Teresa A. Sullivan is the University of Virginia’s eighth president. Since taking office in 2010, she has led UVa through a period of significant progress. In fall 2012, she launched a planning effort to provide a road-map for the University’s future, while gathering input from 10,000 alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and others. This effort produced a new strategic plan for the University, the Cornerstone Plan. Early successes from the new plan include an endowed Data Science Institute, a major in Global Studies, and a minor in Entrepreneurship. The University has overhauled its academic advising, and piloted the Meriwether Lewis Institute for Citizen Leadership. Under President Sullivan’s leadership, the University has developed a new financial model to ensure stability and transparency, launched a substantial program in Organizational Excellence, and created a program to expand the full-time faculty in multidisciplinary clusters.
President Sullivan has assembled a highly effective leadership team, led by executive vice president and provost Tom Katsouleas, executive vice president and chief operating officer Pat Hogan, executive vice president for health affairs Dr. Rick Shannon, senior vice president for university advancement Bob Sweeney, and a group of experienced deans, vice presidents, and staff. Working with her team, President Sullivan has prepared UVa to tackle the serious challenges in higher education related to cost-containment, affordability, student-debt reduction, faculty compensation, and the emergence of online education. UVa now has ongoing efforts, at both the unit and pan-University levels, to reduce costs, improve processes, and enhance efficiency, while protecting the quality of the academic enterprise. In 2013, President Sullivan proposed an aggressive plan to improve faculty compensation after many years of stagnation in faculty salaries. Under her leadership, faculty and staff have been encouraged to experiment strategically with new technologies. UVa’s Applied Research Institute has extended the University’s research capacity to include new partners. The renovated and energized Licensing and Ventures Group assists faculty, staff, and students in protecting and enhancing their intellectual property.
In spring 2013, President Sullivan led the University to completion of its $3-billion capital campaign, and quickly announced plans to raise financial support for three strategic priorities: retaining and recruiting top faculty, restoring the University’s Jeffersonian Grounds, and providing needy students with scholarships.
President Sullivan is leading preparations for the celebration of the University’s bicentennial beginning in October 2017. As part of this effort, she launched the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University to explore and report on UVa’s historical relationship with slavery.
President Sullivan is a respected scholar in labor force demography. The author or coauthor of six books and many scholarly articles, her most recent research has focused on measuring productivity in higher education.
President Sullivan is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She serves as Chair of the Council of Presidents for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges; Chair of the Council of Presidents of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities; Co-Chair of the National Research Council's Committee on Improving Higher Education's Responsiveness to Regional STEM Workforce Needs; and as a member of the Advisory Board for the Northern Virginia Technology Council, the trade association of the technology industry in Northern Virginia. She is a member of the executive committee of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council and of the Business Higher Education Forum. In 2013, the Governor appointed her to the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority.
President Sullivan came to UVa from the University of Michigan, where she was provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. Prior to her work at Michigan, Ms. Sullivan was executive vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University of Texas System and a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin.
She is a graduate of Michigan State University’s James Madison College, and earned her doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Chicago. She is married to Douglas Laycock, the Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professor of Law at UVa. They have two adult sons.
Last Updated: October 28, 2015