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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA announces retirement buyouts

The UA is coping with the proposed 20 percent budget cut in state funding by introducing a retirement program for long-term employees.

A retirement incentive program will provide employees with a year’s salary if they choose to retire at the end of the academic year or summer session, according to a statement released by the university last week. About 250 faculty and staff are eligible for the voluntary program, according to Vice President of Human Resources Allison Vaillancourt.

The program applies to faculty and some staff such as librarians and curators who are at least 65 years old and have worked at the UA for 10 or more years. Employees can accept the offer through mid-March.  

“”The governor plans to reduce our budget by 20 percent,”” Vaillancourt said. “”It’s one of the strategies we’re going to use to manage the budget cuts that are coming.””

Vaillancourt was not aware of a retirement incentive ever being offered before.

“”This has been discussed for years, and we’ve always decided not to do it because we were afraid of losing some of our very best faculty,”” she said. “”Now we must use every strategy we have to handle the budget situation.””

Roger Dahlgran, chair of the Academic Personnel Policy Committee, said the program would most likely attract faculty already nearing retirement.

“”We’re talking about faculty on the verge of retirement anyhow,”” said Dahlgran, an associate professor of agricultural-resource economics. “”If anything, they’re retiring a year or two sooner than they would have.””

Dahlgran said the program is helpful for these employees.

“”No one is being forced to retire,”” he said. “”It’s possible for both faculty and the university to benefit.””

Long-term professors like J. Jefferson Reid are among those who have been offered the program. Reid is a university-distinguished professor of anthropology and has taught at the UA since 1969.

Reid said he is planning to retire in five years and did not seriously consider the offer.

“”I was telling people that I wanted to retire in 2015 so I could celebrate the 100th anniversary of the School of Anthropology,”” Reid said.

Reid said he would consider taking an incentive if it fit with his retirement plan but the offer came too suddenly for serious consideration.

“”The window was too narrow and the incentive too small,”” he said.

The program will save the university money because not everyone who leaves will be replaced. This could result in additional work for remaining faculty, according to Vaillancourt.

“”We might just reorganize things,”” she said. “”Perhaps a class isn’t offered or something like that. We do not want this in any way to affect the student experience. We’re going to be creative to make sure that does not happen.””

Reid said the program might be effective in saving money, but that professors with the most experience should put their skills to use in the classroom.

“”It would be good if they could get people with very high salaries to retire,”” he said.

Reid said professors who love their work would probably continue teaching.

“”I enjoy what I do so much,”” he said. “”Retirement might even be scary.””

 

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