Date: Jun 11, 2012
To: Division of Student Affairs
From: Patricia M. Lampkin, Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer
Re: Recent announcement
I recognize that you may have many questions following yesterday’s announcement about Teresa Sullivan’s departure as president on August 15. While this news was a surprise to all of us, and it understandably evokes some unsettling emotions, I want to assure you that it does not alter our own course in Student Affairs or the substance of what we do – and have consistently done very well.
In the time that I have known President Sullivan, I have come to respect her both as a person and as my supervisor. I view her as a person of great integrity and kindness. I have admired her ability to connect with our students in various ways and take a genuine interest in their lives.
Yesterday’s statement from the Board of Visitors summarizes the reasons for a change of leadership at this time, so I will not repeat those reasons here. While it may be tempting to speculate that other, unspoken factors prompted this decision, such is not the case. No specific event or misstep has precipitated her departure. As she herself was quoted in the announcement, she and the Board have a “philosophical difference of opinion.” Following an assessment that the University was moving too slowly toward needed change, the Board decided to act swiftly instead of waiting for more time to pass.
As of today, I have begun reporting to John Simon, executive vice president and provost, and Michael Strine, executive vice president and chief operating officer. Reporting to both of them is temporary until further decisions can be made about an interim president or a more permanent reporting relationship. An interim president is expected to be named and in place no later than August 15 so that he or she will be ready to greet students when they arrive to begin the new academic year.
In a little more than three weeks, on July 5, we will welcome our newest students and their parents to Grounds for Summer Orientation. Despite this major news at a higher University level, nothing has changed as far as our basic mission of helping students enter this community on a smooth note and ensuring that their time here – a fleeting four years or even less – embodies the best possible student experience.
While the landscape of higher education may be changing and we should always be seeking innovative means of serving students and parents, I truly believe that our touchstone is the best student experience of any university in the world. As we live our core values – honor and integrity, student self-governance, and service chief among them – and as we bring new students into this special community, our work continues to be guided by a timeless quality. The change in University leadership does pose challenges, but it also represents a new opportunity to move into the future with a secure grounding in what we do best.
In closing, I want to emphasize my confidence in the University and what it stands for, my confidence in you and your ability to meet the needs of students, and my firm belief that we are well-positioned for the future. I am grateful for all you do, and I look forward to working alongside you as we shape priorities for Student Affairs and meet any new challenges that come our way.
If you do have questions, I hope you will feel free to contact me.
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Last Modified: Friday, 15-Jun-2012 16:30:47 EDT
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