Faculty, Staff By The Numbers And Effects Of New Early Retirement Packages

The university recently offered an early retirement package to faculty and staff who have been at Penn State for 15 years or more — this applies to age 62 or above for faculty members and age 60 or above for staff members. 419 employees at University Park took this package, which was 46 percent of those who were eligible and more than the university expected.

The university hopes to use the early retirement incentive to rebrand various departments, align new goals with new professors, and save funds. At University Park, roughly 40,000 students means there’s obviously a pretty high number of educators required in order for students to succeed. Many students, however, don’t know the differences between the positions of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, and so on.

A professor is typically an educator who has reached tenure after fulfilling all standard expectations. An associate professor usually refers to a mid-level educator who is working toward tenure, and an assistant professor is usually the entry-level equivalent of a tenure-track associate professor. At Penn State, all of these career-tracks require a PhD.

Lecturers or instructors at Penn State are educators who are not on the tenure-track. These positions require a master’s degree instead.

Faculty distribution by rank is shown here:

(Photo: Penn State University Budget Office)

There is a pretty even split among the three types of professors, but Penn State will likely see the 21.7% of the pie that makes up professors drop following the new early retirement package. The “Other” category refers to lecturers, research faculty, and librarians.

Here’s a look at faculty distribution by tenure rates:

(Photo: Penn State University Budget Office)

According to the chart below, Penn Staters can expect the 60 and above portion of the pie chart to shrink rather significantly following early retirements. Here’s a look at faculty distribution by age:

(Photo: Penn State University Budget Office)

If the initiative goes according to plan, Penn State’s mission to both add more diverse faculty and realign academic programming will likely gain momentum within the next two or three years.

“It represents both a challenge and opportunity for colleges and the department level,”  Faculty Senate Chairman James Strauss said to the Centre Daily Times, according to a CBS Philly article. “You lose very good people, but the opportunity allows you to strategically realign some of your academic programs, course offerings, and research.”

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Derek Bannister

Derek is a junior majoring in Economics and History. He is legally required to tell you that he's from right outside of Philly. Email Derek compliments and dad-jokes at [email protected]

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