Eligible employees at Arkansas Tech University will have the opportunity to pursue early voluntary retirement during fiscal year 2021.
The voluntary employee retirement incentive is based upon a recommendation by a committee of ATU faculty and staff and was approved by the ATU Board of Trustees during its meeting at Chambers Cafeteria West Dining Room on Thursday, Aug. 20.
The incentive is available to employees as of Dec. 31, 2020, who are age 60 or older and have at least 10 years of continuous, full-time employment at ATU.
The general terms of the plan include:
*Eligible employees who elect to participate will receive a one-time payment of 25 percent of their base salary as it is on Dec. 31, 2020, along with 1 percent of their base salary for each year of continuous service, up to a maximum of 50 percent of the employee’s base salary as of Dec. 31, 2020.
*The total payout contribution will be capped at 50 percent of the employee’s annual base salary as of Dec. 31, 2020.
*The total payout contribution will be made through employer contributions, as determined by the terms of the program and by federal laws, into the employee’s 403(b) plan. An eligible employee will need to establish a TIAA-CREF account if the employee does not have an existing TIAA-CREF account that the payout contribution can be deposited into.
*If the total amount of contributions to all eligible employees under this program exceeds the statutory limits for funding the program during this fiscal year, then Arkansas Tech University contributions to the employee will be reduced based on state law. Any reduced contributions will be paid in the following fiscal year(s).
*For the eligible employees who selected the voluntary employee retirement incentive plan, the university will provide currently existing retiree benefits. This would include the health insurance benefit that employees who are age 60 or above and have completed 10 years of service at Arkansas Tech University may retire and have a portion of their health insurance premium paid by Arkansas Tech University until the retiree reaches Medicare eligibility age. This would also include payment for any unused annual or sick leave as allowed by policy or law.
Due to the lack of a funding source, this incentive will not be available for employees whose salary is entirely grant funded. Similarly, for employees whose salary is partially supplemented with grant funds, the grant funded portion of the salary will not be included in the salary calculation of the employee when determining the incentive amount.
The election period for the employee retirement incentive plan is open and will remain so through 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.
Participating employees will be able to select an effective retirement date of either Dec. 31, 2020, or May 31, 2021.
The ATU Board of Trustees reserves the right to provide additional election windows in the future at its discretion.
The employee’s participation in the voluntary employee retirement incentive plan will be memorialized by a written agreement between the university and the employee that contains the specific terms and conditions of the voluntary employee retirement incentive.
ATU employees interested in pursuing the employee retirement incentive plan or learning more about the plan are encouraged to contact the ATU Office of Human Resources at (479) 968-0396 or email@example.com.
In other matters, the ATU Board of Trustees approved:
*a letter of intent proposing the creation of a new Associate of Science degree in manufacturing under the auspices of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Department of Mechanical Engineering with a proposed effective date of fall 2021;
*a revised policies and procedures manual for the ATU Division of Administration and Finance;
*state-required methods of finance for construction and renovation projects at ATU for fiscal year 2021;
*annual banking authorizations to allow appropriate university employees to conduct or approve all necessary and proper banking transactions for the university;
*awarding a $133,621 construction contract to Curb Time Solutions Inc. for the completion of the walking trail at ATU-Ozark Campus with funds from an Arkansas Department of Transportation grant;
*student handbooks for the 2020-21 academic year on the Russellville and Ozark campuses;
*traffic and parking regulations at ATU-Ozark Campus for the 2020-21 academic year;
*and the establishment of Oct. 15, 2020, Dec. 17, 2020, Jan. 21, 2021, March 18, 2021, May 20, 2021, and Aug. 19, 2021, as the dates for upcoming regularly scheduled meetings of the ATU Board of Trustees.
In personnel matters, trustees approved hiring the following new, full-time faculty members on the Russellville campus for the 2020-21 academic year:
*Dr. Surya Jyoti Banerjee, assistant professor of biology; Dr. Michael Bradley, associate professor of recreation and park administration; Brittany Burris, visiting instructor of nursing; Dr. Alwin D’Souza, assistant professor of agriculture business; Dr. Kristin Jaye Henderson, assistant professor of nursing; Dr. Tasha King, assistant professor of agriculture; Dr. Zhaoli Liu, assistant professor of nursing; Dr. Joseph Musongong, visiting assistant professor of chemistry; Dr. Masud Rana, visiting assistant professor of computer and information science; Dr. Suresh Subedi, assistant professor of biology; and Dr. Demet Usanmaz, assistant professor of physics.
Three members of the ATU faculty were formally appointed to interim leadership positions.
Dr. Sarah Gordon, associate professor of educational leadership, will serve as interim head of the Department of Student Affairs Administration and the Center for Leadership and Learning.
Dr. Kevin Mason, professor of marketing, was named interim head of the Department of Management and Marketing.
Dr. Jerry Wood, associate professor of computer and information science, was selected interim head of the Department of Computer and Information Science.
Trustees approved hiring the following new, full-time faculty members through the Ozark campus for the 2020-21 academic year:
*Dr. Randall Colvin, workforce education faculty of biology; Charles Hilton, workforce education faculty of culinary arts at Arkansas Tech Career Center; Mitchell Hook, adult education instructor; and Dr. Kelley Todd, workforce education faculty of business technology.
The employment of the following new, full-time staff members was confirmed by the board:
*Daniel Gallegos, director of athletic communications, effective July 15, 2020; Blake Huber, assistant women’s basketball coach and academic coach in the APEX Tutoring Center, effective July 14, 2020; Nathan Kennedy, assistant men’s basketball coach and academic coach in the APEX Tutoring Center, effective July 9, 2020; Allison Sheehan, admissions officer, effective Aug. 3, 2020; Nicholas Sheehan, assistant football coach, effective July 13, 2020; and Christina Stolarz, director of human resources, effective July 1, 2020.
Walter J. Branson was named interim vice president for administration and finance effective Aug. 24, 2020.
Laury Fiorello was confirmed to an appointment as interim director of budget effective Aug. 1, 2020. Fiorello will retain her duties as chief financial officer for ATU-Ozark Campus.
Shelly Hall was named coordinator of veteran services effective July 1, 2020. Hall had previously filled that role on an interim basis.
Trustees accepted resignations from the following ATU employees:
*Dr. Turaj Ashuri, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, effective Aug. 8, 2020; Adele Berry, workforce education faculty of licensed practical nursing, effective May 7, 2020; Brandye Bisek, director of health services, effective Aug. 14, 2020; Melanie Diffey, career counselor, effective Aug. 7, 2020; Shirley Freeman, adult education instructor, effective June 12, 2020; Dr. Franklin Hardcastle, professor of chemistry, effective July 13, 2020; Bernadette Hinkle, vice president for administration and finance, effective July 1, 2020; Kara Johnson, coordinator of civic engagement, effective Aug. 3, 2020; Aubree Lund, area coordinator for residence life, effective June 30, 2020; Dr. Santoshi Nandivada, assistant professor of physics, effective July 24, 2020; Dr. Rajvardhan Patil, assistant professor of computer and information science, effective July 31, 2020; Nikki Templeton, counselor, effective July 1, 2020; Dr. Luay Wahsheh, professor of computer and information science and head of the Department of Computer and Information Science, effective July 31, 2020; and Dr. Alaric Williams, professor of student affairs administration and head of the Department of Student Affairs Administration and the Center for Leadership and Learning, effective July 14, 2020.
The board accepted a retirement request from Dr. Marilyn Duran, associate professor of nursing, effective July 31, 2020. Duran had served on the ATU faculty since 2016.