Chapter 14. Leaving the University

14.1 Expirations of Contracts and Terminations

Members of the faculty whose contracts are subject to simple expiration include all "temporary" faculty (see Chapter 4: Academic Responsibilities and Ranks). At least a month before the appointment of such a faculty member is to lapse, the department should handle the termination process via the Human Resources system.

Under Faculty Rules, procedures more involved than these need be followed when the contracts of regular members of the junior faculty are not being renewed. If a department is recommending the termination of employment of someone who is in the penultimate year of the probationary period, then the procedures for a complete tenure review must have already been followed (see Chapter 10), except in those cases where the untenured faculty member has stated in writing that no tenure review is desired. Another exception to this requirement is allowed for individuals who were informed, as a condition of their employment, that their positions at the University could not lead to promotion or tenure, or who were informed as a result of an earlier review that their current contract is the final one.

When final expiration of such contracts is a month away, the department should handle the termination process via the Human Resources system.

14.2 Resignations

When a member of the faculty plans to resign from the University, the department Chair should send to the appropriate divisional Dean's office a copy of the individual's official letter of resignation, and handle the termination process via the Human Resources system. The resignation letter will be acknowledged by the Dean.

The usual date of resignation is June 30 of any given year. Please note that faculty who receive their academic year's salary in twelve installments are not entitled to pay for the months of July and August, even if their resignations are effective as late as August 31st.

The appropriate divisional Dean or her/his designee will whenever possible interview all regular faculty members who resign positions at Brown University.

14.3 Retirement

Faculty who intend to retire from active service should send a letter to the appropriate divisional Dean to this effect. Faculty Seeking additonal information about retirement options should contact the Provost's office.

Please contact the Office of BioMed Faculty Affairs or Public Health Faculty Affairs & Administration for search procedure guidelines in either of these divisions.  This policy refers to departments reporting to the Dean of the Faculty. The Division of Biology and Medicine and the School of Public Health may have other practices.

14.3.1 Emeritus Status

When a faculty member retires, he or she is customarily given the rank and title of Professor Emeritus or Professor Emerita. However, not all retiring persons receive that designation. The University policy for determining who shall be entitled to it is as follows:

  • Tenured faculty and faculty at the rank of Full Professor are recommended to the Corporation for the emerita/emeritus title upon retirement.
  • Other faculty may be recommended for such a title, provided that they have served a minimum of fifteen years’ service as faculty at Brown University (or equivalent for medical faculty in the community), and are retiring from the faculty.
  • Administrators who have exempt classifications and have served a minimum of fifteen years at Brown University as administrators and/or faculty, may be recommended for the emerita/emeritus title to the Corporation upon their retirement from Brown University.
  • All such recommendations are made by the appropriate senior administrator (Provost, Dean of the Faculty, Senior Vice President, Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences or Dean of Public Health) to the President for his or her approval and subsequent presentation by the President to the Corporation.

The following applies only to emeritus faculty; it does not refer to emeritus administrators without faculty rank, or to retiring persons who do not qualify for the emeritus rank.

Emeritus professors remain members of the faculty of Brown University with all the privileges appertaining to that rank except three:

  • They are no longer tenured, if they previously were.
  • They do not receive pay from the University unless they also hold an adjunct, research, or visiting appointment.
  • They are not voting members of the faculty. [Emeritus professors who also hold a faculty or University committee assignment to which they have been elected by the Faculty and/or a teaching assignment shall have voting rights (Faculty Rules and Regulations, Part 1, Section 1.I.A.1).]

With regard to the second of these restrictions, if emeritus faculty are to perform services for the University that entitle them to receive a salary, they will be appointed to an appropriate (usually "adjunct") rank for the period during which the services are to be performed.

14.4 Retired Faculty and Departmental Affairs

Certain privileges for emeritus faculty as well as certain activities in which they may wish to participate are at the discretion and under the control of individual departments and divisions. There is at present no standard or consistent body of policy governing these matters; each department makes its own rules. Nevertheless each department is required to establish written guidelines governing the policy of the department affecting retired faculty.

