Easter reviews retirement statistics, pensions and the budget
The UI has already seen a 50 percent increase in retirements so far this calendar year compared to last, President Bob Easter told university trustees Thursday.
Since January, more than 1,100 university employees have retired, Easter said at the UI Board of Trustees meeting at UIC. By comparison, 726 employees retired the entire calendar year of 2011, he added.
Retirements also increased significantly this month, Easter said. Ninety-one employees retired in July 2009; almost 550 faculty and staff members are retiring in July 2012.
“There are very significant changes occurring within our workforce that will cause us to miss people in their capacities,” Easter said.
Uncertainty over changes to the state pension system has likely been a factor in the rise in retirements, Easter said. The General Assembly’s spring session ended May 31 without a decision on pension changes for state employees.
The university’s state appropriation for fiscal year 2013 was cut by about $42.5 million – a 6 percent decrease – Easter said, resulting in a total appropriation of $612 million for this fiscal year.
“That reduction had been anticipated and planned for,” he said.
The state still owes the university $207 million for fiscal year 2012, which ended June 30. The state comptroller’s office has said it expects to pay the balance by November, said Walter Knorr, university vice president and chief financial officer.
- Student trustees David Pileski (Urbana), Kenneth Thomas (UIC) and John Tienken (UIS) took their seats at the board after beginning their terms July 1. Tienken will have the student vote this year.
“Student perspective is critical as the board weighs decisions that will affect their academic future and the generations of students who will follow them,” Easter said. “I’m deeply grateful for their insights and their willingness to serve.”
- The board approved several Urbana appointments: Michael B. Bragg will serve as the interim dean of the College of Engineering beginning Aug. 16. Edward Feser will serve as the dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts effective Nov. 1. Joseph J. Martocchio will serve as the interim dean of the School of Labor and Employment Relations beginning July 20.
- The board approved a proposal from the Urbana Academic Senate to give an honorary degree to Fred R. Volkmar at the May 12, 2013, commencement. Volkmar, a UI alumnus, is the director of the Yale Child Study Center and a professor of child psychiatry, pediatrics and psychology and will receive an honorary degree of doctor of science. He conducts research focusing on neurobiology and the treatment of autism and related disorders in people of all ages.
- The board approved renaming the bachelor of arts in liberal arts and sciences in rhetoric as the bachelor of arts in liberal arts and sciences in creative writing.
- The board approved a proposal from the Graduate College; the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; the College of Applied Health Sciences; and the School of Social Work to establish a joint master of public health and doctor of philosophy in food science and human nutrition, human and community development, nutritional sciences, kinesiology, community health or social work. The joint degree program is designed to create innovative, interdisciplinary, research-based degree programs. The programs will share a focus on interdisciplinary graduate training that prepares future leaders to develop, implement and evaluate approaches to improving the health of communities. The proposed joint programs do not require a change in existing course work, dissertation or thesis requirements.