Dean of the Faculty: Faculty Handbook

Retirement

As a faculty member approaches retirement, he or she should consult with the dean of the faculty and the Department of Human Resources.

Retired faculty have emeritus status. Emeriti may participate in formal college ceremonies such as commencement and convocation. They retain library privileges and full access to campus facilities though they cannot normally be granted the use of laboratory or office space. The college will invite those who retire in the area to participate in a variety of college social events.

a. Retirement Plans

Please note that a special Enhanced Faculty Phased Retirement Option is being offered until June 30, 2018. See the end of this retirement section for details.

(1) TIAA-CREF Retirement Income Plan. All full-time and part-time faculty and trustee-appointed administrators having completed two years of service, may participate in the college's TIAA-CREF retirement plan. The waiting periods may be waived in cases of new appointees with immediate prior service in a related industry at the time of appointment to Amherst College.

The basic plan provides for a college contribution of 6 percent of monthly compensation up to an integration level established annually, and 9 percent of earnings in excess of that level. Through the matching plan, a participant may elect to contribute 1, 2, or 3 percent of base salary and the college will make an equal, additional contribution to the plan.

The participant may elect to have the total premium applied either to the TIAA annuity or to CREF, or may elect to divide the total premium between TIAA and CREF in any proportion.

Participants' contributions may be made on a pre-tax or after-tax basis.

TIAA and CREF premiums are payable on the first of each month and will be deducted from salary in the same month (for example, July 1 premiums will be deducted from July 31 salary).

The TIAA contract and CREF certificate are the full and immediate property of the individual and on severance from the college may be transferred elsewhere, continued privately, or suspended, and may be redeemed by lump sum payment in accordance with college policy and TIAA repurchase conditions.

Pamphlets describing the various conditions of the plan, tax shelter procedures, and options available under TIAA and CREF are available in the Department of Human Resources.

(2) Tax Deferred Annuity Plan. GSRA Plans. Employees of the college may, through a properly drawn salary reduction agreement with the college, direct a portion of their compensation towards the purchase of a Group Supplemental Retirement Annuity (GSRA). Such reductions of compensation would not be subject to Federal income tax until they are received as benefits, which can be as early as age fifty-nine and a-half without restrictions, or earlier, under certain circumstances, but generally occurs when the participant is retired and in a lower tax bracket. A GSRA is an annuity contract especially designed for use by those who want to set aside tax-deferred retirement funds over and above amounts being accumulated under the college's basic retirement plan.

GSRA annuities, like regular TIAA and CREF annuities, are fully owned by the faculty member, provide the same choice of lifetime annuity income options, provide for loans, and are not assignable. GSRA annuities can be established with the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, or the faculty member may select another plan, subject to such plan meeting the administrative requirements of the college.

(3) Optional Phased Retirement Plan.

Please note that a special Enhanced Faculty Phased Retirement Option is being offered until June 30, 2018. See the end of this retirement section for details.

Any regular member of the faculty with ten years or more of tenured service may elect to participate in the Optional Phased Retirement Plan at the end of the college year in which their sixtieth or subsequent birthdays to age seventy occur. Arrangements to participate in the plan should be made with the dean of the faculty by January 1 of the college year preceding entry into the plan. Such arrangements will be incorporated into an agreement which is subject to the approval of the president. The faculty member's department should be informed of the arrangements at the earliest possible date.

The plan provides opportunity for a member of the faculty to teach part time through the end of the college year in which age seventy is attained. The plan also provides an early retirement option (see below) that does not require teaching. This option is available to members of the faculty as early as the end of the college year in which their sixty-second birthday occurs through the end of the year in which their sixty-fifth birthday occurs.

The general provisions of the plan are:

(a) Stipends. Stipends are payments for services rendered as established by the agreement. The value will be adjusted annually to reflect the percent change in the average salary of full professors.

(b) Service Agreement. The individual choosing to participate in the plan will teach two courses in either one semester or both of a given academic year as agreed upon with the dean of the faculty and the department. During the period that a faculty member is on phased retirement, he or she may take up to one year of unpaid leave of absence. A faculty member on phased retirement is not eligible for sabbatic leave. It is expected that other obligations such as advising students and committee or community service will continue on a half-time basis.

(c) Retirement Income and Benefits

1) The college will pay the participating faculty member a percentage of his or her salary as follows, adjusted annually to reflect the percent change in the average salary of full professors through the end of the year in which age sixty-five occurs: 

(1) Ages 60 - 61

  70 percent of salary

(2) Ages 62 - 65

  60 percent of salary

2) The College Housing and Second Mortgage Programs are available under the same terms as applicable to regular faculty.

3) The Grant-in-Aid Program is applicable.

4) The participant may continue in the basic Group Life Insurance Program with coverage based on the estimated full time salary adjusted annually to reflect the percent change in the average salary of full professors. The college pays the full cost of this benefit for the length of the agreement generally to the end of the year in which age seventy is attained.

5) Participation in the college's health and dental plans will be continued on the same cost basis as regular faculty members from the date of entry into the Phased Retirement Plan until the service agreement terminates.

Thereafter, a supplement to Medicare is available at no cost to participants for life for faculty hired prior to July 1, 2003. Dental benefits normally cease at retirement but may be extended at the faculty member's expense through COBRA. The college will reimburse the participants for the cost of Medicare premiums for self and spouse if the faculty member meets certain grandfathering provisions. Spouse and dependent's coverage under a medical plan may be added at the individual's expense.

6) Facilities.  Library and secretarial services normally accorded faculty in connection with services rendered are available to the participant.