Guidelines developed by the department should deal with matters under departmental control such as: office and laboratory space; counseling students; teaching; departmental governance; and service on committees. It is not necessary that emeritus faculty be permitted to share in all these matters, but it is important that they be clearly informed regarding the degree to which the department permits or invites their participation.

Department chairs should keep themselves informed of the status and welfare of emeritus faculty and their surviving spouses and partners, and notify the Provost of any particular circumstances where intervention or assistance by the University's administration might be desirable.

14.4.1 Participation in Departmental Affairs

The involvement of retired faculty in University and departmental affairs varies considerably across departments and across the campus. Some retiring faculty, of course, have no desire to participate in departmental or University affairs. They may move away from the Providence area. They may choose to disassociate themselves entirely from Brown in favor of independent activities of various sorts, including even accepting a teaching or research position at another institution. But there are those who wish to maintain a close connection. Their participation in University and departmental affairs can be beneficial, not only to themselves but also to various aspects of the University's program of education, research, and community relations.

Because of the informal situation described above, retiring faculty who wish to maintain a connection with their departments and participate in some of their activities are urged to consult with the department Chair well in advance of their actual retirement and reach agreement then about the nature and degree of their future participation. This need not be an overly formal kind of negotiation, but because of the rapid turnover of chairs, it would not be amiss for certain matters agreed to be spelled out in writing, if only as a means of avoiding future misunderstanding.

The following are important areas of departmental discretion with regard to emeritus faculty.

Office and Laboratory Space

The allocation of office space is a departmental responsibility, and the emeritus professor's needs for space and desire to retain an office have to be considered in relation to the general availability of space in the department. Above all, the emeritus faculty member should inform the Chair before retirement, and each subsequent year, regarding their expectations for use of an office. It is then the Chair's responsibility to consider such an allocation as part of the overall assignment of space to department members.

The same considerations apply to access to laboratory space and facilities in those departments that maintain laboratories. The emeritus professor's needs and wishes in this regard must be considered in the light of the ongoing research program of the department, the nature of the emeritus professor's research, and the availability of laboratory resources.

Counseling Students

Some departments welcome the assistance of emeritus faculty in counseling students, especially in fields of their specialties. This may extend to serving on doctoral committees or supervising masters' or senior honors theses. Usually this is done on an individualized basis, but some emeritus professors keep regular office hours.


The most common participation of emeritus faculty in the teaching program is giving occasional guest lectures on invitation in colleagues' courses. This may extend to taking over a course for a brief period when the regular instructor must be absent. Emeritus professors also may give informal reading courses to individual students or to small groups, with or without credit. Because of the constraint against paying emeriti, this type of teaching activity is voluntary and unpaid; the satisfaction of teaching and having continued contact with students must be themselves sufficient reward. When retired professors are enlisted to give a regular departmental course, they are normally appointed Adjunct Professor and paid accordingly.

14.5 Other

14.5.1 Computer Policy for Retired Faculty

Permission to use a computer and related peripheral equipment belonging to the University at an off-campus location may be granted to retiring faculty who expect to continue to use such equipment for their research and/or other University business. The equipment that is available under this policy is restricted to items to which the faulty member had exclusive access before retirement, that is, equipment that was not shared with others or was part of an on-going research project. In cases of disagreement on these matters, the relevant department Chair shall decide.

The retiring faculty member at the time of leaving the University's employment shall agree to certain conditions concerning the (i) ownership, (ii) responsibility for proper use, (iii) security, (iv) repair, and (v) return and disposal of the computer equipment in question.

For a detailed written statement of this policy, including the above conditions, please inquire at the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, which first promulgated this policy on May 1, 1994.

14.5.2 Access to Retiree Health Insurance

Effective April 1, 2005, Brown University made arrangements for access to group post-retirement health insurance for all retired faculty and staff ages 65 and above and their spouses and/or partners also ages 65 and above. The University’s Benefit’s Office has the most up-to-date information on this plan.