65 faculty members at KU expected to take retirement incentive

photo by: Chris Conde

Strong Hall on the University of Kansas campus is shown on Sept. 13, 2018.

Out of 267 eligible tenured and tenure-track faculty, 65 are now expected to leave the University of Kansas Lawrence campus in the next two years.

To qualify, applicants have to be 62 years old by the date they will retire.

The deadline for signing the final paperwork for the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program was 5 p.m. Nov. 21. A small number of the applicants’ paperwork had not been received by Monday, said Carl Lejuez, interim provost and executive vice chancellor, but if the forms had been mailed by the deadline, they will be included.

Lejuez announced the program in August as a way to help deal, in part, with the mandated $20 million budget-cutting initiative for the Lawrence campus.

He said he did not have specific expectations of how many would take advantage of the program.

“Any result is a good one,” Lejuez told the Journal-World Monday morning.

“For many of those eligible, it wasn’t the right time for them to retire,” Lejuez said. “In that case, it’s our preference to have them remain on campus and continue to contribute.”

For those who did sign up, “it’s a number that provides some meaningful support, not only for the budget cuts and for our units to bring in early-career faculty in the near future.”

The average salary for approved participants is approximately $112,000, with a median of $100,000, the provost office reported in a news release.

The Office of the Provost also reported that of those retiring, 4.6 percent are distinguished professors, 47.7 percent professors, 29.2 percent associate professors, 6.2 percent director/professors and 6.2 percent chairperson/associate professors, with various other faculty comprising the remainder.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has 28 retiring, and the School of Engineering will lose 10 senior faculty members. Seven will retire from the School of Business; five each from the School of Education and School of Journalism; two each from Libraries, School of Music, School of Pharmacy and School of Social Welfare; and one each from the School of Architecture and School of Law.

Deans will have flexibility in how they manage the open positions. The position may either be eliminated, held open for a year or two, or may be filled by new tenure-track junior faculty or instructors, according to a release from the provost’s office. Total savings from the program will depend on those decisions; however, the university could realize several million in cash savings and base salary. Dollars saved could be used by units to address budget cuts or to bring in new faculty.

According to VSIP statistics, 46 percent of the senior faculty will retire in the summer of 2019, 14 percent in the winter of 2019 and 40 percent in the summer of 2020.


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