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Last updated: Tue. Dec. 11, 2012 - 02:41 pm EDT

IPFW rethinking stance on Wartell

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Fort Wayne — In September 2011, the IPFW Faculty Senate expressed a strong desire to keep former Chancellor Michael Wartell in his post as leader of the university for two more years, crediting Wartell with the university’s growth during his 19-year tenure.

The body called a special meeting to approve a resolution, asking Purdue University to extend its mandatory retirement age for Wartell, who was forced to retire in June because he had turned 65.

Now, the faculty senate appears to feel somewhat differently about the former chancellor, as a resolution came before the group Monday to end Wartell’s appointed position as chancellor emeritus.

Upon his retirement, Purdue University gave Wartell the title of chancellor emeritus, along with his chancellor salary of $236,000, a part-time administrative assistant and office space on the IPFW campus. Officially, Wartell is on sabbatical, typically a leave of absence for faculty to do research or gain additional training or knowledge.

IPFW is a regional campus of both Indiana University and Purdue University, but it is managed by Purdue University under the terms of a management agreement that is renewed every five years.

Wartell is also a tenured member of IPFW’s faculty in chemistry, which means his position as professor can only be terminated under special circumstances.

IPFW Media Director Susan Alderman called the chancellor emeritus position an “unfunded mandate” from Purdue. A similar package, although one much more costly, was given to Purdue’s recently-retired president France Córdova.

IPFW is funding Wartell’s compensation package while facing a budget deficit of at least $3 million, mainly from declining enrollment, said Walt Branson, vice chancellor for financial affairs.In an effort to cut costs, IPFW’s University Resources Policy Committee and Faculty Senate supported resolutions to end some of the compensation and benefits Wartell receives as chancellor emeritus.

But those resolutions will not make any changes to Wartell’s current compensation package, as it is determined per his contract and by Purdue University, said Steve Sarratore, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs.

A resolution, proposed by the University Resources Policy Committee, read at Monday’s faculty senate meeting called to “end the current chancellor emeritus office,” or discontinue Wartell’s salary as chancellor emeritus, along with the salary of his part-time administrative assistant. But the resolution should not have made it into the meeting because a quorum wasn’t met at the time of the committee’s vote.

The University Resources Policy Committee or URPC didn’t have a clear understanding of what the university was getting from the chancellor emeritus position its paying for. The resolutions and discussions prior to the vote were meant for clarification, said Michael Nusbaumer, speaker for the Indiana University faculty and URPC member.

Two other resolutions related to the chancellor emeritus position were passed to reaffirm current practices relating to salaries for administrators holding faculty rank and sabbaticals for administrators. The resolutions passed by the Faculty Senate are mostly to gather consensus from the faculty to forward on to IPFW’s administration or to Purdue, said Andy Downs, presiding officer of the Faculty Senate and IPFW professor.

The current practice for administrators who return to faculty positions is to end the administrative stipend and pay the faculty member for 10 months instead of 12.

Despite the current practice, Wartell will not lose administrative pay because he signed his contract as chancellor prior to that practice being in place, but he will revert back to being paid for 10 months instead of 12 like all faculty members, said Sarratore.

The second related resolution approved was to reaffirm that administrators who hold faculty rank should follow the normal faculty process to be granted a sabbatical.

Marc Lipman, URPC chair, said it’s unlikely the resolution to end the chancellor emeritus office will return to the faculty senate for a vote because the office will no longer exist when Wartell returns from sabbatical in July, although he will retain the title.

At that time, Wartell would return as a member of the faculty.

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