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Updated 11:00 AM January 9, 2006



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UT's Sullivan selected as U-M provost

Teresa A. Sullivan, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs of the University of Texas System, has been selected as U-M provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

Sullivan (Photo courtesy University of Texas)

Her appointment, announced Jan. 3 by President Mary Sue Coleman, was made in review and discussion with the Compensation and Personnel Committee of the Board of Regents. It will be effective June 1, pending approval by the board.

Sullivan was chosen after an eight-month national search. The provost is the chief academic and budgetary officer, and is responsible for sustaining and enhancing the University's academic excellence in teaching, research and creative endeavors. She will oversee the activities of 19 schools and colleges as well as numerous interdisciplinary institutes and centers.

"I am extremely pleased that Terry Sullivan will be joining the University and the administration," Coleman said. "The search advisory committee did an outstanding job in recruiting a large and superb pool of candidates from which she emerged as the clear choice for this important position. Dr. Sullivan is a fine scholar, an outstanding educator and an accomplished administrator with a keen ability to nurture academic excellence and identify and develop strategic opportunities."

Sullivan also will hold a tenured faculty position as professor of sociology. She has distinguished herself as an outstanding scholar in labor force demographics, with a particular focus on economic marginality and consumer debt. At the University of Texas at Austin she holds appointments as professor of sociology and professor and Cox & Smith Inc. faculty fellow in law. She received her bachelor of arts degree from James Madison College at Michigan State University (MSU) in 1970 and her doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1975.

"It is an honor to join the University of Michigan and its excellent administrative team," Sullivan said. "I am excited to get to know this great University and its faculty, staff and students in depth. I am looking forward to working with President Coleman, the vice presidents, deans and others in helping move U-M into a bright future."

Terrence J. McDonald, dean of LSA and professor of history, said, "We are delighted to add this distinguished sociologist to the faculty of LSA and the whole University will benefit from her broad and deep administrative experience."

A specialist in the demographic aspects of economic status, Sullivan has authored or co-authored six books, including "The Social Organization of Work" (2002), which is in its third edition and is considered by many the leading textbook on the sociology of work. She has carried out groundbreaking research on consumer debt and bankruptcy, and her work in that field has been recognized with the Silver Gavel Award of the American Bar Association. Sullivan has received three major awards at Texas for her undergraduate teaching, and she regularly teaches a first-year undergraduate course titled, "Credit Cards, Debt, and American Society."

Sullivan has served in many administrative positions at the University of Texas at Austin, including director of the Women's Studies Program and chair of the Department of Sociology. In 1995, she was named vice president and dean of the Graduate School. During her tenure, the school introduced new programs in neuroscience, biomedical engineering, and the commercialization of science and technology. It also was consistently among the leaders in production of Hispanic and African American doctorate degrees, despite changes required by the Hopwood decision. In 2000, the Graduate School was given the Award for Innovation in Graduate Education by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.

Sullivan was named to her current post in 2002, serving as the chief academic officer for the system and overseeing its nine academic campuses. Her accomplishments include developing new tuition-setting procedures following deregulation of tuition by the Texas legislature; reviewing and nurturing research across the system, with a 7.7 percent increase in system research expenditures during her tenure; developing significant, innovative collaborations between the academic and health system campuses; and implementing a system-wide, coordinated planning process involving the system office and the individual academic campuses.

Sullivan is past secretary of the American Sociological Association, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and past chair of the U.S. Census Advisory Committee. Following the 1990 and 2000 censuses, she served on advisory boards to the Secretary of Commerce on the accuracy of the census count. In 2004, she was awarded the Distinguished Alumna Award of James Madison College at MSU.

"It was a very thorough search and we contacted hundreds of people across the country. Dr. Sullivan emerged as a unanimous selection and we were confident in recommending her highly to President Coleman," said James S. Jackson, professor of psychology, director of the Institute for Social Research and chair of the provost search advisory committee.

"There is a large number of challenges facing American higher education and the University. We feel that because of Dr. Sullivan's vast experience and successes in the University of Texas System, she will bring a level of knowledge and understanding to the position that bodes well for the future of U-M," Jackson said.

Sullivan will be joined at U-M by her husband, Douglas Laycock, who has accepted a faculty position at the Law School. Laycock, a nationally renowned legal scholar and constitutional litigation specialist, is considered one of the foremost national experts on the religion clauses contained in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that establish the principles of religious liberty and the separation of church and state. Laycock testifies frequently before Congress on the topic and has argued many appeals, including significant cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Laycock also is considered the nation's leading authority on legal remedies—the actions ordered by courts to address legal wrongdoing, such as damage payments, restitution and injunctions.

Sullivan succeeds Paul N. Courant, professor of economics and of public policy, who served as provost for three years before stepping down in August 2004 to return to teaching and research. Edward M. Gramlich, the Richard A. Musgrave Collegiate Professor in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, has agreed to continue serving as interim provost until May 31. From June 1-Aug. 1, he will serve as an adviser to the president and to the new provost during her transition.

"I am deeply appreciative of Ned Gramlich's service during this transition," Coleman said.

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