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Faculty Retirement Information

Retirement Process and Procedures

Retirement benefits and conditions vary by faculty type, length of service, retirement program (e.g., State of Maryland Retirement and Pension System or Optional Retirement Program), and other factors.  Faculty considering retirement are encouraged to consult ​​the UHR Retirement page for more information and to contact the Benefits Office in University Human Resources to discuss retirement eligibility, income options, benefits coverage, required paperwork, post-retirement employment constraints, the optimum date of retirement, and other factors specific to their own retirement.  

Faculty who are simply resigning their faculty positions without also retiring may use the Resignation Letter. Faculty should consult with unit heads and local HR managers regarding their resignation dates prior to submitting their letter of resignation.

Retirement Approaches

The University employs essentially three retirement approaches for faculty members, described further below: 1) Resignation and retirement without a pre-retirement agreement; 2) Resignation and retirement with a pre-retirement agreement; and 3) Transitional Terminal Leave. 

Resignation and Retirement without a Pre-Retirement Agreement

Resignation and Retirement with a Pre-Retirement Agreement

  • The faculty member notifies their unit head regarding their intent to resign and retire.
  • The faculty member and their unit head negotiate and document the terms of the resignation and retirement through a Resignation and Retirement Agreement.
  • Negotiated agreements require the approval of the legal office and signature of the faculty member, unit head, dean, and Provost. If the faculty member has a joint appointment, all relevant parties must sign the agreement. 
  • The pre-retirement agreement may include a phased approach, such as a reduction in FTE over a period of time, culminating in resignation and retirement. 

Transitional Terminal Leave

The President may grant a tenured or permanent status faculty member a Transitional Terminal Leave (TTL) when deemed to benefit the University and/or its programs (see USM Policy II-2.10). Only available to tenured or permanent status faculty members, Transitional Terminal Leave (TTL) is a “leave of absence” program that extends over a fixed period of time and results in a faculty member’s resignation and retirement from the University.

The University offers two approaches to TTL:

  • Full pay over a one-year period (academic year for 9-month faculty, calendar year for 12-month faculty) for a 25% level of effort.
  • Half pay over a two-year period (academic year for 9-month faculty, calendar year for 12-month faculty) for a 25% level of effort. 


Transitional Terminal Leave requires faculty applicants to follow certain procedures and provide some specific documentation. See the details below:

  1. Before the faculty member negotiates arrangements for a transitional terminal leave, the faculty member should meet with a Benefits Office staff member to discuss retirement eligibility, income options, benefits coverage, required paperwork, post-retirement employment constraints, and the optimum date of retirement. A letter confirming the meeting has occurred is signed by the Benefits Office staff member and forwarded to the chair/unit head of the faculty member’s tenure home.
  2. During the period of Transitional Terminal Leave, the faculty member is required to perform services for the University at a level of at least 25% of the faculty member’s full-time commitment over the prior 36 months. As such, the faculty member and department chair should document the services the faculty member will be performing in a letter or memorandum, which will be referenced in and attached to the Transitional Terminal Leave Agreement.
  3. The department chair/unit head and the faculty member should then draw up a draft of the Transitional Terminal Leave Agreement, using the University's template. If the faculty member has a joint appointment with funding of the terminal being the responsibility of both units, each unit head must be consulted in drawing up the transitional terminal leave agreement. Note that transitional terminal leave agreements usually preclude other pre-retirement arrangements such as boosts to salary and post-retirement returns to employment. See the University's Policy on Transitional Terminal Leave for additional guidelines.
  4. The draft of the Agreement, including the letter or memorandum describing the work to be performed during the Transitional Terminal Leave period referenced in and attached to the Agreement, and Benefits letter must be forwarded to the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs who will, after consulting with the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Personnel and Budgetary Affairs, offer guidance to the faculty member’s unit head. Transitional terminal leaves are not offered routinely. Strong justification is required for the granting of such leaves and the unit head may wish to include a memo stating these justifications. Once preliminary agreement has been obtained, the unit head gives the faculty member the Transitional Terminal Leave Agreement. Faculty have a minimum of 21 days to consider the agreement, and are encouraged to consult with an attorney before signing. (The faculty member may sign before the expiration of the 21-day consideration period, but by doing so, they are voluntarily waiving the 21-day consideration period and warranting that they have had sufficient time to review and consider the terms.) If the terms are acceptable, the faculty member should submit the signed agreement to the chair. The faculty member has seven days to revoke the Agreement after signing, and, if they wish to do so, they must comply with the specific notice revocation provisions set forth in the agreement.
  5. The chair signs the agreement and forwards it, including any attachments, and the benefits letter to the dean. (When the appointment is joint, all participating unit heads and deans must sign the agreement.) The dean signs the agreement and forwards it and the benefits letter to the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs (, or 2117 Main Administration Building. The Associate Provost forwards the agreement and attachments to the Provost for signature, and then to the President for signature.
  6. The President's signature is required in order to create a binding obligation on the part of the University.
  7. The Agreement becomes effective and enforceable after the faculty member, all necessary chairs and deans, the Provost, and the President have signed, provided that the faculty member has not provided notice of revocation and more than seven days have elapsed since the faculty member signed.
  8. Copies of the terminal leave are distributed to the faculty member, chair, dean, and the payroll and personnel officers. The original material is kept in the Office of the Provost. If the President fails to approve the Transitional Terminal Leave, a new transitional terminal leave agreement may be negotiated.

Combined Approach

  • Transitional Terminal Leave may be combined with phased retirement and/or alternative pre-retirement duties in a negotiated resignation and retirement agreement.

Contact the Office of Faculty Affairs if you have questions about your retirement. You should also think about your desired level of connection to the University and your unit following your retirement. The Office of Faculty Affairs facilitates the University of Maryland Emeritus/Emerita Association, which serves retired faculty with information and presentations.