Retirement/Resignation Incentive Plan


Spring 2010


Background and Purpose

The cost of providing instruction, as represented by the salaries and benefits of faculty members, comprises one of the most significant components of the university's operating budget. As part of a strategic plan to meet recent and projected operating budget reductions, one goal is to reduce the overall cost of instruction.

 

For a variety of reasons, some faculty members' salaries have increased over time such that, at present, their salaries significantly exceed average salary rates of comparable faculty at peer institutions.

 

Retirement/Resignation Incentive Plan

In order to help achieve an overall reduction in the cost of instruction, Southeastern will implement a one-time incentive plan for voluntary retirement/resignation of highly-compensated tenured faculty. This plan is offered pursuant to University of Louisiana System Policy Number FS-III.II.G-1, Tenured Faculty - Strategic Reduction Initiative.

 

For purposes of implementing the plan, comparable average salary rates will be based on the median salaries as reported in the most recent CUPA salary survey, which reflects actual faculty salaries at Southeastern's SREB Four-Year 3, peer institutions. 1

This cost reduction initiative applies only to tenured faculty. As provided under current University of Louisiana System policy, tenured faculty who qualify, apply and are selected for this initiative will be provided a monetary incentive to voluntarily retire/resign from the university. The one-time incentive compensation payment shall be 50% of the employee's actual nine-month salary for the current academic year, and no payment shall exceed $50,000. The required retirement/resignation date is no later than June 30, 2010. Individual faculty participating in this initiative are solely responsible for any and all related taxes that result from incentive compensation payments.

 

Current Southeastern faculty members who are tenured and whose current nine-month salaries exceed the CUPA median salaries for new assistant professors at peer institutions in their respective disciplines will be eligible to apply for this incentive. Depending upon circumstances in the particular department, e.g., compliance with accreditation standards, current and projected course demand, etc., faculty who retire/resign under this initiative may be replaced with a new assistant professor, non-tenure track full-time instructor or part-time instructor(s). Alternatively, the position of the incumbent may be eliminated. As required by University of Louisiana System Policy, the University will document a three-year cost savings realized through implementation of the Plan.

 

Tenured faculty who have applied for retirement or who are under notification of pending termination are not eligible to participate in this initiative. For example, tenured faculty who have been notified of their termination pursuant to the discontinuance of their department or degree program are not eligible.

 

Selection Process and Methodology

As university funds for this initiative are limited, and in an effort to ensure the preservation of a core of experienced and talented tenured faculty in each program, incentive compensation for retirement/resignation will be made available and awarded to no more than 30 tenured faculty as determined through the following methodology.

 

All tenured faculty will be notified of their eligibility. The date of this communication will be considered the official Plan Initiation Date. Tenured faculty members whose current nine-month salary (twelve-month salary for tenured library faculty) exceeds the CUPA median salary for new assistant professors at peer institutions are eligible to apply for the retirement/resignation incentive. Faculty who have applied for retirement or who have been notified of termination by the Plan Initiation Date are not eligible.

 

The deadline for applications to be received in the Human Resources office will be at 4:30 p.m., on the fifteenth business day following the Plan Initiation Date. The decision to participate is irrevocable once an application has been submitted. Subsequent selection to receive a retirement/resignation incentive under the methodology described below will result in separation from the university by no later than June 30, 2010. Applications by faculty members not selected will be canceled and will result in no change in status.


Priority for awarding retirement/resignation incentives will be based on the distance of the salaries of applying eligible faculty members from the CUPA median salary for the appropriate discipline and rank with highest priority assigned to the eligible faculty members whose salaries are furthest from the appropriate CUPA median salary benchmarks. This prioritization process will help ensure the university achieves the greatest possible reduction in instructional cost as a result of implementation of this plan. In the event there is a tie for determining which faculty member is eligible to receive the benefit, priority will be given to the faculty member whose application was received first in the Human Resources Office.

 

By the Plan Initiation Date, the University may determine an overall cap on the total amount of funds available for incentive payments or the total number of incentives to be awarded. No partial incentive will be awarded.

 

For departments that offer degree programs in more than one distinct discipline (e.g., history and political science) this process will apply to each discipline. Faculty associated with a discipline in which the department does not offer a degree program will be combined with the most closely related degree-awarding discipline. In departments/disciplines with five or fewer tenured faculty, no more than one incentive will be awarded. In departments/disciplines with more than five tenured faculty members, no more than one incentive will be awarded for each five tenured faculty at each rank, or fraction thereof. The process of determining the eligible applicants who will receive retirement/resignation incentives will be completed by 4:30 p.m., on the twentieth business day following the Plan Initiation Date. Individuals selected will be notified at the conclusion of the selection process.

 

Members of the administrative staff on twelve month appointment who hold faculty rank and tenure, excluding those above the level of dean, may participate in the retirement/resignation incentive selection process. 2

 

For purposes of the selection process described above, these individuals will be treated as a tenured faculty member in the department/discipline in which they hold tenure. The nine-month equivalent salary for department heads and assistant deans, solely for the purpose of this initiative, will be the greater of 1) nine-twelfths of their current twelve month salary, or 2) the mean of the other faculty of equal rank in their home department. The nine-month equivalent salary for deans, solely for the purpose of this initiative, will be the mean of the other faculty of equal rank in their home department. In any department where more than one administrative staff member holds tenure, the department head's nine-month equivalent salary will be determined first without regard to any other staff member. Any retirement/resignation incentive for these individuals will be based on the nine-month equivalent salary determined for purposes of this initiative.

 

All references in this policy that refer to nine-month salary for faculty will be interpreted as twelve-month salary for library faculty. The salary for any other faculty on a twelve month appointment, i.e., serving as director, etc., will be converted to nine months based on nine-twelfths of their current twelve month salary paid from operating funds. The faculty “equivalent” salary for the Director of the Library will be the mean of all other tenured library faculty of the same rank.

 

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1 In instances where a comparable discipline for a particular group of Southeastern faculty members is not reported by CUPA, data for the closest possible comparable discipline reported in the CUPA Survey will be used. The Provost, working with the Office of Institutional Research, will determine what constitutes the appropriate comparable discipline in these cases. If there are no related disciplines reported in the CUPA Survey, e.g, Library faculty and General Studies faculty, current median salaries of Southeastern faculty by rank across all disciplines will be used.

 

2 For purposes of this plan, interim administrators with tenured faculty status will be treated in accordance with their appointment status and salary prior to the effective date of the interim appointment.