The Office of Faculty Retirement

At Columbia, we see retirement as a continuation, not an end – a vital new phase of your career and life. We are committed to providing faculty members with the support to navigate retirement.

We have created the Office of Faculty Retirement and this website to help interested faculty move forward with this new phase of their lives by providing information about retirement planning, transitions to retirement, and a meaningful and productive post-retirement experience. 

-- John Coatsworth, Provost


Information on this site is organized according to three key stages of retirement: planning for future retirement, initiation of immediate or phased retirement, and activity following retirement.

The first priority in planning for retirement is to make sure that financial and health insurance arrangements are in order, and that housing is available. Money invested from your retirement savings plans and insurance arranged by Human Resources will be basic for most.

Once you have decided to retire, you can begin to consider your many different transition and benefits options. Eligible faculty members can take advantage of the new incentive program for faculty retirement (check eligibility here). During this time, you should meet with your dean or department chair to discuss your individual plan. For example, you have the opportunity to flexibly reduce your workload over a period of up to three years (phased retirement). This time offers you a chance to smoothly transition between the responsibilities and duties of a full-time faculty member into the professional and personal activity that you want to continue. 

When you initiate the process, you should also begin to arrange your life after retirement. Depending on your department or school, and on the nature of your goals, resources may be available to help you continue your work beyond retirement.  In such cases, you must negotiate with your dean or department chair a specific agreement about items such as the following: whether or not space will be available for your work, what courses you might teach, what relationship with students you might have, what access you will have to departmental or school labs, and how the department or school can support you in new grant application processes.

In the post-retirement phase, no matter what path you choose to follow (volunteering, continuing research, writing, etc.), maintaining a dynamic connection to the University will be important. The University community already hosts a number of specialized groups of colleagues engaged in various topics of interest to faculty members – you may already be a part of one or more, and most of these organizations welcome emeritus faculty. Further, many University facilities and resources remain available to you once you retire, and organizations exist where retirees can gather and exchange information about social and professional opportunities.