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Emeritus or Emerita Status

Conferral of the title of emeritus/a is recommended by the president to the Board of Visitors for approval to recognize certain faculty who have given exemplary service to the university.

Further information about eligibility for emeritus/a designation can found in Section 2 of the Faculty Handbook.

Nomination Process

Faculty members eligible for emeritus/a status should determine their retirement date in consultation with the Department of Human Resources (HR).

For T&R faculty, emeritus/a nominations may be initiated by the faculty member’s department head/chair, school director, or other senior administrator in consultation with the faculty member.

For A/P Faculty, nominations may be initiated by the faculty member’s supervisor or other senior administrator, in consultation with the faculty member.

Nominations consist of a nomination form and a draft resolution for the Board of Visitors.

For T&R faculty: Consistent with processes for faculty honorifics, each college should have formal procedures for the nomination and appointment of faculty to emeritus or emerita status that include review by a college honorifics committee or promotion and tenure committee.  After review by the appropriate college committee the college dean makes recommendations for approval by the provost, who then reviews and makes a recommendation to the president and the Board of Visitors.

For A/P faculty: After review by the A/P Faculty Senate Elections and Nominations Committee, the A/P Faculty Senate President makes recommendations for approval to the executive vice president and chief operating officer who then reviews and forwards to the provost to bring recommendations to the president and the Board of Visitors.

For T&R faculty: the college dean’s office reviews and approves nominations, and then submits electronically via Sharepoint or via email to Rachel Gabriele in advance of deadlines for the upcoming Board of Visitors Meeting. See the Calendar of Important Dates for these deadlines.

For A/P faculty: the office of the executive vice president and chief operating officer approves nominations and then forwards them electronically via email to Rachel Gabriele. See the Calendar of Important Dates for these deadlines.

Note: nominated faculty can only be brought to the Board of Visitors for consideration after their official retirement date, which may differ from their last day of work.

Those recommended for emeritus/a status are reviewed and approved at the quarterly meetings of the Board of Visitors. HR is notified of all approved nominations, and a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation are provided to the emeritus/a faculty member. A copy of the approved resolution will also be sent to the faculty member’s department and college (where appropriate) for their records.

Displaying Information in online directory

Generally, retirees' information will not display in the VT People Search or other online white pages. Emeritus/a faculty members may elect to have their information displayed in VT People Search. For instructions, refer to Displaying or Concealing Your Personal Information.

Other Benefits for Emeritus or Emerita Faculty Members

Each department or unit will need to consider the individual circumstances of their emeritus/a faculty members and their likelihood or interest in continued engagement with the university. The following benefits may be extended to emeritus/a faculty, but as there may be costs associated with each, final determination of which benefits will be provided to the faculty member is at the discretion of the department or unit.

Assignment of Working Space and Support

Working space, including offices and laboratories, and services are limited resources and are normally allocated first to faculty on active duty in teaching and research. However, working space and services may be provided (insofar as available) to emeritus/a faculty members so that they may continue professional activities as members of the Virginia Tech faculty.

Planning for and assignment of space and services is the responsibility of department heads, chairs, school directors, and deans, and includes judgment of the need for such space and services based on likely use of those resources by the emeritus/a faculty member. Prior to retirement, a faculty member may submit for consideration a request for space, administrative support, or other services and supplies needed in the continued pursuit of the faculty member's professional activities.

Research and Travel

Emeritus/a faculty members may submit proposals through appropriate university channels for grants from outside agencies to support their scholarly activities and may serve as principal investigators on such grants. It is expected that the assignment of working space and support for such grant-funded research will follow the guidelines set out in the previous section.

Emeritus/a faculty members may apply to appropriate university offices for financial support for continuing research and for funds to support travel to professional meetings. Requests for such financial support from regular faculty members on active duty will generally be given priority in allocating such resources.

If an emeritus/a faculty member is serving as an official member on a departmental, college, or university committee, they retain voting rights on that committee. Department heads, chairs, and school directors are urged to take advantage of the expertise and experience of emeritus/a faculty by seeking their counsel informally or inviting their participation in committees or projects where they can make a contribution.

Emeritus/a faculty members who are chairing or serving on a graduate advisory committee at the time of retirement may continue in that role with full status until the students have completed their work. An emeritus/a faculty member may be made a member of a graduate advisory committee following retirement. Eligibility to chair a newly formed committee is governed by Graduate School policy (see "Graduate Advisory Committee" in the Graduate Catalog.

Teaching, Research, or Special Assignments

Departments or schools may contract with emeritus/a faculty members for teaching, advising, research, or other special responsibilities in part-time positions where their expertise and experience are best suited. Guidelines for contracting with emeritus/a faculty members for these services can be found in section 2.5 (“Part-time temporary re-employment after retirement”) of Policy 4410: Voluntary Transitional Retirement Program for Tenured Faculty.

Emeritus/a faculty members are listed in the university catalogs for life.

Other non-financial benefits for all retiring faculty members are described in University Policy 4405.

Frequently Asked Questions

This will vary by college—in making this change to expand the eligibility to all faculty, one priority was to ensure that the emeritus/a designation was reserved for outstanding faculty, similar to being named to an endowed position—from the resolution for these changes: “to uphold the preeminent distinction of the emeritus/emerita designation”. This review/honorifics committee could be one that already exists, or a subcommittee that is designated for these particular reviews. If the college chooses, they may also decide to delegate the review to a departmental honorifics committee. 

No. Continuing with current practice, we assume the accuracy of the statements in each resolution—our office will review and verify if needed as we prepare the resolution for the BOV. The committee may, however, suggest edits that would, for example, better capture the breadth of accomplishments of a nominee.

Exemplary may take different forms for different types of faculty. The resolution/handbook language provides some examples are provided to guide those considerations:

“These contributions may, for example, be demonstrated through teaching awards, leadership or extensive service in transformative university initiatives, especially impactful community engagement, or evidence of national or international distinction”.

If a faculty member is eligible for retirement from Virginia Tech, be they regular or restricted, then they are eligible to be nominated for emeritus/a designation.

Documentation of review or votes is not required by the Provost’s Office for emeritus/a nominations (though it may be required by the college). The Provost’s Office expects that the dean will confirm the honorifics review has occurred before signing and submitting the nomination form. Colleges may wish to include a letter from the dean confirming that an honorifics review has occurred, but it is not required.

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