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AAC&U Presidential Statement on Reinstatement of UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I congratulate President Sullivan on her reinstatement and the University of Virginia (UVA) community for its extraordinary leadership in standing firmly behind her.

The events surrounding Sullivan’s resignation and the debates about her leadership that those events prompted represent a landmark moment in which the entire UVA community rallied behind a talented president. At UVA and in her previous positions, Sullivan has modeled collaborative leadership, commitment to the fundamental work of a major research university—including its strong commitments to a public-spirited liberal education—and a deep respect for the historic legacy and role of the University of Virginia in the nation’s educational history. UVA, like every other educational institution, is adapting to the promise, possibilities, and challenges of this turbulent global century. Under President Sullivan, I am confident that UVA will, indeed, change, but that those changes will build from core values, commitments, and strengths. It is also clear that Sullivan, in concert with the Board of Visitors and the faculty, will examine and evaluate the new directions the university might take in light of those core values, commitments, and strengths.

George Cohen, the chair of the UVA Faculty Senate, spoke for the larger UVA community and thousands of Sullivan admirers when he noted that the UVA community believed in President Sullivan’s leadership because, as he put it, “President Sullivan embodies a set of principles and acts on those principles. What are those principles? Honesty, candor, openness, transparency, inclusion, consultation, communication, fairness, dignity, and trust.”

As difficult as the events of the past few weeks may have been, it is heartening to see intelligent leadership—and these kinds of principles—in action. It is even more heartening to see an entire educational community rallying behind these kinds of principles and behind intelligent and inclusive leadership—and to watch that kind of leadership affirmed in the end.

Carol Geary Schneider
Association of American Colleges and Universities

Carol Geary Schneider