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Retire, rehire: How a Miami policy holds on to its professors

Ask media and culture professor Howard Kleiman what he loves most about his job, and you’ll hear one thing: the teaching. It’s why he came into the profession in the first place.

So what happens after the job is done? 

For several professors at Miami University, the answer to that question is rather simple: keep doing it. 

The policy, known as retirement with rehiring, allows tenured faculty members to be reemployed within the first three academic years following their retirement. According to the Miami University Policy Library, “In order to be eligible to participate in the program, a faculty member must begin reemployment during the academic year immediately following retirement.” 

Rehired faculty members are required to take a semester off before coming back to teach in order to receive medical benefits under the Affordable Care Act.  

“[The policy is for] tenured members of the faculty [who], as they approach retirement, want to phase out versus just going from working full-time to being completely retired,” Groom said.

But, rehired professors are only allowed to teach — they cannot serve the university in other ways such as leading workshops or fulfilling administrative duties. Plus, the course load cannot exceed 12 credit hours. 

The policy also allows them to finish advising graduate students working on dissertations and to complete their own research.

Groom said retired faculty members have to apply for the program at least six months before their planned retirement. Then, if their application is approved, they must inform the chair of their department of their interest in participating in this program. The application is then transferred to the dean of their college and ultimately to the provost for approval. 

Faculty members are approved based on good standing and instructional need during the requested semester.

Once accepted into the retirement with rehiring program, teaching arrangements are determined, but not guaranteed, each academic year. Rehired professors have the option of withdrawing from the program or declining a teaching assignment after one or two years if need be.

Retired faculty members receive a salary of three percent of their pre-retirement salary per credit hour. 

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Groom said that one of the biggest benefits of the program is enabling Miami to keep experienced faculty in the classroom, which can offer benefits to students. 

Kleiman, who is now teaching one course a semester as a participant in the retirement with rehiring program, agrees, emphasizing the importance of being able to teach relevant courses in media law to students even after retirement.

“What I want the students to do is walk out of the class [and] for the rest of their life, hopefully, remember foundational principles that deal with free speech and free press,” Kleiman said. “This is something I’ve been doing forever.”