Nearly 100 faculty members from the University of Missouri’s Columbia campus accepted a contract buyout program.
Out of the 226 faculty members who were eligible for the program, 94 accepted the buyout, or about 42 percent. The buyouts will take effect between July 1 and Sept. 1.
UM System leaders announced the Voluntary Separation Program in November, offering a payout for certain faculty who meet the following criteria :
Full-time and eligible for benefits Have worked for the system for five years or longer At least 62 years old Hold a tenured position
Faculty who accepted the buyout will be offered a lump-sum payout equal to 1.5 times their benefits-eligible salary.
“This program is going to give us a little flexibility to take a look at our strategy to take a look,” UM System spokesman Christian Basi said.
He said this comes at a time when the university is projecting growing enrollment and steady state funding.
Basi said the UM System projects it will recoup the money used for the buyouts within a year.
Each department will separately discuss how it will use the new funds from each buyout and whether to fill the open positions left after the buyouts.
MU Faculty Council Chairman Clark Peters said the professors who took the buyout will leave a hole in many departments.
“We’re losing a tremendous about of experience,” Peters said. “These are people who know stuff about this university that others don’t, so we’re losing that understanding of how this place works or functions.”
Faculty who remain will have to pick up that burden, Peters said. He said many of the faculty who are leaving were on committees and ran research projects along with teaching classes.
The buyout news is hitting soon after MU decided to reallocate $25 million from various departments in its budget for the coming fiscal year. He said each department will receive its allocations for the next year within the next few weeks, so they are still unsure of the effects of these changes.
Peters said he hopes that once they receive the budgets, each department will listen to faculty when setting budget priorities.