MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXI No. 4
March / April / May 2009
Should One Size Fit All?
Rethinking the Math Core
Tom Kochan New Faculty Chair
Distrust of Educational Innovations
Engineering Excellence in Challenging Times
Leadership Skills for Engineering and
Science Faculty
Interview with Director of MIT Medical
Dr. William Kettyle
Update on the Faculty Renewal Program
Newsletter Adds Two Board Members
The Moral Moment: Departing Words from
the Outgoing Faculty Chair
MIT Faculty Vote to Make Their Articles Openly Available
TA Training Bootcamp Reinforces Curriculum Innovations and Improves Recitation Experience in Freshman Chemistry Course
MIT Faculty Work/Life Website Created
MISTI Launches Call for Second Round of Global Seed Fund Proposals
Laughing Together
West Garage
Bernard M. Gordon-MIT Leadership Program: Developing Engineering Leaders of Tomorrow
The Need for Interdisciplinary Education
MIT 150 Exhibit to Celebrate Institute's
150th Birthday
The Federal Research Dollar
on the MIT Campus
The Future of Medical Care?
Printable Version

Update on the Faculty Renewal Program

Douglas Pfeiffer

The MIT Faculty Renewal Program was established in 2008 and was designed to offer eligible senior faculty members the option to retire voluntarily with certain incentives, as part of the Institute’s overall goal of providing academic departments with opportunities to recruit junior faculty into tenure-track positions. The Program recently completed the application phase for those faculty who were eligible to participate in Year 1 of the Program. Of the 74 faculty who were eligible to participate in the first year, 19, or 26% of those eligible, have elected to do so. Because the program provides flexibility regarding the chosen date of retirement, eight of these first-year participants plan to retire in 2009, and 11 plan to retire in 2010 (though no later than June 30, 2010). Year 1 participants include faculty from each of MIT’s five Schools and have a mean age of 72.5.

The program will be in effect for three years, with the earliest retirements occurring in July, 2009, and subsequent retirements continuing through June, 2012. Faculty members who reached age 68 by June 30, 2008 and who will have at least 10 years of MIT service by their retirement date are eligible to participate.

During each year of the three-year program, a distinct age group of faculty is eligible to participate, as follows (n = number of faculty eligible each year):

            Year 1: Those faculty who were 70 and above by June 30, 2008 (n = 74)
            Year 2: Those who turn 70 between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009 (n = 17)
            Year 3: Those who turn 70 between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010 (n = 16)

Eligible faculty may choose one of two incentive options offered by the Program:

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

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

For purposes of comparison, the average annual number of faculty retirements over the past three fiscal years (2006, 2007, 2008) was 12, keeping in mind that all faculty age 55 and above with at least 10 years of service are normally eligible for retirement under general MIT policy. Therefore, additional retirements beyond those connected with the Faculty Renewal Program are expected for the current year.

MIT previously offered a “Special Retirement Incentive Program” in 1996 that was substantially different from the current Faculty Renewal Program in terms of its timing, eligibility requirements, and incentive structure, so it is difficult to make direct comparisons between the outcomes of the two programs (while also noting that the Faculty Renewal Program will not be completed for two more years). In any case, the 1996 program, which specified 55 as the minimum age requirement, and in which all retirements occurred in a single phase, recorded 79 acceptances out of 299 eligible faculty members, yielding an overall acceptance rate of 26%, the same rate as Year 1 of the current program.

Those faculty who are eligible to participate in the second year of the Faculty Renewal Program may submit an application beginning July 1, 2009. For a full description of the Program’s benefits, eligibility requirements, and schedules, please see the Faculty Renewal Program web site:

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