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  Cornell University

The University Faculty

Office of the Dean

Pending Legislation

New Process  and Title Modifier for Awarding Emeritus/a Status

Post Date: 9/9/2017

The proposed legislation and why it is necessary.

Senate Presentation

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Note: A posted comment is anonymous unless you include your name in the message itself. To provide context, it is helpful if you indicate your title (assoc prof, prof, emeritus, senior lecturer, etc).

Last Updated: September 22, 2017 at 3:32 pm


  1. I agree with the notion that Emeritus should not be used as a modifier for associate professor.

  2. The reluctance of some faculty to award the status of professor emeritus/a to a retiring associate professor seems to follow from the belief that one’s status in retirement should be an extension of one’ status during active service. These roles differ, however. Consider two such differences. With ILR as an example, the criteria for promotion to associate and full professor differ from the criteria for award of emeritus/a status: excellence in research, teaching, and service versus distinguished and meritorious service. Thus, an associate professor who was not a leader in research in one’s field would not warrant promotion to full professor, but this person might well have rendered valuable service as a teacher and colleague. Also, what we expect of persons in these roles differ. We expect ongoing and significant achievements from an active professor, whereas we expect nothing from a retired professor. The contribution of a university to society is the work of its active professors, not the work of its retirees; and society’s judgment of a university is based on the work that its active professors perform while active, not on the work they perform when retired.
    — Michael Gold, ILR

  3. As an Assoc Prof I was hoping to become an Emeritus Prof but was a little nervous that it might be denied. I think this solution is a good compromise. It also opens up the possibility, in future, to extend the Emeritus modifier to many other individuals who have given sterling service to the university, such as Lecturers and other NTT faculty.

    I never liked the elitist view (espoused by certain administrators) which was essentially that Emeritus status should only be granted to individuals that were still of significant (monetary?) value to the university. I much prefer this more generous and inclusive view that it is the equivalent of a long-service medal for sustained meritorious service to the university.

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