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U of M Provost Sullivan to return to faculty at end of 2011

February 3, 2011

University of Minnesota Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost E. Thomas Sullivan, will be stepping down from his position at the end of 2011, university officials announced today. Sullivan, who has held the position since July 2004, will be returning to the faculty of the Law School, where he’d previously served as dean.

“Serving as provost the past seven years has been a real privilege and pleasure,” said Sullivan, who is chief academic officer of the university’s Twin Cities campus. “We have transformed the academic profile of this university and all of our students, faculty and staff have reason to be proud. With President [Robert] Bruininks returning to the faculty this year, it’s a good time for me to do the same. I look forward to working with President-designate Kaler in this important transition time for the university.”

Bruininks added, “There is no one who has been a better partner in our work to improve the academic standing of the University of Minnesota than Tom Sullivan. From the historic strategic positioning work we undertook several years ago to the continued improvement in the graduation rates of our students, Tom has been a truly transformative leader for this institution. I’m deeply grateful for the central role he has played in my leadership team.”

Bruininks praised Sullivan’s wide range of accomplishments as senior vice president and provost, including:

  • the strategic positioning effort that consolidated colleges, enhanced interdisciplinarity and capitalized on new opportunities by creating new centers such as the Institute on the Environment and the university-wide Honors Program;
  • significant improvements in retention and graduation rates;
  • the best prepared incoming freshman classes in history;
  • record levels of applications for freshman admission; and
  • an overhaul of the University’s tenure code and academic freedom policies that were supported by faculty and the Board of Regents.

With Bruininks’ term as president ending on June 30, Sullivan has agreed to continue in his role as provost for the first six months of President-designate Eric W. Kaler’s term as president, to assist the president-designate in his transition.

“I have the greatest respect for the work Tom Sullivan has done as the university’s chief academic officer,” said Kaler. “He and I have gotten to know each other well, and I respect his decision to return to the faculty. I am very grateful for his willingness to stay on during my transition time. I look forward to building on the work he and President Bruininks have done as the U moves forward.”

Kaler added that he intends to conduct a national search for Sullivan’s successor.

Tom Sullivan FAO 300
University of Minnesota Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost E. Thomas Sullivan will be stepping down from his position at the end of 2011, university officials announced.

Twin Cities Campus: