Hmmm. I wonder what this is all about. The University of Virginia board of visitors announced this morning that Teresa Sullivan is stepping down as university president after a tenure of only two years. The board will hold an emergency closed-door meeting at 2 p.m. to “consider amending the contract of a University employee,”according to media reports.
Both the University board and Sullivan made routine expressions of respect and appreciation for one another but neither was forthcoming with an explanation. In a brief statement Sullivan indicated “a philosophical difference of opinion” with the board. A statement by Board Chair Helen Dragas suggested the same thing:
For the past year, the board has had ongoing discussions about the importance of developing, articulating and acting on a clear and concrete strategic vision. “In a rapidly changing and highly pressurized external environment in both health care and in academia,” Dragas said, “we believe that the University needs to remain at the forefront of change.”
Whatever the difference in philosophy, the problem does not seem to be emanating from the Governor’s Office. Governor Bob McDonnell praised Sullivan for helping advance his higher education agenda:
Through her leadership, Virginia added nearly 1,000 new student slots and recently enacted the lowest yearly tuition increase in over a decade. Having the University of Virginia play such a leading role in higher education reform was immensely helpful in ensuring that this work to expand access and affordability all across our higher education system would be successful and broadly embraced by all state institutions.
Does anyone have any insight?
Update: For a more up-to-date analysis of what the Sullivan resignation means, read “An Existential Threat.”