Leadership & Governance

UVa Extends President Sullivan's Contract After Rocky Summer

November 09, 2012

Teresa A. Sullivan, who was forced to resign and was then reinstated as the University of Virginia's president this past summer, was granted a one-year contract extension by the Board of Visitors on Friday.

The amended contract, which was approved by a unanimous vote, extends Ms. Sullivan's term through July 31, 2016.

The agreement does not increase the president's total compensation, which is $665,000.

A resolution passed by the board on Friday makes notable changes in Ms. Sullivan's evaluation process. A group of board committee chairs will now meet with Ms. Sullivan on a quarterly basis to review her progress in meeting the board's expectations.

The change in the evaluation process is significant because Ms. Sullivan said she had been blindsided when she learned the board was unsatisfied with her performance this summer.

The new evaluation process suggests that a broader range of board members will be involved in regularly assessing the president's effectiveness. That too is notable because Ms. Sullivan's ouster was widely perceived to have been orchestrated by a lone board member, Helen E. Dragas, the board's rector. Ms. Dragas quietly gathered support for Ms. Sullivan's removal outside of public meetings, according to a former board member with knowledge of the events.

Ms. Dragas, who joined in the vote to reinstate Ms. Sullivan after enduring weeks of intense public criticism, emphasized on Friday the need for teamwork in moving the university forward.

"There are no silver bullets," Ms. Dragas said, "but this extension is a clear indication of our commitment to our working partnership with Ms. Sullivan."

Raymond D. Cotton, Ms. Sullivan's lawyer, declined to comment on the contract extension on Friday.