UNC medical school looks to faculty early retirements

UNC’s medical school is seeking authority to offer early retirement incentives to some tenured faculty.

The proposed Faculty Retirement Incentive Program won approval by the UNC Board of Governors’ personnel and tenure committee Thursday. It will eventually go before the full board and could become a model for other UNC campuses, a system administrator said.

Under the proposal, tenured faculty close to retirement could be eligible to get a lump sum payment of one year’s base salary to relinquish tenure and leave UNC. About 10 percent of faculty at UNC’s medical school would be eligible. Administrators estimated that as many as 60 could take advantage of the offer, which would not be paid for with state funds.

UNC administrators argue that the program is a “management tool” that would allow the school to replace its most senior faculty with junior faculty who cost less and may be at a more productive stage in their career. The school would be able to make new hires in priority areas or not fill some jobs for cost savings, said Andy Willis, chief of staff of the UNC Health Care System and UNC School of Medicine.

The proposal calls for a four-year trial and if approved, the program would be evaluated after 18 months.

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