Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Plan update

August 12, 2019

To all employees, 

As we enjoy the summer weather and prepare for the start of another school year, I write to update you about the Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Plan (VERIP), which has now closed, and to provide an overview of where we go from here.


The VERIP provided employees who met certain criteria the opportunity to retire from the University. All of the University’s employment classifications were included in this program thanks to collaboration with countless employees and bargaining unit representatives.

The VERIP was not designed primarily as a budget-saving measure, hence we did not establish a goal regarding the number of people who we hoped would or would not accept the offer. Instead, the VERIP was designed to provide the University the opportunity and flexibility to re-organize how we perform our work of serving students.

Key Data

Slightly more than 600 University employees were eligible to participate in the VERIP, and 142 employees accepted the offer. These employees are spread across the University in nearly every division:

  • Academic & Student Affairs: 101
  • Business & Finance: 5
  • Enrollment Management: 2
  • Facilities & Operations: 24
  • Information Technology: 3
  • Intercollegiate Athletics: 1
  • Legal Affairs: 1
  • Public Safety: 3
  • University Human Resources: 2

Some employees have already retired; others may remain with the University for up to one year. This flexible approach will provide a smoother transition as we say goodbye to valued colleagues. We are grateful to these employees for their lengthy and productive service to the University. Many of us will gather at various retirement parties over the next several months to wish them well!

What’s Next?

As noted above, the VERIP was designed to provide the University the opportunity and flexibility to reorganize the way we conduct our work serving students. Such a reorganization is necessary because regional public higher education throughout the United States is in a state of disruption. Stagnant financial support from the State of Michigan, demographic trends resulting in fewer college-aged students, challenges at the federal level to international enrollment, and the rapidly growing demand for new technology and online learning are forcing colleges and universities to continually change how we serve students. The VERIP initiative is one step in our ongoing efforts to shape our future in the context of this “new normal”.

Some may understandably view these disruptions to higher education with concern and fear. I believe, however, that it is far more productive to view this opportunity with optimism. Change is inevitable and often exciting. Eastern Michigan University has provided a vital public service to people from around the world for 170 years, and we intend to continue doing so for at least another 170 years. How we provide that service has changed over the years -- and it will change again in the coming years.

With your assistance, thoughtful planning and an eye toward the future, we will continue to work together to make Eastern a destination for students seeking a quality education and successful careers.

Thank you for your time. As always, I can be reached at Office_of_the_President@emich. edu.

James Smith
Eastern Michigan University

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