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President Sullivan outlines chancellor search process and confirms college leadership roles

The senior staff at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise will continue to lead the college as the search for a new chancellor gets underway, Teresa Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia said in a March 7 town hall meeting on campus.

The College at Wise has been operating under the leadership of its vice chancellors since Chancellor David J. Prior passed away last month. President Sullivan spoke with faculty, staff, students and the community about the search for the college’s eighth chancellor during the Wednesday meeting. She praised the campus and its community for supporting Chancellor Prior’s family through difficult times, and she said the rest of Virginia has noticed.

During the town hall meeting, President Sullivan outlined plans for the chancellor search and answered questions about the process and the college leadership. Sim Ewing, vice chancellor for finance and administration, will continue to manage operations of the college, and Provost Sanders Huguenin will be in charge of academic matters, she said. Senior staff will continue to carry out their duties as well. Leonard Sandridge, retired chief operating officer for the University, will serve as President Sullivan’s liaison to the College at Wise.

“Nobody will really replace David because David was unique,” she said.

The national search for a chancellor for the University’s only branch college will begin with the appointment of a 13-member committee, headed by UVa-Wise Board Chair Marcia Gilliam, and comprised of faculty, staff, students, a member of the University’s Board of Visitors, external constituents such as alumni or donors, and a parent of a UVa-Wise student. University Provost John Simon will serve as President Sullivan’s representative on the search committee.

Anyone can nominate a person to serve on the search committee by emailing suggestions at by March 16.

“We will look for an experienced leader and one who will fit in the community,” she said.

A professional firm will be hired to help conduct the search and support Chairman Gilliam and the committee when needed. The search committee will review applicants and conduct interviews at a site away from campus. President Sullivan said the search committee must treat the process in a confidential manner in order to not place a candidate’s current job in jeopardy. However, she said the process would be as transparent as possible.

Although the search is national, local candidates are welcome and nominations for potential candidates may be made to the search committee.

“I don’t have an idea in the back of my head at all about who this will be,” she said. “There is no predetermined candidate.”

A national search gives the College at Wise an opportunity to showcase the campus and its people, President Sullivan said. She predicted the search would yield good candidates because UVa-Wise is a top liberal arts college with a growing campus, a beautiful location and is surrounded by a vibrant community.

“There is a sense of unfinished business at Wise, and a sense that there are greater things to come,” she said.

As part of the search, the committee will present a small group of candidates to the UVa-Wise Board. The Board will recommend three unranked candidates to President Sullivan and she will make a recommendation to the Board of Visitors.