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2020-2021 Retirement Planning-Components to Pathways Memo

UCLA Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Personnel


Date:               November 16, 2020 

To:                   Deans, Directors, Department Chairs & Administrative Officers

From:               Michael Levine, Vice Chancellor, Academic Personnel

Subject:           Retirement Planning – Components to Pathways


Dear Colleagues:

I want to remind deans and department chairs about the support they should provide to senior faculty on matters of retirement.  Many senior faculty members may be currently re-assessing their plans for retirement in light of the uncertainties that COVID-19 has introduced into their personal and professional lives. However, there is no reason for faculty to postpone any retirement plans they may have in the hope of some imminent “golden handshake.” At the present time, no such incentive has been announced by the University, nor the UCLA campus. I am also not aware of any planning or serious discussion of such incentives.  Since the Pathways to Retirement program was established in 2008, over 300 members of the faculty have taken advantage of the opportunity to set a specific date for retirement up to two years in the future in conjunction with specific plans for research, teaching, and service both preceding and following the move to emerita/us status. 

My office will work with you to craft new and innovative Pathways to Retirement Agreements that take into account the new challenges the University will face in the months and years to come, both in University finances and also in how we do our jobs.  We are especially interested in helping senior faculty find ways to move up their official retirement dates, without sacrificing their continuing careers and service to UCLA.  I urge you to consider re-assessing the terms you are willing to offer to senior faculty considering retirement. Many of the benefits that you can offer involve little or no direct cost.  The costs that may be involved are good investments, both in providing for continued contributions from your senior faculty and in your unit’s faculty renewal. This can include exceptions to long-standing policy and practices, including those regarding return to service after one or more quarters of sabbatical leave or modifying existing Pathways to Retirement Agreements for dates after July 1, 2020. I am mindful of your operational concerns and the best interests of UCLA, and I see no conflicts among these goals.

Pathway to Retirement Agreements include an appointee’s letter irrevocably retiring as of a fixed date (usually the penultimate business day of June). Here are some elements you may want to include in a Pathways agreement:

  1. Recall:  Campus administrators may enter a pre-retirement agreement with a faculty member who is at least age 60 with 5 years of UCRP service credit for a recall to service after retirement for up to three years, beginning no sooner than the date of retirement + 30 days. Recall may be renewed year-by-year thereafter. Recall may be for teaching, research, or administration, and must be based on programmatic need and budgetary capacity. The agreement should specify: the course(s) to be taught or other services to be rendered; a rate of compensation not to exceed 43% of pre-retirement compensation for each fiscal year and a statement that it is contingent on the faculty member’s continued willingness and capacity to maintain their pre-retirement quality of performance. Recall teaching is compensated on a per-course basis, following campus guidelines. See APM-205.
  2. Deferral of Five-Year Review:  Agreements may “defer” a five-year review (or a review’s remedial plan); see UCLA CALL, Appendix 12.  Such a deferral can be especially attractive when combined with granting teaching relief (see below).
  3. Chair’s Grant of Teaching Relief:  Teaching obligations may be shifted or reduced where departmental needs justify such alterations (e.g., the department will benefit if the faculty member engages in curriculum development or co-teaching, provides special administrative services, or concludes unfinished research or catalogues one’s scholarly work and research). Such relief is generally spread over one or two years prior to retirement, and the specifics are determined by departments and schools in line with their needs and resources.  In special circumstances, a faculty member may return from a sabbatical (as required by the APM) to such modified teaching relief.  Please consult Faculty Retirement Liaison David Lopez, or me, regarding this or any other modification of your standard sabbatical practice.
  4. Space:  Consistent with campus guidelines for emeriti offices and laboratory space, Chairs, with support from their Deans, may approve an allocation of post-retirement space as a component of pre-retirement Pathways Agreements, subject to campus space policies and availability.
  5. Research Funds:  At the expense of the School or Department, post-retirement research funds may be made available, provided that use conforms to established University policy governing the expenditure of research funds.  In very special cases, these funds may carry over from an Endowed Chair, as specified in the UCLA CALL, Appendix 18.  Even modest amounts can serve as attractive retirement incentives for many colleagues. 
  6. Research Professor Title:  Emeriti faculty continuing active research programs have embraced the opportunity to apply for the title of Research Professor (or Distinguished Research Professor, for Above and Further Above Scale Faculty), which they may use in lieu of Professor Emeritus. Chair’s and Dean’s support for this title may be included as a component of Pathways agreements, pursuant to UCLA CALL, Appendix 38.


Retirement agreements for Senate faculty are best made in the form of a Pathways to Retirement Faculty Agreement Form (DOC)The Academic Personnel Office website now includes a comprehensive set of resources for retirement planning on its website, including a Guide to Retirement, an overview of Emeriti Rights, and other helpful retirement planning materials.  For more information, please contact Emeritus Professor David Lopez, who serves as our Faculty Retirement Liaison by visiting the Faculty Retirement Liaison webpage or by email at  Professor Lopez works with individual faculty members to develop their retirement plans and to adapt the Pathways form to their specific situations.  He has moved his individual meetings, departmental visit, and workshops online.  Please contact my Special Assistant, Professor Robert Goldstein when you are ready to finalize a Pathways Agreement by email at