The Retired Faculty Association gives high priority to representing the interests of retired members of USC’s faculty. To advance this priority, an Ombudsman/Advocacy Committee was created in 2010-2011. This committee works in close cooperation with the USC Emeriti Center, especially with the Center’s Benefits and Resources Committee.
Several issues are currently being addressed:
- declining trends in the percentage of eligible faculty retirees being awarded emeriti status*
- retiree health benefits at USC compared with other U.S. and California institutions of higher education
- problems experienced by some RFA members in accessing University electronic resources
- proposals for University-sponsored housing for retired faculty and staff
Natalie Cohen (firstname.lastname@example.org) is serving as chair of RFA’s Ombudsman/Advocacy Committee during the 2011/2012 academic year. She welcomes communications from members of USC’s faculty retirement community that propose other issues/problems for consideration.
Faculty retiree access to USC electronic resources? 1-23-2012
In recent days, the Dean of the USC libraries has issued the following statement, which attempts to clarify USC’s policies:
“The Libraries will continue to welcome all retired faculty with Gold Cards to in-person access to our collections. Retired faculty remain highly valued members of our academic community.
As to off-campus access to electronic content, we are legally obligated to conform to the licenses from publishers and vendors which stipulate that such access is available only to current USC faculty, students and staff. Under that definition, “current faculty” includes emeritus/a faculty and also retired
faculty who have been recalled to service, including those engaged in continued research without compensation.
To comply with the licenses from publishers, if you are a retired faculty member seeking to be recalled to service (uncompensated) so you can engage in continued research, please notify the Emeriti Center. It will seek needed approval from the appropriate dean’s office and the Provost’s office. Those approvals will be forwarded to the Dean of the USC Libraries so you can be provided remote electronic access for the period approved. This is
as simple and convenient a process as we can provide to comply with the terms of the licenses.
We are delighted that so many of our retired faculty remain active as scholars.”
The RFA’s Ombudsman/Advocacy Committee is currently reviewing this newly-published policy–especially its identification of which retirees count as active faculty members. We have been assured that the University has no interest in being restrictive in granting access to electronic resources when faculty retires have tangible reasons to use these resources.
At the present time, the Emeriti Center is formulating procedures for implementing the policy that the Dean of USC’s libraries has distributed. If faculty retirees have been granted emeriti status, they should automatically have access to USC electronic resources. Individuals who have not been granted this status but who have need for these resources should contact the Emeriti Center for assistance.
Procedures for granting faculty retirees emeriti status 1-12-2012
The Retired Faculty Association has noted that the percentage of eligible newly retired faculty members who have been granted emeriti status has markedly declined during the past decade. We regard this as a serious problem. Emeriti status acknowledges long-term honorable academic service, and, when the University fails to grant emeriti status to eligible retirees, it is overlooking how important this status can be for many individuals who have chosen to move into retirement. Furthermore, not being an emeritus/a faculty retiree now has practical consequences. Only retired faculty members who have been given emeriti status enjoy automatic access to USC’s Internet-based electronic resources.
In the University’s most recent Faculty Handbook, President Nikias acknowledged RFA’s role in raising the visibility of this issue. He cited changes in the University’s policies, which now mandate that each and every eligible faculty retiree should be considered by his/her academic unity for emeriti status. To review Faculty Handbook policies with reference to the award of emeriti status, click here.
At the present time, procedures in nominating retirees for emeriti status differ widely from one academic unit to another. In some, for example, deans and/or department chairs routinely review the eligibility of all pre-retirees and retirees for this status. In others, pre-retirees and retirees are asked to “apply” to be considered.
In current circumstances, RFA strongly urges pre-retirees and retirees to become aware of their academic units’ procedures for considering eligibility for emeriti status. In the absence of firm information to the contrary, they are encouraged to ”apply” to their department chairs or deans to be considered for emeriti status.
Meanwhile, the RFA will continue to urge academic units to create procedures for annual reviews of the eligibility of all faculty retirees for emeriti status.