7. The college will continue to contribute to the individual's retirement annuity with TIAA-CREF. The participant will also be required to contribute to TIAA-CREF. The amount will be the same as those for active faculty, 9 percent up to an integration level established annually, and 12 percent of the balance of salary. Employee contributions will equal 3 percent of salary.

8) Disability benefits through TIAA-CREF cease upon participation in the Phased Retirement Plan. In the event of disability between the ages of sixty and sixty-five, early retirement income of 60 percent or 70 percent, depending on the age at time of disability, will continue through the end of the college year in which age sixty-five is attained. The service stipend will cease at the end of the month in which the disability occurs.

9) In the event of death between the ages of sixty and sixty-five, a death benefit will be paid to the next of kin (if dependent) consisting of six months' payment of estimated full salary. Payments of premiums to TIAA-CREF will cease at the end of the month in which death occurs.

10) Participation in the Amherst Plan may continue coincident with the service agreement.

(4) Early Retirement. Teaching or performance of other services is not required. The college will provide 60 percent of salary between the ages of sixty-two and sixty-five, plus all the above benefits excluding the stipend for services rendered, retirement plan contributions, and Amherst Plan.

Eligibility for early retirement ceases at the end of the college year in which age sixty-five is attained.

ENHANCED PHASED RETIREMENT OPTION
FOR FACULTY AGE SIXTY-THREE AND OLDER

AVAILABLE UNTIL JUNE 30, 2018
This program is designed for faculty who have not entered phased retirement by the time they turn sixty-three. This option retains all of the features of the core option (see below) but adds a salary percentage stipend for (an additional) one to three years for those entering into the program later. No colleague will be entitled to a salary percentage stipend for more than three years, and the stipend percentage will be set at 50 percent of salary for those years in which a faculty member participates in the plan beyond age sixty-five. This percentage is purposefully set below those for the plan years at ages sixty to sixty-five, in order to maintain a stronger incentive for those considering early retirement to retire earlier. Those colleagues entering into a phased retirement option at age sixty-three or sixty-four will also be entitled to the 50 percent stipend for their post-sixty-five years, up to a maximum of three years of salary stipend. This proposal includes offering a 50 percent stipend to those past seventy, again with the three-year term. Those who have previously entered into a Phased Retirement Option agreement will not be eligible for the Enhanced Phased Retirement Option. Stipulations in the existing phased retirement program concerning when a faculty member agrees to retire have not been changed in this program. Thus, some colleagues entering into the program “early” will only be agreeing to retire by age seventy (seven years for a colleague at sixty-three).

BRIDGE APPOINTMENTS
Mellon funding will be used to support bridge appointments only for those faculty members who enter into the program at sixty-five or older (a maximum of five years to full retirement). Bridge appointments associated with younger participants in the program will be supported entirely through college funds. This enhancement will be extended to the entire Amherst faculty, again using a combination of Mellon and college funds, and will only be offered during the period of the Mellon grant, four academic years from 2014-2018.

The Enhanced Phased Retirement Option described above will be implemented in sync with a program of bridge appointments and through a variety of approaches. The dean will identify departments that have multiple colleagues of retirement age and invite them to apply for bridge appointments, with the option of also applying for funding to develop departmental transition plans. As mentioned above, the dean will also meet with individuals who express interest in the program. In addition, all departments are invited to make proposals for bridge appointments.

The process for proposing and allocating bridge appointments will mimic as closely as possible the college’s regular FTE allocation procedures. Once a faculty member expresses interest in retiring on the condition that a bridge appointment is made, the person and his or her department will consult with the dean and then submit a proposal for a bridge FTE/retirement plan to the Committee on Educational Policy (CEP). If the CEP makes a recommendation to the president and the dean for the bridge FTE, the dean will meet with the senior faculty member. A signed retirement agreement, stating that the senior colleague’s phased retirement will be contingent on the president and the dean awarding the new FTE to the senior colleague’s department, will be requested. Once the agreement is signed, the president and the dean will allocate the bridge FTE. A national search will then be launched, according to the college's regular schedule and procedures.

CORE PHASED RETIREMENT OPTION (Described above as well)
The regular, continuing phased retirement option offers choices that are most advantageous for those aged sixty to sixty-five. All agreements except the post-age seventy option require faculty members to retire by age seventy. Those who enter into phased retirement agreements at ages sixty or sixty-one receive 70 percent of their salary through the end of the academic year in which age sixty-two occurs, 60 percent of their salary from ages sixty-two through sixty-five, and a teaching stipend until they reach age seventy. Under the plan, faculty members have a reduced teaching load of two courses per year until they retire at age seventy. Those who enter into phased retirement agreements at ages sixty-two to sixty-five receive 60 percent of their salary through the end of the academic year in which age sixty-five occurs, as well as the other benefits described above. There is also an early retirement option for faculty members who are sixty-two or older, in which the faculty member agrees to retire by the end of the academic year in which age sixty-five occurs but does not teach, and the college provides 60 percent of salary each year plus all the above benefits except the teaching stipend. Compensation is calculated based on the faculty member’s annual salary when he or she enters the plan. Participants in the phased retirement plan may forego their teaching obligation for one year, and forego the teaching stipend that year, while under the plan agreement. Both imputed annual salaries and the teaching stipend are raised each year by the percentage of the average raise for full professors that year. In addition, for those seventy or older, the college offers a special three-year phased retirement option, during which the faculty member’s teaching load is reduced to two courses per year, and his or her compensation for those years is just the teaching stipend described above. Again colleagues have the option of retiring before the three years are complete, but they agree to retire by the end of those three years.