The Tenure Reduction Program (TRP) is a retirement incentive program the University of Oregon has offered to tenured faculty for more than thirty years. This program has been effective in providing tenured faculty options to ease into retirement and in facilitating the rotation of faculty. In order to apply to the program, the faculty member must be a tenured faculty member and must be eligible or become eligible to retire (as defined in Article 15, Section 2(j) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement) within three years. The faculty member's participation in the program must be approved by the Department Head, Dean and Senior Vice Provost.
The TRP program allows a tenured faculty member to indicate his or her intention to retire from the University up to three years prior to their expected retirement date. A one-time salary increase amounting to six percent of the faculty member's salary will be effective at the beginning of the term or semester following the signing of the letter of agreement from the Senior Vice Provost. On the designated retirement date, the faculty member either relinquishes their tenure or works with reduced tenure (0.33 annual FTE) on agreed-upon TRP assignments.
Effective July 2011, responsibility for the TRP program was shifted from Academic Affairs to the Dean’s Offices of each School and College. The deans now hold the authority to structure TRP assignments while Academic Affairs provides conventional oversight, and if needed, coordination across units to ensure an equitable and consistent university-wide TRP program. Although the program structure remains the same, the change in responsibility has allowed TRP assignments to have the potential for more flexibility.
The Tenure Reduction Program, established in 1981, is often referred to as the “600 Hour Program” because until October 1997 retired employees had been allowed by PERS (the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System) to work up to 600 hours per calendar year without jeopardizing their retirement benefits. Since October 1997, PERS retirees working for PERS-covered employers may work up to 1039 hours per calendar year and still receive full retirement benefits.
When the TRP program was initiated, the mandatory retirement age for university faculty was 70. At that time, faculty typically signed up for the program at age 62, worked full time with a six percent salary increase for those last three years, and then began their 600-hour appointments at age 65. Mandatory retirement is now a thing of the past, but this pattern of retirement continues. Participants in the program still usually sign up three years in advance of their expected retirement date, although some elect to not work the full number of allowed post-retirement appointments.