June 26th, 2012 at 4:12 PM ^

It was called that, I think, because they don't work inside the college--they would visit it, make sure it's running properly, and set the college's overall policy.  The President and the deans would run the place day-to-day, but the visitors would show up once or twice a year and make the important long-term decisions.

Harvard has a "Board of Overseers," which has the same connotation of outside supervision.



June 26th, 2012 at 4:22 PM ^

I think this is basically right, except that UVA didn't have a president until the early 20th century. Until then, I believe governance was shared between the board of visitors and the faculty (the perceived violation of UVA's long tradition of faculty governance is one of many elements to this story).


June 26th, 2012 at 4:35 PM ^

Excellent point.  The idea of a University President would have been completely foreign in the 17th Century when Harvard and W&M were started.  Academic governance would have mainly been by the faculty assembly, and there were probably deans that performed variouos administrative tasks.



June 26th, 2012 at 9:47 PM ^

Appointed president of Harvard in 1640.

James Blair appointed first president of William and Mary at the establishment of its charter in 1693.

So no not completely foreign; you are 0-2 and thus unlikely to make the post-season at the rate you're going.


June 26th, 2012 at 4:36 PM ^

the rector (i.e., chairperson) of the BOV schemed with a wealthy donor or two and demanded her resignation without ever having a full vote of the board. they were freaking out about getting left behind in online education initiatives and other trends, but since that's obviously preposterous, they did it without any explanation whatsoever, and then got outed when the student paper FOIA'd their emails. they tried to cover their asses a couple of days later by having a PR firm craft a vague post-hoc list of 10 challenges they faced, but failed to say how sullivan had failed to address most of them. the vice rector stepped down, and the rector is up for reappointment on july 1st, but won't get reappointed if the governor has a brain. he probably doesn't. if he reappoints her, i'd be surprised if sullivan actually stays very long.


June 26th, 2012 at 8:28 PM ^

the entire board asked for her resignation, not just one or two of them. Also, she was hired under the understanding that financial changes, as well as online education, needed to be instituted. Then instead of moving aherad with this understanding she stalled, because she believed that she had made enough changes and was unconvinced about online education. The Board asked for her resignation, and in that process, and all the other days after that process, they were disfunctional and looked foolish. But they were right to let her go if she didn't move forward with changes that she was hired to help implement.


June 26th, 2012 at 9:19 PM ^

There was probably majority support to force her out before the shitstorm, but the full BOV was never consulted when the Rector asked for Sullivan's resignation.  At least three members did not find out until just before her resignation.  The Rector and Vice Rector talked to their fellow board members individually, and once they had the votes to force Sullivan out, the Rector asked for Sullivan's resignation.


June 26th, 2012 at 9:33 PM ^

Not true.  Dragas essentially gathered one vote at a time, and while she might well have gathered a majority that way, it's as likely as not that she did it by telling each of them individually that she already had plenty of support.  And three members of the board said they had never been consulted.  Whatever it was, it was definitely not unanimous.

She was hired with the understanding that financial changes needed to be made, yes.  She was not hired with the understanding that she would be instituting any kind of online learning.  And while Dragas claimed that the lack of a strategic plan was one of their issues with Sullivan, Sullivan has said she was explicitly told upon being hired not to do one. 


June 26th, 2012 at 9:50 PM ^

you've already been corrected twice, but with so much accurate reporting of what's been going on, i wonder where you got this stuff. i thought this was one instance where dysfunctional media hadn't created confusion about the facts.

Smash Lampjaw

June 26th, 2012 at 4:29 PM ^

contains her view of ways in which UVA cannot compete with universities like Michigan, being more of a liberal arts college, and a curriculum not well-suited to on-line courses.


June 26th, 2012 at 4:37 PM ^

i wonder what LSA is supposed to be. but i think the differences are that UVA intends to distinguish itself by focusing attention on undergraduate education, which involves actually being in the same room with small numbers of students rather than posting videos of your lectures online as if that were an effective way of educating people.