Emeriti Rights

Emeriti Rights: An Unofficial guide and Compilation of Sources

The rights and privileges of emeriti faculty are documented in various University and campus by-laws and regulations. The Regents, Office of the President and System-wide Academic Senate provide the foundations. Campus Senate divisions and other campus-level authorities elaborate on but cannot contradict the System-wide regulations. Departments can extend voting and other rights to their emeriti faculty.


This guide and compilation is as accurate as I can make it, but it is not an official statement from the Academic Personnel Office or other University authority.


David Lopez, UCLA Faculty Retirement Liaison
revised August, 2017


The Right to Use the Emerita/us Title: Regents’ Standing Order 103.5 establishes that all Full and Associate Professors who are members of the Academic Senate automatically become Professor Emerita/us upon retirement. This is the central, fundamental right reserved for faculty retirees with Senate titles. Academics without Senate titles can apply for the right to use “emerita/us” along with their non-Senate titles, but conferral does not give them the rights of Senate membership (http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/governance/standing-orders/so1035.html).

Section 120 of the System-wide Academic Personnel Manual re-states the basic right, and elaborates on the criteria for conferral of emeriti status to non-Senate retirees (http://www.ucop.edu/academic-personnel-programs/_files/apm/apm-120.pdf). At UCLA, conferral requests are reviewed by the Senate’s Emeriti Affairs Committee and subject to approval of the Academic Vice Chancellor.

Continued Membership and Voting Rights in Departments and in the Academic Senate, and the Right to Serve as Grant Principal Investigator: The second fundamental right of Emeriti Professors is continued membership in the Senate and as Senate faculty members of their departments. Regents’ Standing Order 105.1 provides the foundation (http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/governance/standing-orders/so1051.html). System-wide Academic Senate Bylaws, Sections V.45:4 and VI.55:D (http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/manual/blpart1.html#bl55), re-state the basic right, and provide general guidelines on the conditions under which emeriti professors may have voting rights within their departments.

The rights of emeriti professors with respect to participation in the business of the Academic Senate are identical to those of active Senate faculty who have yet to retire, including the right to vote and to hold any office at the campus or systemwide levels. Emeriti remain eligible for Senate research support and competitive grants and awards. Emeriti have the same rights as active faculty to serve as a Principal Investigators, apply for extra-mural grants, and receive the support of the campus research apparatus (http://www.ucop.edu/research-policy-analysis-coordination/resources-tools/ucop-contracts-and-grants-team/ucop-contracts-and-grants-handbook.html#part1). Note that all these rights are guaranteed at the systemwide level.

Continued participation in departmental life is based on the rights of Senate emeriti. How this plays out varies by division and department. At a minimum you retain your UC email address. Emeriti should be listed among the departmental faculty, either separately, in a merged list, or both (https://www.apo.ucla.edu/policies/the-call/appendices-1/appendix-30-campus-policy-statement-on-office-and-laboratory-space-for-emeriti-faculty). Departments also routinely maintain research accounts and other basic services for emeriti. When it comes to THINGS (supplies, phones, etc.) it is up to the department, and practices vary widely. Space is a more complex issue, and is discussed separately below.

At UCLA, emeriti professors have the right to receive notice of and participate in non-personnel department meetings but NOT the automatic right to vote.  However if they are currently on recall status in the department, then individual emerita/us professors also have the right to vote on non-personnel matters. These are campus-level rights; departments cannot take them away. In contrast, there are no campus-level emeriti rights regarding attendance at personnel meetings or voting on personnel matters.  Departments can extend the right to attend personnel meetings and, separately, to vote on personnel or policy matters. They need to follow University-wide guidelines for doing so (https://www.apo.ucla.edu/policies/the-call/appendices-1/appendix-4-voting-rights). Your department’s practices are spelled out in the department’s by-laws, all of which are found at http://www.senate.ucla.edu/FormsDocs/bylaws/DeptBylaws/dept_bylaws.htm.

The Right to Teach and Serve on Dissertation Committees: Emeriti can continue to teach courses and serve on dissertation committees, as members or as chairs (http://m.gdnet.ucla.edu/gasaa/etd/committeereg.htm). You do not need to be recalled in order to serve on a dissertation committee. However, recall is required to receive compensation for teaching, research, or administrative service; refer to the section on recall below.

Remember that the teaching program and dissertation committee memberships in a department are always subject to the approval of the department chair, who must sign off. In the case of dissertation committees, technically the department chair is “recommending” committee chairs and membership to the Graduate Dean, who has final authority. We tend to assume that these approvals are automatic; they are not.

Your department chair does not have any control over your teaching outside of the department; but, of course, the department you would like to teach in has full control over your ability to serve in that unit. This goes for campus-wide programs like Fiat Lux and the Honors College, as well as other academic departments and programs. Again, this rule holds whether or not you have retired.

Research Professor Title: UCLA emeriti now have the opportunity to apply to use the title “Research Professor” instead of “Emerita/us.” Initial approvals last for 3 years (or the term of a particular external grant if it is more than 3 years) and renewals are possible but by no means automatic.  The source authority for this title at UCLA is a recently added appendix to the CALL (https://www.apo.ucla.edu/policies/the-call/appendices-1/appendix-38-research-professor).

Research Professor is a University of California “working title,” not an actual job or payroll title that denotes any particular status or set of privileges. The title is used in different ways from campus to campus. For example, at UCSD all emeriti who are on paid research recall are automatically called Research Professor.  In contrast, at UCLA there is no connection between authorization to use the Research Professor title and recall, paid or unpaid. You have to apply for the title, meet certain conditions, and obtain the written approval of your chair and dean. The application procedures are written as if you were already retired but you can include approval for the title as part of your departmental retirement agreement.

