Oberlin College Asks Faculty to Retire

[photo: UC Davis College of Engineering/ flickr]
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by Michelle Faust

A Northeast Ohio college has a plan to save millions of dollars to make up for a slowed tuition increase: voluntary buyouts of more than 300 faculty and staff.

Oberlin College expects savings of between $2.75 and $3.5 million per year depending on how many employees opt to retire.

"It allows us to think about our resources and to do it in a way that honors our employees. But also allows us more flexibility," says Marvin Krislov, college president.

Flexibility like moving positions to departments with a greater need. More junior faculty cost less to employ than senior faculty nearing retirement age.

Krislov says the college is committed to supporting full-time faculty positions and does not plan to fill vacancies with part-timers.

Some faculty organizations say that plan can work and prefer it to layoffs.

"You know each university would have to make those decisions themselves and I would hope that there would be faculty input in decisions like that," says John McNay, president of the Ohio Conference of the American Association of University Professors.

The college plans to use some of the savings toward student aid.

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