Monday, June 18, 2012

Smelling Worse?

In the previous post I said that "as more information comes to light things smell worse."  That appears to have been a bit of an understatement.  In the past two week there have been quite a few developments.  Locals are well aware of them since the developments are hard to escape.
Every media outlet is following the happenings and all this is the talk of the town.  Far beyond the town actually.  Arguably among the premier state higher learning institutions in the nation none of this is good news for the Orange and Blue.  People care what happens and we are all anxious to find out exactly what will come of or from these events.

Beyond the "resignation" of President Teresa Sullivan, the tumult has claimed the Darden School  Foundation’s Board of Trustees Chairman who also resigned.  It has seen the Faculty Senate, Student Council and local legislators all weigh in with their disapproval and calls for more transparency.  The Board of Visitors has for the most part remained relatively quiet but is meeting today with the purpose of selecting an interim leader amidst tremendous controversy.

What the future holds will probably prove even more unexpected than what led us here in the first place.  As events unfold and more information comes to light, rest assured things are likely to smell even worse.  And that means bad things for the prestige, respect and strength of UVa.  I suppose it is fitting the capitals on the columns on the Rotunda that is undergoing restoration are shrouded in black.  It has endured fire before when it burned in 1895 but the scars from this firestorm might be harder to heal.

This article from the Daily Progress does the best job explaining all the details.

Lack of Confidence Vote by Faculty Senate

The Rotunda Defaced


  1. Seriously smelly. This is what we've been writing about for the last two years on this blog. It's going on in k-12 nationwide and it's clearly creeping into higher ed as well. I'm slightly surprised that such a high profile incident hit that world so quickly though.

    Transparency in education decision making has become an anachronism.

  2. "Sic Semper Dragas"

    Sullivan's remarks:

    Her comments about corporate style leadership seems to fall right in line with many concerns expressed among posts.

  3. About time you weighed in Turner. This is a real mess. I wonder what will be on the heels of all this but have to imagine that things will be tough for some time. In terms of money this has to unsettle a lot of potential donors. I expect more departures but hopefully something good will settle things down. Who would want to come into this mess? It will be a tough situation for sure. We'll see if the governor or anyone else wants to get their hands dirty. It is so bad I am having trouble making fun of it...

  4. I would strongly suggest reading the remarks from Sullivan above. Unfortunately, I'm not very optimistic that her words will resonant as well with the majority of the population when she calls our top-down corporate style leadership. It is a narrow-eyed (and maybe even narrow-minded) focus on outcomes with very little attention paid to process. If the end result meets the goal it is judged as good, efficient, and moral. Nevermind that good process leads to good outcomes. The remarks of some Board of Visitors supporters echo's this sentiment.

    The University and America itself is founded on the ideology that PEOPLE work out their problems under the sunshine of day in all of its messiness. This has never been the most efficient method of getting work done, but we are a nation of PEOPLE and whether an institution like UVA or the entire k12 public education system they are institutions of PEOPLE. People need leadership, but we did a pretty good job the last 200+ years with the ideal that leaders serve those whom they lead, not the other way around.

  5. I followed the events of the 12 hr BOV meeting on Twitter. 4 hours after their 15 min warning. Managed to find humor in the situation fron the folks posting updates. So all this criticism of business model approach and they named Dean of School of Commerce Professor of Free Enterprise, seems fitting.

    From UVA Website:
    "Dean Zeithaml specializes in the field of strategic management, with an emphasis on global and competitive strategy. He conducts research on international expansion strategies, knowledge-based sources of competitive advantage, corporate political activity, strategic decision making, the strategic role of the board of directors, the implementation of acquisition and diversification strategies, and organizational transformation. He focuses much of his research agenda on global firms, high-technology industries, the energy industry, and the health care industry."

    Famed Political Professor and analyst Larry Sabato had this to say..."This UVA Board will go down in history as the most unpopular in modern times--if not ever. Carl Zeithaml is an outstanding dean & leader...but anyone picked by this BOV will have a difficult time."