The 'incrementalist': UVA President Teresa Sullivan, translated
"I have been described as an incrementalist. It is true. Sweeping action may be gratifying and may create the aura of strong leadership, but its unintended consequences may lead to costs that are too high to bear. "
I bet you felt almighty powerful when you canned me. So how do you feel now?
"Corporate-style, top-down leadership does not work in a great university. Sustained change with buy-in does work. UVA is one of the world’s greatest universities."
Seriously, you guys have acted like bulls in a china shop. What the heck were you thinking?
"But at the end of the day, money alone is not enough. The faculty must also believe that they can do their best work here. They must believe in the future here. At any great university, the equilibrium – the pull between the desire to stay and the inducements to leave – is delicate. Rapid change rapidly upsets this delicate equilibrium.
Already in the last ten days we have lost faculty to other universities. Fortunately, we are well past the usual hiring season in most disciplines. But deans and provosts at every peer institution are setting aside funds now to raid the University of Virginia next year given the current turmoil on our campus."
Our faculty will now be leaving in droves, you morons. Not to mention our donors. Jeeze!
"The Contemplative Sciences Center, which has broadened considerably from the original donor proposal to an exciting synergy among faculty from the Medical School, the College of Nursing, Asian Studies, Religious Studies, and other departments."
We created the yoga center for Paul Tudor Jones and his wife, but noooo… that wasn't enough. Who the hell is in charge of the University anyway?
"Environmental sustainability is a topic that excites faculty and students from nearly every school, including the College, Architecture, Engineering, and others. A new partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, together with our widely heralded Bay Game, offer opportunities for study in species conservation and clean water, which will be one of the most important issues of this century."
Again, we promote another Paul Tudor Jones pet project, but noooo… that isn't enough. Who does this guy think he is?!
"A dramatic top-down reallocation in our general fund, simply to show that we are “changing,” or that we are not “incremental,” seems to me fiscally imprudent, highly alarming to faculty, and unfair to students who expect to get a broadly inclusive education here."
Strategic dynamism? How about we call it what it is: a bunch of ignorant posturing from people who made campaign contributions to governors.
"If we were to embark on a course of deep top-down cuts, there would also be difficult questions regarding what to cut. A university that does not teach the full range of arts and sciences will no longer be a university. Certainly it will no longer be respected as such by its former peers."
Hello! We're a University. A place where you're supposed to learn stuff. Remember?
"Fundraising takes time. A new President first has to meet donors and establish trust and rapport. Instability is as alarming to donors as it is to faculty and in the last few days you are already seeing the impact."
Way to go, morons. You say you want to see fundraising increase, but now you've bitten the hands that feed us.
"We have created the 4VA telepresence consortium with the state, Cisco, Virginia Tech, George Mason, and James Madison that uses sophisticated technology to share courses and other resources; examples are advanced Mandarin and national security policy. I would have become the consortium’s chair on July 1. There is room for carefully implemented online learning in selected fields, but online instruction is no panacea. It is surprisingly expensive, has limited revenue potential, and unless carefully managed, can undermine the quality of instruction."
Seriously? This is all about online education? You're joking, right? Do you even know what is going on at the University? Come on, what is the real reason you canned me– you don't like the way I dress or something?
"Trust does not mean an absence of disagreement. But it requires that disagreements be frankly discussed. No matter how accomplished he or she may be, a president cannot read minds. When you choose a new president, tell him or her what you are thinking."
Next time, don't lie to your president about what you really want.
Obviously, the unitalicized words are satire and is not meant to be taken as actual reporting of events or statements by President Sullivan.This story is a part of the The ousting of a president special.Read more on: Teresa Sullivan