 and above by 6/30/08; in Year 2, it will be available to faculty who reach age 70 by 6/30/09; and in Year 3, it will be available to faculty who reach age 70 by 6/30/10. A detailed schedule of election periods and retirement periods will be provided to each eligible faculty member.

Benefits counselors in the Department of Human Resources are available to consult with eligible faculty about their retirement benefits in the context of the incentives offered under the program. Faculty may call 617-253-4272 or e-mail retirement@mit.edu to make an appointment.

I believe this program will help the Institute respond to educational and research priorities that evolve over time and will contribute to our continuing efforts to build a diverse faculty at MIT. If you have any questions about the program, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

L. Rafael Reif