The Board of Visitors will begin looking for a new president with the formation of a search committee following University President Teresa Sullivan’s announcement that she will be leaving upon her contract’s expiration in 2018.
“She informed the Board when she was hired in 2010 that she would serve seven to 10 years,” University spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn said in an email statement. “Her decision on Friday is aligned with that stated expectation and the employment contract extension the Board authorized in 2015.”
Sullivan’s contract was renewed in May 2015.
The Board will appoint a search committee responsible for compiling a list of candidates to present to the board, Rector William H. Goodwin, Jr. said.
According to the Board of Visitors policy manual, the search committee will be led by the rector and will consist of at least five members selected from the membership of the Board.
“In the coming weeks, a presidential search committee will be formed along with the development of a supporting process to assist the Board’s efforts in identifying U.Va.’s [ninth] president,” de Bruyn said.
Once this process is created, it will be shared with the University community.
Student Council released a statement following Sullivan’s announcement to the University community.
“As her time in the office comes to an end, we look forward to a thorough and rigorous search for our next president, one that includes the voices of all stakeholders on Grounds, in the Charlottesville community, and the U.Va. community at large,” the statement read.
Student Council also emphasized its commitment to representing student interests, asking that student input be considered in the search process.
“Our commitment to student self-governance demands that students have a role in the search and selection processes,” the statement reads. “Student Council will work to ensure that students have a prominent say in the future of our community.”
All members of the University community will be able to contribute to the process of finding a new president, de Bruyn said.
“Rector Goodwin has said that the presidential search will be an inclusive process and involve important stakeholders from the faculty, students, staff, volunteers and the broader University community,” he said.
Nina Solenski, an associate professor of neurology and the faculty Board member, echoed Goodwin’s commitment to inclusivity during the search process.
“I’m very confident that everyone’s input will be solicited and respected and part of the process,” Solenski said in an interview with The Cavalier Daily.
Solenski said she anticipates an easy transition.
“It’s such a terrific position in the sense that there are so many positive things at the University,” Solenski said. “[Sullivan’s] really laid the ground for a really rich environment for someone to step into.”
The Board hopes the president-elect will start August 2018, though the date could be earlier depending on the outcome of the search, Solenski said.
“The transition would include her introducing the new president-elect to donors and the legislative process at that point,” Solenski said. “The bicentennial will be in 2019, so that person will be well prepared to lead that and a bigger campaign for the University’s third century will follow.”
In the unlikely event a replacement is not found by August 2018, Sullivan’s contract currently provides a possible extension through May 2019, Solenski said.
Solenski expressed confidence in finding a president that will continue Sullivan’s legacy.
“We as faculty have always respected how inclusive she’s been to the faculty and as an advocate,” Solenski said. “We are sure that our next president will do the same, not only for the faculty but for the students … I’m very confident that this next chapter in U.Va.’s history will be a good one.”