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Pres. Teresa A. Sullivan Ph.D.

Self Description

May 2014: "Teresa A. Sullivan is the University of Virginia’s eighth president. Since taking office in 2010, she has led UVa through a period of significant progress. In fall 2012, she launched a strategic planning effort to  provide a road-map for the University’s future, while gathering input from 10,000 alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and others. President Sullivan developed a new financial model for the University to ensure stability and transparency and to spur innovation in a period of significant financial pressure in higher education.

President Sullivan has assembled a highly effective leadership team, led by executive vice president and provost John Simon, executive vice president and chief operating officer Pat Hogan, senior vice president for university advancement Bob Sweeney, and a group of experienced vice presidents and staff. Working with her team, President Sullivan has prepared UVa to tackle the serious challenges in higher education related to cost-containment, affordability, faculty compensation, and the emergence of online education. UVa now has ongoing efforts, at both the unit and the pan-University levels, to reduce costs, improve processes, and enhance efficiency, while protecting the quality of the academic enterprise. In 2013, President Sullivan proposed a plan to aggressively improve faculty compensation after many years of stagnation in faculty salaries. Under her leadership, faculty and staff have been encouraged to experiment strategically with new technologies, such as massive open online courses, or MOOCs. President Sullivan also provided seed funding to allow professors to experiment with “hybrid” courses that combine the traditional classroom experience with technology-enhanced teaching.

In spring 2013, President Sullivan led the University to completion of its $3-billion capital campaign, and quickly announced plans to raise $400 million to support three strategic priorities: retaining and recruiting top faculty, restoring the University’s Jeffersonian Grounds, and providing needy students with scholarships.

President Sullivan is a respected scholar in labor force demography. The author or coauthor of six books and many scholarly articles, her most recent research has focused on measuring productivity in higher education.

President Sullivan is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She serves as Vice Chair of the Council of Presidents for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and as a member of the Advisory Board for the Northern Virginia Technology Council, the trade association of the technology industry in Northern Virginia. She serves as the Association of American Universities (AAU) representative on the American Council on Education (ACE) Board of Directors, and as a member of the Higher Education Advisory Committee that provides guidance for implementation of the Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011. In 2013, the Governor appointed her to the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority.

President Sullivan came to UVa from the University of Michigan, where she was provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. Prior to her work at Michigan, Ms. Sullivan was executive vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University of Texas System, a position she held from 2002 until May 2006. She served as faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin from 1981 to 2006.

She is a graduate of Michigan State University’s James Madison College, and earned her doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Chicago. She is married to Douglas Laycock, the Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professor of Law at UVa. They have two adult sons."

Third-Party Descriptions

November 2014: 'UVA president Teresa Sullivan denies the administration sweeps sexual assault under the rug. "If we're trying to hide the issue, we're not doing a very good job of it," she says, noting that this past February UVA hosted the first-ever sexual-assault summit for college administrators. It's true that recently, while under close government scrutiny, the school has made some encouraging changes, including designating most UVA authority figures as mandatory reporters of sexual assault and teaming up with student activists to create a bystander-intervention campaign. Students praise UVA's deans as caring folks who answer late-night calls from victims and even make emergency-room visits. '

May 2014: "Sullivan was unanimously elected on January 11, 2010, and became the University's first female president on August 1, 2010. However, on June 10, 2012, it was announced to the University that Sullivan would step down from her position on August 15, 2012, after serving only two years of a five-year contract. Leaders of the university’s governing board decided to remove Sullivan, "largely because of her unwillingness to consider dramatic program cuts in the face of dwindling resources and for her perceived reluctance to approach the school with the bottom-line mentality of a corporate chief executive". Other sources presented the dispute as being more about differing view of the academic culture and future direction of the university than immediate financial concerns; whether less popular traditional-classical academic studies should be cut, with funding refocussed on more profitable and business-oriented courses and programs.[citation needed] Later news reports presented the resignation as an "ouster" organized by Helen Dragas, rector of the university's Board of Visitors; with strong suggestions of Dragas' conflicting views of the future of the university, and personal ambitions playing a role in her actions.Although a formal meeting and vote of the full board was not held at the time, Sullivan was presented with the news of her loss of majority support within the board, and given the 'opportunity' to resign.

The announcement of her resignation was communicated via an email by Dragas on behalf of the Board of Visitors. The message quoted from Sullivan's resignation letter and cited "philosophical differences" on how the University was to be run. Large-scale protest against the action, and support for Sullivan from students, faculty, alumni, as well as the national academic community, resulted, including a faculty senate demand for the removal of the Board of Visitors leaders - Rector Helen Dragas and Vice Rector Mark J. Kington - and demands from the student government for an explanation for the ouster. In the face of this pressure, including a statement from Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell that he would remove the entire board if they failed to resolve the issue at their June 26 meeting, the board unanimously voted to reinstate Sullivan as president."

May 2014: 'Laycock, who is married to UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan...”'


RoleNameTypeLast Updated
has/had as a Representative American Association for the Advancement of Science, The (AAAS) Organization May 30, 2014
Director/Trustee/Overseer (past or present) American Council of Education (ACE) Organization May 30, 2014
has/had as a Representative Association of American Universities (AAU) Organization May 30, 2014
Organization Executive (past or present) Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) Organization May 30, 2014
Student/Trainee (past or present) Michigan State University (MSU) Organization May 30, 2014
Student/Trainee (past or present) University of Chicago Organization May 30, 2014
Student/Trainee (past or present) Organization Executive (past or present) University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Organization May 30, 2014
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) University of Virginia (UVA) Organization May 30, 2014
Family Member Prof. Douglas Laycock Person May 30, 2014

Articles and Resources

Date Resource Read it at:
Nov 19, 2014 A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA

QUOTE: UVA's emphasis on honor is so pronounced that since 1998, 183 people have been expelled for honor-code violations such as cheating on exams. And yet paradoxically, not a single student at UVA has ever been expelled for sexual assault. "Think about it," says Susan Russell, whose UVA daughter's sexual-assault report helped trigger a previous federal investigation. "In what world do you get kicked out for cheating, but if you rape someone, you can stay?"

Rolling Stone
May 28, 2014 Chilling Effect: How the attacks on a University of Virginia law professor are bad for academia, and all of us.

QUOTE: The effort to intimidate or—more charitably—“educate” professor Laycock is misdirected toward an academic career that has been protective of gay rights and gay marriage and only, in the two instances cited, collides with them through a larger vision of religious liberty. The groups who don’t like that anti-LGBT movements get intellectual cover from Laycock’s legal arguments are free to say so, loudly, passionately, and publicly. But using a FOIA request to try to get dirt on him, to imply that he is doing something unsavory with those groups, is simply a smear tactic...