LAWRENCE — Sixty-five senior faculty members at the University of Kansas are pursuing the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program announced in August by Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Carl Lejuez. The program, part of the university’s continuing efforts to strategically reduce the budget, offers a retirement incentive for eligible tenured and tenure-track faculty.
Out of 267 eligible tenured and tenure-track faculty on the KU-Lawrence and Edwards campuses, 65 finalized an application to participate in the program. Applicants could receive a payment of up to 100 percent of their base salary if they retire near the end of the spring 2019 semester, 85 percent of their salary if they retire near the conclusion of the fall 2019 semester or 70 percent of their base salary if they retire near the end of the spring 2020 semester. All faculty members who met the application deadline advanced to the next stage of the process, although applicants can change their minds until they sign a binding Notice of Retirement form due Wednesday, Nov. 21.
Every school, KU Libraries and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences have at least one faculty member participating. The average salary for approved participants is approximately $112,000 (median of $100,000). More than half chose the May 31, 2019, or June 30, 2019, retirement dates. The remaining participants selected a retirement date at the end of the fall 2019 semester or the end of the spring 2020 semester for a smaller incentive payment.
Deans have flexibility for how they manage the open positions going forward. The resulting faculty line may either be eliminated, held open for a year or two for future programmatic directions or may be filled by new tenure-track junior faculty or instructors. Total savings from the program will depend on those decisions, as well as savings from fringe benefits. The program also gives deans the ability to strategically redirect their open faculty lines toward growing or emerging educational opportunities or needs. Based on these decisions, the university could realize several million in cash savings and base salary that ultimately can be used by units to address budget cuts or to bring in new faculty. The latter will be particularly important to ensure the university is investing in early career faculty who will be the next generation of educators and scholars.
Additional statistics for the VSIP program:
Eligibility and Approval:
- 24 percent of eligible faculty (267) were approved (65) for participation.
- All 65 who applied were approved.
Applicant in Pool by Title:
- Distinguished Professor, 4.6 percent
- Director/Professor, 6.2 percent
- Chairperson/Professor, 6.2 percent
- Chairperson/Associate Professor, 1.5 percent
- Professor/Senior Scientist, 1.5 percent
- Professor, 47.7 percent
- Associate Professor, 29.2 percent
- Librarian, 3 percent
Number of Participants by Unit:
- The College – 28
- Engineering – 10
- Business – 7
- Education – 5
- Journalism – 5
- Libraries – 2
- Music – 2
- Pharmacy – 2
- Social Welfare – 2
- Architecture – 1
- Law – 1
Timeline of retirements:
- Summer 2019 – 46 percent
- Winter 2019 – 14 percent
- Summer 2020 – 40 percent.