New president Dr. Teresa A. Sullivan will have many challenges to face as soon as she takes over at the University of Virginia. From state budget cuts to leading a multi-billion dollar fundraising effort, Sullivan will certainly have her hands full from day one.
With the latest budget cuts, UVA could possibly have lost more than $51 million in two years. From faculty to the board of visitors, people involved in hiring Sullivan say they are beyond confident that she is the right person to lead the university past the increasing challenges.
Faculty Senate Chairwoman Ann Hamric says UVA is positioned well for Sullivan to do some great things.
"Virginia is a very outstanding premier public university so there's a base of strength," she said. "And I think her creativity, her experience, and her knowledge base, I just think the sky is the limit."
To meet the challenge of decreased state funding, creating a new financial model for the University of Virginia is a top priority when Sullivan takes over in August.
"One of the things that is really very extraordinary about her is she's already faced similar challenges at Michigan," Hamric added.
Board of Visitor's Member Syd Dorsey says UVA's challenges are Sullivan's strengths.
"She sort of has Leonard Sandridge qualities," he said. "So she's very astute in the financial arena. And to structure a university going forward, all of her experience has been in public institutions, so she understands what that means."
Recruiting and retaining top faculty is another priority. In her interviews, Sullivan said now is the time to hire them away from other schools, especially private schools that can not afford raises right now.
"Certainly as provost, being the chief academic officer for five years at UM, she has a wealth of connections that will be helpful in that as well," said Dorsey.
Of course a big focus will have to be in the classrooms.
"We also have real challenges on the research side, in terms of what you need to have in place to be successful," said Hamric.
There was some concern throughout the whole process that all the meetings and forums for student, faculty, and community input would not be taken seriously. Ann Hamric says that input was absolutely critical to deciding what the search committee looked for, and who they got.