This May, Harding will not only say goodbye to the graduating class of seniors that walk across the George S. Benson Auditorium stage. The university will also say goodbye to 44 members of the faculty, staff and administration who have elected to retire at the end of the academic year.
Many, but not all, of these retirements are connected to a voluntary retirement incentive program offered to faculty and staff that met selective criteria.
According to Jana Rucker, vice president for university communications and enrollment, the program was designed to reduce costs and address the impact of enrollment decline. Rucker said the savings associated with the retirements will reach approximately $1 million.
“While progress is being made on the enrollment front, the changes we are making to improve do take time to make an impact and we can manage the need to tighten the budget in the meantime with fiscal discipline, staffing adjustments through attrition planning and this retirement program,” Rucker said.
The program was offered to at least 90 employees who met criteria related to classification, a minimum age, a minimum number of years of service, good standing within the university, and eligibility to retire per the university’s policy.
Rucker said that after any retirement, the position’s necessity and structure is reassessed. On a case by case basis, the university will fill some positions with new hires, while the responsibilities of others will be allotted to existing faculty. Other positions will not be replaced.
“Any time someone in leadership retires, we take the time to evaluate if our needs have changed to determine if an organizational changes is needed,” Rucker said.
Retirees are being recognized for their contributions on departmental and university-wide levels. The full list of retirees will be recognized in a program a the staff dinner on April 26, and individual retirees, including Beckie Weaver, Bob Reely, Sherry Pollard and Ken Cameron, have been asked to share their “Harding experience” in chapel.
For more information about these retirees, visit thelink.harding.edu.