New Staff will help shape the Next Generation

There will be a lot of new faces in faculty staff rooms in the next few years as an unusually high number of staff retire from the U of S. In a normal year approximately 10 faculty members retire. In 1999, however, 45 people chose to retire and next year 57 more will leave.

According to Associate Vice-president of Human Resources Sharon Cochran, the high numbers can be attributed to two things. "First, the last collective agreement included an assisted early retirement program with retirement dates of 1999 and 2000. Secondly, if we look across Canada we have a large proportion of our academic staff in that age group. It is a natural bulge," she explained.

Although losing long-time staff members will be tough, Vice-president of Finance and Administration Tony Whitworth says there are some positives to the change. "It's a win and lose situation in a sense. The university is losing some well-established and well-recognized people with good teaching experience. On the up side, we have not had a major turnover in staff since the '60s. It is the first time in a generation we can hire newer and younger staff with up-to-date skills and research," he said.

He says they expect to fill all of the vacancies, but admits there may be some movement of openings among the departments. Whitworth notes the university's strong reputation in biotechnology, sciences, engineering and commerce may influence the decision, but adds it will be up to the deans and vice-president academic to determine the areas to be strengthened.

Whitworth expects the staffing change will play a significant role in the years ahead. "This is our chance to shape the university for the next generation."