Great resignation spreads across Valley College

In large part due to the pandemic, Valley has seen 64 staff retire over the last two years.

By Isabella Vodos, Staff Writer

Sixty-four Valley College staff members have resigned since the pandemic began in 2020 for reasons including the move to online learning and to receive retirement benefits.

Over the last two years, 34 Valley faculty members and 30 classified staff have resigned after being provided with a monetary incentive made available through the Separation Incentive Program. The program provides a cash incentive for eligible employees to retire. Each payout is determined by the faculty member’s years in service multiplied by two percent of their annual salary plus a supplement of $7,500. The total payment cannot exceed $80,000.

“I believe that all of the people who left in 2021 took advantage of the supplement retirement program incentive,” said Gribbons. “Some of the folks who retired are planning to still work here part-time.”

‘The Great Resignation’ is a term that refers to roughly 3.3 million employees who have resigned from their jobs after the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. According to NPR, the main factors as to why Americans are resigning are wage stagnation and safety concerns in the workplace.

Communications services manager Michael Atkin retired in July 2021.

“I am of retirement age and the college district was offering a monetary incentive for staff to retire,” said Atkin. “I have since come back to work but only through the end of this fiscal year to help out.”

Susan Singer, an accounting instructor who taught at Valley for over 35 years, resigned due to frustration with teaching online.

“If the pandemic had not happened, I am sure I would still be teaching,” said Singer. “Converting to online instruction changed all of that for me. It became very impersonal, and I no longer enjoyed teaching.”

National Education Association displays a survey showing that 55 percent of teachers are more likely to retire because of the pandemic. According to the association, the number stood at 37 percent in July 2021.

Eugene Scott, anthropology professor at Valley, believes the resignation is bigger than just the pandemic.

“I think the great resignation is a sign of a broader trend of where we’re headed as a society,” said Scott. “I’d like to think that the great resignation is a way for people to prioritize what's meaningful and important to them. I think for some professors teaching online is not for them. They like to be in the classroom and technology is very frustrating.”

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