The Advance-Titan

UWO announces staff retirement incentives

UW Oshkosh announced the implementation of a new retirement incentive to help meet workforce reduction goals March 31 in lieu of recent UW System budget cuts.

According to a press release from Chancellor Andrew Leavitt, the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Options Program is now available to faculty and staff who meet certain eligibility requirements.

The press release states the program provides a one-time retirement incentive payment equal to 50 percent of an employee’s base salary as of March 1, 2015.

According to the press release, an employee must currently work at UWO and be at least 60 years of age prior to July 1, 2015, with 25 years of service indebted to Wisconsin.

UWO Assistant Vice Chancellor of Administration Tom Sonnleitner said the voluntary incentive is a better means of reduction than laying personnel off. He said the budget issue presents a lot of shortfalls, however.

“One of the provisions of the program is that you aren’t eligible to be re-hired for two years,” Sonnleitner said.

According to Sonnleitner, if there were an immediate need, adjunct instructors would be the short-term solution because they are hired on a semester basis.

“As positions become vacant, then we will make decisions about whether to refill, redirect it to another department or [to eliminate it],” Sonnleitner said.

Sonnleitner said 80 to 100 positions are to be cut. He said only 50 percent of the positions would be hired back in an effort to save the University money.
“We may get as many as 40 positions,” Sonnleitner said.

According to Sonnleitner, the University is trying to keep everything as positive as possible. He said some majors might end up as minors, however.

According to Jamie Ceman, UWO assistant vice chancellor for Integrated Marketing Communications, the incentive will not impact college students majors directly unless there is to be a reduction in department staff.

“If faculty choose to take advantage of the incentive program and retire, the University will determine if that [department] position needs to be filled,” Ceman said.

Ceman said if the position is critical to campus and students, and others cannot take on the responsibilities, it would be refilled.

“This provides an opportunity for every area of campus, including the colleges, to evaluate every position that comes available through retirement and evaluate if it can remain unfilled,” Ceman said.

According to Ceman, all employees who meet the specified criteria are eligible to take advantage of the incentive.

Kay Neal, UWO president of faculty senate and professor of communication studies, said less popular programs among students could potentially be consolidated with other programs or phased out completely.

“The downside is that you lose a lot of valuable people,” Neal said. “It makes it difficult to plan accordingly.”

According to Neal, department chairs could be scrambling to get people to teach classes.

Sonnleitner said he encourages students to be engaged in the process. He said they should attend the forums to learn more about the program, as resources need to be where student demand is.

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
UWO announces staff retirement incentives