Voluntary retirement program sees 96 employees, tenured faculty take advantage

Source%3A+Aug.+20+Board+of+Trustees+agenda

Kierra Frazier

Source: Aug. 20 Board of Trustees agenda

Kierra Frazier, News Editor

DeKALB –  NIU President Lisa Freeman said at Wednesday’s University Council meeting that 21 tenured faculty and 75 employees have taken advantage of the Voluntary Incentive Retirement Program since January. 

The program, introduced in Fall 2019, offered tenured and tenure track faculty the option of a voluntary early retirement program. In Spring 2020, a similar program was offered to non-faculty employees, Freeman said. 

Freeman said the voluntary program was offered to those who were eligible to retire, and that it wasn’t an early retirement program. She said the university has no plans to repeat the program in the future. 

“Frankly, the COVID impact on our cash flow would make it much harder to reauthorize a program like this, so at this point in time we have no plans to repeat the program,” Freeman said. 

Retirement dates ranged from Jan. 1 through Sept. 1 for faculty members. The FY20 base salary of the faculty members amounted to $2,133,398 and the total payout was $1,021,106, according to data from an Aug. 20 Board of Trustees agenda

Retirement dates ranged from July 1 to Oct. 1 for employees. The FY20 base salary of the employees amounted to $3,925,000 and the total payout was $918,000, according to the Aug. 20 agenda. 

The department to see the most retirements for tenured faculty was Liberal Arts and Sciences with nine faculty total, according to the agenda. 

The department to see the most retirements for employees was the Academic Division with 32 retirements. Student Affairs was second with 14 retirements from employees, according to the agenda. 

Tenured faculty and employees were required to meet certain criteria to be eligible: to submit an application to the program and to sign a separation agreement, according to the agenda. Employees were offered twenty weeks’ salary upon retirement and employees were offered twelve weeks’ salary. 

Other business 

Chris McCord, senior advisor to the vice president, administration and finance, gave a presentation on advancing administrative efficiency. McCord said the university is prioritizing projects and encouraging sustainability. 

“In March, the pandemic reached DeKalb, and we became familiar with phrases like remote teaching and work from home,” McCord said. “This put a focus on moving paper-based processes to digital and moving manual processes to be automated. The distinction is, you can have a digital process that still can be very time-consuming and hand-manipulated.”