The forced resignation of University of Virginia President Terry Sullivan only two years into her tenure has felt like a major news story from the start for UVA alums like me. But what began as a local story about the university’s first female president beloved by students and faculty and forced out for opaque reasons by a board of visitors dominated by members of the state’s business community, quickly became a significant national story with multiple articles in the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Slate, and countless blogs.
The inscrutability of the board’s motives has at once been the central driver of interest in the story and given rise to a few conspiracy theories. However, I’ve found the story to be easier to understand in light of insights gleaned from a recent issue of Learning and Teaching in the Social Sciences (LATISS) on “Learning under Neoliberalism: Ethnographies of Governance in Higher Education“ (Subscription required). Continue reading