Brain drain. It’s a term we’ve been hearing a lot lately around campus. For some students, the phrase describes how they are feeling after a long semester as they head into final exams. For others, brain drain refers to a condition that could result from Amarillo College’s upcoming retirement buyout, which is leading many long-time faculty and staff members to leave the college at the same time. The fear is that the simultaneous departure of numerous experienced and knowledgeable employees could hurt the quality of education and services that the college provides. Anticipation of the results of these impending retirements is creating anxiety among some AC employees and students. Many are just panicking because it seems to be the trendy thing to do around here lately; but what comes into question is how much will this upcoming change affect the students?
In pursuit of knowledge and answers regarding the impending changes, Ranger editor Alma Bustamante and Ranger videographer/page editor Christie Rankin met with President Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart to find out exactly what will result from the approaching changes. In meeting with Lowery-Hart, Bustamante and Rankin were assured that the changes will have no negative impact on the students. Lowery-Hart noted that as of last week, 31 of the 85 eligible to retire had announced they are taking the buyout, but he assured The Ranger that student learning will not suffer despite the decrease in the overall number of employees.
The goal is to eliminate duplicated roles and move employees to where they are needed most. Students will not receive education of a lesser level due to the buyout. Lowery-Hart assured Bustamante and Rankin that student success is of ultimate importance and will remain so. At The Ranger, we are pleased to hear that the college is committed to ensuring that the upcoming retirements will have no negative impact on students. We urge AC leaders to stay on top of this goal and to make sure the high standards do not decrease. We have heard rumors that many retiring faculty members will be replaced with adjuncts. While adjuncts often are employed full-time in their teaching fields and offer valuable real-world experience, they also spend less time on campus and are rarely able to serve on committees or sponsor campus clubs and activities. We trust the college administrators to find a balance between fiscal responsibility and quality education. We are depending on our leaders to make the right choice. If you happen to be one of the people stressing – even to be trendy – there is no need. All will be OK, so trust in your leaders and focus on your finals.