Senior Faculty Opt for Retirement

August 4, 2003

Nick Marinello
Phone: (504) 865-5714

Come this fall, some familiar faces will be absent from Tulane's classrooms. More than 50 senior members of the faculty have accepted a retirement package offered at the end of last year. According to Anne Banos, chief of staff and vice president, 28 faculty members from the health sciences center and 22 faculty members from the uptown campus have taken the university up on an "immediate retirement plan" that awards them a lump sum payment on the date of their retirement.

Eligible faculty were given the choice of retiring either on June 30 of this year or June 30, 2004. According to Banos, 12 faculty chose the former date. The administration also offered a second, "phased retirement plan" option that allows faculty members to reduce their workload--and pay--over a period of time.

Because that agreement was worked out on a case-by-case basis between the faculty member and his or her dean, Banos said she did not know the number of faculty enrolled in this plan. An Inside Tulane survey of five of Tulane's schools and colleges turned up three faculty participants in the phased plan. Three schools and colleges did not respond to calls.

"When we initially offered the plan back in October, we thought we might have roughly this number of faculty," says Baños. "But we didn't know how the market conditions would affect people. There was also the fact that we hadn't offered a plan like this in six years, so we didn't know how that would shape the outcome." Baños says she had a "tremendous amount of interaction" with potential retirees. "A number of faculty were very appreciative," she says. "My experience is that many thought this a very nice opportunity."

For Jean Danielson, associate professor of political science and director of thehonors program, the plan was "lagniappe." Danielson, who has worked at Tulane for 38 years, had been targeting June 2004 as her date for retirement. "For me, the package was not a determining factor, but you know the old saying about looking a gift horse in the mouth."

Danielson, will have little time to kick back and relax during her final academic year. "We have a huge honors class coming in," she says. "Rather than winding down I will have to wind up to get through this year." Danielson, who belongs to the Faculty of the Liberal Arts and Sciences, will be joined by 17 members of that faculty who will be leaving Tulane in the next two years. "It means a loss over a two-year period of faculty who are active in the classroom and the research arena," says Teresa Soufas, dean of the liberal arts and sciences faculty.

"One is never happy to say goodbye, but it is a moment of passage in a personal and professional life." Soufas says that, like the schools and colleges, the Faculty of the Liberal Arts and Sciences has made provisions to pay the debt on the retirement payout and that the exodus of senior faculty will have no long-term negative effect on the college. "We will make sure that our classrooms are occupied by faculty in regular lines, and on an interim basis with strong visiting scholars," she said. "I will be working with departments to make strategic decisions in order to fill these positions."

Nick Marinello can be reached at

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000