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Full professors who retire in good standing may be referred to as Professors Emeritus or Professors Emerita. This title is also given to retired professors who continue to teach and to be listed; they may also draw a very large percentage of their last salary as pension. The title may also be given to full professors who have left for another institution but are still working full time. The concept has in some places been expanded to include also tenured associate professors. In some systems and institutions the rank is bestowed on all professors who have retired in good standing, while at others it needs a special act or vote. Depending on local circumstances Emeritus Professors may retain their offices and/or other privileges in order to remain active in the academic community of an institution as a mentor or subject matter expert.

The title of emeritus is particularly useful when establishing the authority of a person who might have to comment, lecture or write on a particular subject.