Email from McIntire Dean Carl Zeithaml
On Sunday, June 10, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors announced that President Teresa Sullivan is resigning effective August 15. Within a few weeks, the BOV will name an Interim President, and a formal search for the new President will be conducted over the next year. The news surprised virtually everyone. Terry was a supporter of the Commerce School and our faculty, staff, and students. She worked with us on instituting differential tuition and other initiatives that are important to the future of the School. Recently, I spent most of a week traveling with her to three major cities in Asia, and she was publicly very positive on the School and all of our activities. I personally appreciate her efforts over the past two years to engage with the University community and to help us achieve our goals.
The BOV determined that the University requires more bold and assertive leadership. The Rector and Vice Rector emphasized the need for a compelling vision that can drive fundraising and new revenues. They also discussed the need to make difficult resource allocation decisions in a time of great challenge and change for higher education. Terry’s approach was perceived as more incremental, and the BOV essentially concluded over the last year that a "philosophical difference” existed regarding the best approach to deal with the issues confronting UVA and higher education. During the meeting announcing the decision to the deans and vice presidents, the Rector focused on several issues that she believes are critical, including recruiting and retaining great faculty and staff, lagging compensation for faculty and staff, tuition and the overall financing of the University, and the use of new technology in higher education. I completely agree that these issues are critical, and, as many of you know, the McIntire School is fully engaged with them and have several proposals and actions under way to address these issues with respect to our faculty and programs.
The challenges and pressures on higher education and business schools are real, and the pace of change is accelerating. We have been and will continue to respond to this environment through innovation in our programs and an aggressive approach when confronting the tough problems mentioned above. We need to be entrepreneurial, strategic, and position the School for continued preeminence. Thanks to our entire community, our record of success and commitment to continuous innovation and improvement speaks for itself. I believe that we have much more to do, and we have the faculty, staff, students, and alumni to innovate and to achieve continued excellence.
At this time, we should rely on one of our most important assets: our strong sense of community. We need to continue to work together to pursue our goals and to be a leader on Grounds and in the industry. We are working closely with the University administration on our pending proposals, and we should forge ahead with new ideas and activities. The BOV is looking for decisive and bold action, and we should continue to give them what they want.
I am very proud to serve the McIntire School and the University and to be a member of such a wonderful community. We appreciate your ongoing support, and please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Carl Zeithaml, Dean
McIntire School of Commerce
[Zeithaml notes that this communication was the edited version of an email he wrote on Sunday, June 10 and sent at 9:30 that evening to staff and faculty of the McIntire School of Commerce.–editor]