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Voluntary Phased Separation Program for Tenured Faculty

  1. Policy Statement
    An optional voluntary phased separation program is offered to eligible tenured faculty members at Old Dominion University ("University"). It permits them to phase down their work expectations in the final years of their career and will provide opportunities for a phased approach to separation for those who prefer a gradual transition to full retirement. It responds to the expressed desires of many faculty members to move into retirement gradually, and it enables departments and schools and colleges to plan for the replacement of faculty members in advance of their actual retirement.
  2. Eligibility
    A full-time tenured faculty member is eligible to participate in the Voluntary Phased Separation Program if, as of the date his or her phased separation would commence under the Voluntary Phased Separation Program, he or she is at least 55 years of age and has completed at least 10 academic years of full-time employment at the University. Faculty who occupy full-time administrative positions are not eligible for the program until they vacate the administrative position. Thus, phased separation will be only for those performing teaching, research, and service duties under faculty appointment. (The Board of Visitors reserves the right, in appropriate situations deemed to be in the best interests of the University, to disregard the requirement of a faculty appointment.)
  3. Participation and Compensation
    1. Phase-Down Period. Eligible faculty members may apply to take a reduced workload over a period of one year to a maximum three years (the phase-down period), followed by retirement at the end of the phase-down period.
    2. Workload During the Phase-Down Period. The workload of faculty members participating in the program would be a 50% workload as specified by the chair and approved by the Dean and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. This workload could be distributed throughout the academic year. However, with the agreement of the department chair, formal class teaching duties may be executed in one semester with advising, mentoring and service obligations continuing through the academic year.
    3. Tenure. Eligible faculty members participating in the program do not enjoy the benefits of tenure. They may not serve on committees that require members be tenured. Otherwise, participants have the same academic freedoms and responsibilities as other faculty members and have access to all grievance and appeal procedures available to non-tenured members of the faculty who are not participating in the program.
    4. Compensation and Benefits. An appointment under this policy would be compensated by a salary equal to 50% of the participant's previous academic year's base salary enhanced by 50% of the cost of medical insurance. Basic and Optional Life insurance coverage will be based on the participant's 50% salary. Participants will continue to be eligible for annual merit salary increases.

                 Participants will continue to be enrolled in the University's retirement plans (Virginia Retirement System or Optional retirement Plan) with University and employee contributions based on the 50% salary.

    5. Limitations on Participation. Eligible faculty members do not have an absolute right to participate in the program. Departments, schools, colleges or the University may limit participation in the program if there is a finding that financial circumstances prohibit enrollment in the program by the eligible faculty member or if enrollment in the program would substantially weaken academic quality or disrupt program sequence within the department, school, college or the University. Further, a department, school, college or the University may each establish a cap or limit on the number of eligible faculty members who may enter the program.
    6. Procedure for Participation. An eligible faculty member interested in participating in the Voluntary Phased Separation Program must make a transition appointment proposal to his or her chair, by October 15 preceding the fall semester in which they intend to begin the phase down, and work with the chair and relevant Dean to develop a mutually agreeable transition appointment and set of duties for a period of one to three years leading to the date of full retirement. Eligible faculty members with joint appointments between two or more departments, schools or colleges must receive approval from each of the chairs and deans.

               A Dean may refuse to recommend or alter a proposed transition appointment based on legitimate institutional need. Refusal to recommend or alter a faculty member's proposed transition appointment by the Dean, to which the faculty member objects, is subject to review and decision by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. A final determination of whether the disapproval or an alteration of a proposed transition appointment is based on legitimate institutional need will be made by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Examples of legitimate institutional need are such situations as the unavailability of another person to offer a particular required course or the need for the individual's exclusive expertise for an externally funded research grant.

               In order to participate in the Voluntary Phased Separation Program, an eligible faculty member must complete a Voluntary Agreement and General Release. When a transition appointment has been agreed to by the eligible faculty member, chair, Dean, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the faculty member's Voluntary Phased Separation Agreement will be forwarded to the Office of Academic Affairs for processing. An eligible faculty member's Voluntary Phased Separation Agreement must be signed by the faculty member, the faculty member's Dean, and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in order for it to be final and binding.

               Once the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs has signed the Voluntary Phased Separation Agreement, the agreement to retire within the term specified is final and binding. However, nothing in the program precludes a participating faculty member from terminating his or her phased separation in favor of complete retirement at any time.

  4. Administrative Provisions
    The University may make such exceptions to the requirements of the Voluntary Phased Separation Program as the President and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs jointly determine to be in the best interests of the University. In addition, the University reserves the right to formally amend the existing provisions of the Voluntary Phased Separation Program or to terminate the Voluntary Phased Separation Program at such time(s) as it deems appropriate.
- Adopted by the Board of Visitors
June 16, 2011


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