Fifteen Truman faculty, staff retire

Fifteen faculty and staff members have retired or are set to retire from Truman State University this year.

There were fewer retirees this year than usual and Sally Herleth, executive director of human resources, said this might be because of the lack of incentives.  

Herleth said the current plan is to fill the majority of the 15 positions, and some of them have already been filled. She said the goal is to get positions filled as soon as well qualified candidates can be identified, and ideally get most filled before the start of the new fiscal year, or the end of the academic year.

“It’s becoming more of a challenge to even fill some of our staff positions because our salaries by comparison are probably lower, but then the benefit package is more robust,” Herleth said. “I think we’ve experienced not as much interest in some of our lower level staff positions.”

Janet Gooch, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, said there are four faculty and a dean retiring. Gooch said departments are taking different approaches to fill faculty positions. Some departments will hire new members, while others might redistribute course loads to remaining faculty or alter their curricula. She said some searches are already open, and someone has already been hired to fill the open position in the Theatre Department.

Gooch said she does not anticipate any major challenges filling other open positions.

“Sometimes it depends on the time of year that we’re doing the search or the area that we’re doing the search,” Gooch said. “Some areas are harder to fill than others, but I think for the most part we’ll be quite successful with the searches.”

James O’Donnell, School of Arts and Letters dean, will be retiring at the end of July after six years at Truman. During this time, he served as both a dean and a music professor.

He is retiring because to him and his family it seemed like a good time, he said.

In his retirement announcement, O’Donnell said he will be working with Gooch, chairpersons, office assistants, and other members of the School of Arts and Letters to provide a smooth transition for the next dean.

Former admission director Melody Chambers retired from Truman in February. Chambers was a student at Truman before working as an admissions counselor right after graduation.

“Honestly, I thought I would do it for two or three years while I figured out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and ended up honestly really loving it,” Chambers said.

She worked various positions in admissions before serving as the admission director for nearly a decade. In total, Chambers worked at Truman for 34 years.

Chambers said there were a few reasons she decided to retire, including that she was reaching the maximum eligibility for backdrop funding within the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System. She also said there were many administrative changes about to happen and she had already experienced a lot of change in her career. If she was going to experience even more change, she said she wanted to decide what that change was, instead of having it just happen.

Chambers now works at A.T. Still University in alumni relations, but she said her heart is still with Truman. She said her new position allows her to do many of the things she loved doing in admissions, like forming relationships and coordinating events.