Officials approve phased retirement for state university professors |

Officials approve phased retirement for state university professors

Deb Erdley

State officials and faculty members at Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities have approved a voluntary phased-retirement program.

The agreement, ratified by the oversight board of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, comes as the faculty union and the State System gear up for contract talks and state officials continue work on a comprehensive redesign for universities that have been struggling with declining enrollment and stagnant state subsidies for nearly a decade.

The two sides have yet to release specifics of the proposal already approved by the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, or APSCUF. But officials said it will set conditions for eligible faculty members to gradually reduce their teaching load as they approach full retirement.

APSCUF represents 5,500 faculty members and coaches at the 14 universities that enrolled about 98,000 students statewide this year. State System institutions include California, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana and Slippery Rock universities in Western Pennsylvania.

APSCUF President Kenneth M. Mash said the agreement will benefit faculty and students.

“Retirement is a difficult decision for many of our faculty members, and it affects more than just the person retiring. This agreement will afford our students more time with these talented experts, allow departments more time to develop a succession plan, and give professors more time to acclimate to the next phase of their career,” Mash said.

Cindy Shapira, chairwoman of the PASSHE board, called the agreement “an important step forward.”

Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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