There will be significant changes within Barnard’s administration and faculty this year, in part because more than a dozen people have applied to retire by January. Among the planned departures are several high-ranking Barnard administrators, including Dean of Studies Karen Blank and Associate Provost Angela Haddad.
In a letter dated Aug. 29, Barnard President Debora Spar wrote that “the response to the voluntary [retirement] program was considerably larger than anticipated.” Sixteen administrators and professors applied, though final decisions have not been made for all. Those who do choose to accept the college’s package must retire by January 2013.
While the reason behind the sudden and coinciding retirement of so many Barnard administrators and faculty members is unclear, offering a significant number of employees early retirement is often a means by which colleges tighten their budgets.
Spar addresses Barnard’s recent financial woes in the letter, writing, “We are also deeply aware of the College’s ongoing budgetary constraints and thus are always trying to improve services while simultaneously managing and reducing costs.”
Those financial constraints have been reflected over the last year in the college’s change in part-time tuition policy—prohibiting students from paying less during semesters in which they take a smaller courseload—and most recently in its decision to admit more students than it is able to house.
Blank will be retiring after 19 years as dean of students and nearly three decades at Barnard and Columbia. Haddad, who has spent three years in the provost’s office, is moving to an administrative role and a professorship at Hunter College.
Due to what Spar characterized as the “departure of so many key members of the community,” Barnard is in the process of re-organizing some departments, like human resources and information technology.
“Members of the HR staff will now be generalists, assigned to a number of departments so that each can comprehensively meet the needs of a smaller group of employees,” Spar wrote.
However, the imminent changes in administration have left departments without certain important members of their staff. Replacements for Blank; Gwen Williams, manager of academic administration in the provost’s office; and Brenda Slade, director of health services have yet to be found.
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that those applying for early retirement had to do so by the end of the semester. In fact, they have until January to accept the retirement package. Spectator regrets the error.