Early Retirement Program Faces An Unsure Future
Faculty concerned while negotiations stall
September 15, 2006 9:45 AM
California State University’s program to allow retiring faculty to teach part time remains in limbo until a deal can be reached between the faculty union and the CSU.
Due to the stalemate in negotiations, the Faculty Early Retirement Program exists only on a month-to-month contractual basis. In Long Beach, last week, the bargaining teams from both sides met, but no deal was reached.
"Neither side set a date for concluding negotiations," said John Travis, professor of political science at Humboldt State and president of the California Faculty Association. "At this stage, both parties are considering calling for an impasse declaration so we can enter mediation."
Under FERP, faculty members retire, then are hired back to teach only half the year. They are hired back at less than half their original salaries because the university's retirement system pays for all the member's benefits.
Currently, the maximum time a faculty member can be enrolled in the program is five years, but according to the administration not many faculty stay in the program for that long.
"System-wide statistics indicate that the average faculty member is enrolled in this program for only three years," said SF State President Robert Corrigan in an e-mail sent to SF State faculty on Tuesday.
At that point, the plan would be set, with three years being the most time a faculty member can be enrolled in FERP.
"For the individual faculty, it's the best deal ever," said Erik Solomon, professor emeritus of English, and SF State faculty member since 1964. "I was 70 years old when I decided to FERP."
Solomon said the program not only benefits retiring faculty members, but also helps newer faculty members by providing them with an invaluable human resource and information tool. He also thinks it’s a great deal for the students, who get the opportunity to learn from experienced educators.
Travis, however, said it's hard for him to imagine the CFA agreeing to the three-year proposal, and that the administration looks somewhat hypocritical wanting to reduce the time for a popular faculty program that saves the university money in teaching salary and is good for the continuity of the campus.
Mitch Turitz, an SF State librarian who has kept close tabs on the status of negotiations, says the FERP program is a mess, and that it's been like this during the last two chancellors. "This is a sleazy budget deal they figured out," Turitz said. "They're doing it kind of as a power trip."
Travis said enrollment in the FERP program is decreasing due to less faculty members retiring.
"Different people react to FERP differently," said Paul Sherwin, SF State dean of humanities and a member of the program. "I think it's really good if somebody is active with their scholarship, or they're involved with a project and want to have six to eight months for research."
"As a matter of fact, one of the things we've learned as we do some research on this, is that there are more private industries trying to develop programs like FERP," he said. "Then you have the CSU administration, who is trying to reduce it."
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University