If you retire above scale, and have the dean’s approval to use the Research Professor title, then you can call yourself a “Distinguished Research Professor” for the term of your Research Professor appointment.

The Right to be Recalled: Emeriti faculty can be recalled for teaching, research, administrative service or some combination of the three. These appointments can be either unpaid or paid; if the latter, then payment is limited to no more than 43 percent of your salary at retirement, adjusted for the passage of time. The 43 percent limit applies to any one month, not just the entire year. If you exceed the 43 percent limit, then you may have to suspend your UC pension and other retiree benefits for the duration of the appointment.

There are complexities regarding the definition of “base salary,” especially for emeriti who were on the Health Sciences Compensation Plan before retirement. Recall guidelines are spelled out in the Academic Personnel Manual, section 205 (http://ucop.edu/academic-personnel-programs/_files/apm/apm-205.pdf).  The mechanics of the appointment/approval process are found in Appendix 28 of the UCLA CALL (https://www.apo.ucla.edu/policies/the-call/appendices-1/appendix-28-recall-appointments), but this appendix was actually written before section 205 of the APM, and needs revision.

Recall is pretty straightforward: if you are teaching, you are paid on a per-course basis (in 2017/2018, about $11,000 in most departments). Research recall usually means paying yourself from extramural grant funds; consult your unit administrator for details regarding benefits contributions, etc. Recall appointments are generally year-to-year, but can be longer, based on the term of research grants. Pre-retirement recall agreements are generally for three years. The 43 percent limit applies to the sum of all paid appointments you may have, including research, teaching and administration.

Recall status at UCLA does provide one additional, if rarely exercised, right: the right to vote on non-personnel matters within departments (discussed in the section on departmental membership above). Other than that, being on recall is usually just a way to get paid for continued part-time work. You need not be on recall to serve on Senate or student committees.

Office and Research Space: There is no systemwide or campus right to space for emeriti.  However, UCLA has a strong tradition of providing emeriti space. In recent years the Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor – Academic Personnel have issued regular calls to deans and department chairs to do what they can to encourage continued emeriti engagement in research and the life of departments. These calls explicitly include exhortations to provide space to active emeriti if at all possible. A few departments have written policies regarding space and other resources for emeriti. Most departments have a traditional practice that will govern your space situation after retirement. But circumstances change and interpretations of “tradition” vary, hence the importance of specifying post-retirement space understandings in your pre-retirement agreement, preferably a Pathways agreement (https://www.apo.ucla.edu/resources/pathways-to-retirement) that is as binding on departments as it is on the individual retiree (https://www.apo.ucla.edu/policies/the-call/appendices-1/appendix-30-campus-policy-statement-on-office-and-laboratory-space-for-emeriti-faculty; https://www.apo.ucla.edu/policies/official-memos/retirement-memo).

There was a time (roughly 1954 to 1991) when the University of California had a system-wide policy of enjoining departments to provide continuing office and research space for emeriti who maintained active research careers. This policy even laid out detailed guidelines for the allocation and review of individual emeriti space assignments (President Sproul to the campus administrations, October 12, 1954 (http://www.ucop.edu/academic-personnel-programs/_files/apm/apm-120.pdf). I do not know to what degree the Sproul letter dictated actual campus practices, but in any event, UC Presidential guidelines on emeriti space changed in 1991. President Gardiner’s January 29, 1991 directive to the campuses explicitly rescinded the Sproul rules, briefly lamented the shortage of office and laboratory space on all campuses, and then blandly urged campus leadership to “consider carefully the needs of productive emeritus professors in the allocation of available resources on your campus, and I urge you to encourage their continued participation in the affairs of their departments” (http://www.ucop.edu/academic-personnel-programs/_files/apm/apm-120.pdf). As far as I know, this is the last word from the Office of the President on emeriti space.

A recent survey of UCLA departmental practices regarding emeriti space found that most departments do in fact provide some sort of emeriti space, and those that do not say they wish they could. Most departments, at a minimum, provide limited-term assignment of individual or shared offices for a set number of years following retirement, or in conjunction with recall teaching. With respect to research, most departments report that laboratory and other research space is generally provided to emeriti on the same basis as it is provided to active faculty, i.e. on the basis of who can pay for it.

Additional Emeriti Rights and Privileges: For many emeriti, the most tangible advantage of emeriti status is the Emeriti parking permit, which, at the current $150/year, is almost free compared to what we are used to paying. Emeriti permits provide broad parking access, comparable to the Blue X level of coverage. You will need to contact the Emeriti/Retirees Relations Center (ERRC), 1116 Rolfe Hall; 310-825-7456 for approval and then visit the Transportation Office to obtain the Emeriti permit. Annual renewals are simple; you will be reminded by Transportation Office (https://main.transportation.ucla.edu/campus-parking/faculty-and-staff/parking-permits-for-ucla-emeriti-and-staff-retirees).

Emeriti also receive a discount in their Faculty Center dues: $15 per month instead of $20. Be sure to notify the Center as soon as you retire (http://facultycenter.ucla.edu/Membership/Membership-Types.aspx).

You should definitely upgrade your BruinCard to emeriti status. It serves as your library card and your UCLA photo ID for a variety of purposes and discounts. The Emeriti/Retirees Relations Center (ERRC) website outlines the procedure to obtain your new card as well as a list of the major discounts available to emeriti and other UCLA retirees (http://www.errc.ucla.edu/Privileges).