In March 1991 the Board of Trustees adopted the following statement of qualification for the honorary title professor emeritus, replacing trustee legislation of June 11, 1951, and April 1970:
Any member of the professorial staff who retires after ten years full-time equivalency in the rank of university professor, professor, or associate professor and who has rendered distinguished and meritorious service to the University, may be appointed Professor Emeritus by the President after recommendation by the members of the particular department and the dean of the college or school faculty to which the retiring member belonged.
Use of the title is limited to those who have held tenure at Cornell. Approval, under presidential authority, is by the provost.
The department chair provides the dean with a letter summarizing the retiree‟s career and the department‟s vote and recommendation. The chair‟s letter also should indicate whether the professor prefers the title to be emeritus or emerita. If the dean approves the recommendation, the dean so indicates when forwarding the departmental materials.
The dean also should indicate whether the college authorizes use of an endowed chair title, if one has been held, in emeritus status, e.g., Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus – this will not continue to encumber funds attached to the chair title.
Professor emeritus or emerita is a continuing appointment status, inactive until a “rehire” appointment (using the emeritus or emerita title) is approved, in paid or unpaid renewable positions for up to one year at a time.
Professors emeriti remain voting members of the University Faculty.
Authority for retired faculty members to supervise graduate study rests with the General Committee of the Graduate School and is reflected in the Code of Legislation of the Graduate Faculty.
By vote of their graduate fields, emeritus professors will be granted the working designation “Graduate School Professor of (field).” This designation, which can be used on grant and contract applications, is described in the “Code of Legislation of the Graduate Faculty”
Administrative and executive service is possible within the title, as well as teaching, research and other academic responsibilities.
In addition to such special teaching and administrative assignments, occasional post- retirement research appointments are also made to permit individual retired faculty members to carry on sponsored research using university facilities. Any salary paid to the faculty member in such a case must appear as an approved item in the agreement with the sponsor. Such post- retirement research appointments will be considered when the proposed program enhances the proper function of the department, the college and the university and when it represents the best use of office and laboratory space; the appointments are reviewed periodically and always when a new agreement with a sponsor is proposed.
The university‟s policy on indemnification refers to emeritus professors among the “additional classes of individuals who are protected by this policy when acting on behalf of the university within the scope of their authorized duties.”
A professor who does not seek or is not qualified or approved for emeritus status is considered a “retired academic.”
Emeritus status is not available for other academic titles. Persons holding professorial titles modified by “adjunct,” “courtesy,” or “visiting” cannot be granted emeritus status.