After meeting for the first time with the University’s next provost yesterday afternoon, members of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs, the executive arm of the faculty senate, seemed impressed.
Teresa Sullivan was appointed to be University’s second most powerful position in January. This was the first time she’s had to face SACUA, which is known for its detailed questioning of guests.
Sullivan, who is moving near campus permanently in June, said she isn’t plotting any “revolutionary plans” for when she takes over as provost, and wants to take some time this fall to learn about the University.
She was dressed in a black coat and dark gray cotton shirt, with a brushed metal pendant the size of a silver dollar around her neck.
Currently the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Texas system, Sullivan called herself a naturalized Texan – she wasn’t born there, but has been living in Texas for the past 25 years – in a mild Southern accent.
She also mentioned she is a fan of women’s basketball.
During the meeting, members of SACUA and other University officials discussed several issues facing the University, including the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.
Sullivan cited two reasons why she thinks diversity in higher education would suffer if Michigan voters ban affirmative action programs in November.
First, some minority students might stop applying. Second, those minorities who receive offers of admission might refuse to enroll for fear that they might encounter a hostile environment.
The administration will obey whatever the law is, but “we want a diverse student body,” she said.
Sullivan also said she doesn’t think the 10-percent rule – the Texas law that grants admission to any public universities for high school students who are in the top 10 percent of their class – would work in Michigan because the two states are geographically and demographically dissimilar.