The adoption of an early retirement plan by Indiana University has led to the retirement of 27 faculty and staff members at IU Southeast.
The plan was adopted in response to fiscal constraints and is intended to reduce salary and benefit costs to the University.
With the new retirement plan, tenured faculty members, clinical faculty and librarians will receive 10 months of their base salary while all other academic and staff employees will receive their base salary for six months.
“I think the real enticement was the health reimbursement account, especially now with health insurance the way it is,” Dana Wavle, vice chancellor of Administrative Affairs, said.
The plan is expected to save IU Southeast $400,000 in base budget savings a year, but the positions being vacated by the retiring faculty and staff are expected to be refilled.
“In most cases we did decide to replace the employee,” Wavle said. “It just so happens that we can replace those positions at a lower wage rate than the individual that retired.”
Wavle said overall he is happy with the new retirement plans.
“We really think it is a great program for the employees who were able to apply,” Wavle said, “but it is a difficult one from an emotional standpoint, especially losing all of these long-term employees and the history that they represent.”
Jim Kanning, director of Career Development, is one of the staff members retiring this year. Kanning has been at IU Southeast since 1976.
Kanning said he has seen many things change over the years, but the biggest has been the growth of the students.
“I believe that more and more students now are making IU Southeast their institution of choice,” he said. “I think that’s a reflection on the fact that we have such an outstanding faculty and staff, good academics and an identity where students feel that they belong here.”
Kanning said his fondest memories center around the people he has worked with.
“This has been a fantastic place to work and that goes back to the people,” Kanning said. “It’s always the people. Leaving them behind will be the thing I will miss most.”
Lesley Deal, secretary for the School of Social Sciences, also retired in June this year. She said she started at IU Southeast around 1985.
After a few semesters, Deal transferred to the Registrar’s Office.
“I worked in the room that is now the Registration Computer Lab, entering student’s courses from punch cards onto a computer.” Deal said.
Deal said the people she worked and interacted with also made up her fondest memories.
“I will especially miss the close friends I have made across the campus, both staff and faculty.”
Deal said her plans for retirement are still in development.
“Right now, I am catching up on all the things I didn’t have time to do well when I worked full-time,” Deal said.
Jim St. Clair, professor of journalism, is one of the faculty members retiring this year.
“I started in January of 1987 as a visiting lecturer,” St. Clair said. “It was only supposed to be for that one semester, but I decided that I wanted to be considered for the full position.”
In order to be a candidate for the position, St. Clair had to earn his master’s degree, so he enrolled at IU Bloomington in the fall of 1987 while continuing to teach at IU Southeast.
He earned his degree in 1990 and was selected for the tenured track position in journalism.
In the 24 years St. Clair has taught at the school, he said the biggest changes he has seen have been in the student body.
St. Clair said he will miss his students most and the experiences he has shared with them.
“I will always cherish the relationships I was able to develop with students because they are the ones who make the job rewarding and worthwhile,” St. Clair said. “That’s what I’m going to miss the most — not having that interaction with the students. They are a constant source of energy and inspiration.”
St. Clair said he hopes to do some volunteer work in the education field and spend some more time with his grandchildren.
Other faculty members are also retiring under a different retirement plan. One is Lee Morganett, professor of educational psychology and coordinator of the secondary social studies program.
Morganett started at IU Southeast in 1981 and will have been at the university for more than 30 years upon his retirement in December.
For Morganett, he said the best thing about working at IU Southeast has been the people.
“We have outstanding faculty, staff and students or ‘candidates,’ as they’re called in the education department.”
He said it will be strange not coming into work, having worked basically his whole life.
“I really enjoy my job,” Morganett said. “I like what I do. I’m really going to miss just being around our students in the education department.”
Morganett said his plans for retirement, however, are not set in stone.
“I have a lot of people asking me, and I just don’t have a good answer for it just yet,” he said. “When the time comes, I’m sure I’ll find some things to volunteer to do.”
By LAUREN RAICHEL