Budget cuts affect teachers by incentive to separate

By Alyssa Rupp —

The looming budget cuts for the University of Wisconsin–Stout are not only predicted to affect students over the next few years, but they have several implications for professors as well. One of these effects is the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program that Chancellor Bob Meyer, implemented on April 20 of this year.

The VSIP is a national program that is a part of many institutions across the nation, and because of budget cuts, it’s now becoming a part of Stout.

“This program is intended to give the university as much flexibility as possible as we try to meet the fiscal challenges contained in the proposed 2015 to 2017 state budget,” Chancellor Meyer says.

The Voluntary Separation Incentive Program allows employees from a business or company (in this case UW–Stout) to be offered a lump sum of money in order to leave that business or company. This can lead to resignation, optional retirement or voluntary early retirement, but professors need to be considered eligible in order to apply for the program. Some of those requirements are being over the age of 55 and having an original start date with the university before July 1, 2010; however, there are many other standards that need to be met.

Most groups who utilize the VSIP are trying to minimize involuntary separations, which can save them money in the long run. UW–Stout is hoping to accomplish similar results, but in a more precise and thoughtful way. Meyer explains, “I want to emphasize that the scope of this program, meaning the number of employees we will be able to accommodate, will be very focused and strategic. Unlike some institutions, we do not have large cash reserves to use for this program, so the amount available will be limited. Therefore, we have to ensure that the employees chosen to participate in VSIP meet our financial and operational goals.”

With the many changes coming to Stout because of budget cuts, Meyer stresses that a student’s experience still remains the number one priority. “We are looking at every possibility to ensure that we maintain the educational quality our students have come to expect from UW–Stout.”

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