University of Vermont

Sullivan Launches Conversations with the President

Tom Sullivan
President Tom Sullivan. (Photo: Sally McCay)

President Tom Sullivan has inaugurated a new program this semester called Conversations with the President, a series of monthly conversations on specific topics with faculty, staff and students.

Two of the meetings have taken place, both with faculty: "Fostering Interdisciplinary Teaching and Research" and "Mentoring and Encouraging Faculty Development and Promotion." A third session, "Ways to Enhance Academic and Career Advising," with students, is scheduled for Monday, April 22. Sullivan plans to host a similar event for staff in late spring focusing on ways to enhance professional development opportunities and recognize and reward staff for their contributions to UVM.

Sullivan described the program as a way of institutionalizing the listening tour he embarked on in his first months at UVM in the summer and fall of 2012.

“I learned so much talking with people in the state and, especially, here at UVM that I wanted to make this outreach a permanent feature of my presidency,” he said. “The goal is to seek input from talented and engaged members of our community on some of the challenging issues we face and opportunities we can seize.”

The program also gives him the opportunity to provide information and background on efforts the administration is planning, Sullivan said, which he hoped participants would share with fellow faculty, students and staff. 

To date, faculty and students were chosen based on recommendations from deans.

“Participating in one of the conversations with the president provided a unique opportunity to hear perspectives of faculty from across campus,” said Michael Giangreco, a professor in the Department of Education and Center on Disability and Community in the College of Education and Social Services. “I appreciated President Sullivan taking the time to meet with faculty face-to-face in a small group, ask key questions, listen and share his own thoughts about strengthening UVM.”