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UVa Professor Bill Wulf Resigns

By: Carter Johnson Email
By: Carter Johnson Email

Official Letter From Professor Bill Wulf
Dean and Interim President Zeithaml,

By this email I am submitting my resignation, effective immediately. I do not wish to be associated with an institution being as badly run as the current UVa. A BOV that so poorly understands UVa, and academic culture more generally, is going to make a lot more dumb decisions, so the University is headed for disaster, and I don't want to be any part of that. And, frankly, I think you should be ashamed to be party to this debacle!

Needless to say, I will not be teaching the course that I was scheduled to teach this Fall.

I urge my fellow faculty to join me. The BOV needs to understand that there are real and immediate consequences to their actions.

Since you probably don't know me from Adam, I've included below a very quick synopsis of my bio and that of my wife (included here since our experiences are shared ones).

My wife (Anita Jones) and I are in Computer Science and we both hold the title University

Professor -- the highest rank at UVa. Of the 3300 faculty at UVa, roughly 13 hold that title.

Between us we have had quite a varied career.

We were both academics at Carnegie Mellon and Uva.

We jointly founded and I was CEO of a high tech startup.

My wife was a Presidential Appointee as an Asst, Sec. of Defense in the 1st Clinton Admin. and oversaw science and technology in DoD. I was an Asst. Director of NSF, and oversaw the transition of the Internet from a government-only network to today's public one.

I was President of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for 11 years. The NAE is a private 501(c)(3), but was chartered by Congress to advise the government on issues of science and engineering. Being President was a full time job in DC and placed me at the nexus of science, engineering and public policy.

I am a member of the Academies of 8 foreign countries, and hold 5 honorary
doctorates.

We both have extensive board experience in both the non-profit and for-profit worlds;

three examples of the two dozen I could give: (1) my wife in currently on the Board of a $11+ billion dollar/yr enterprise, (2) I chair a non-profit Board focused on promoting international understanding , and (3) Anita served on MIT's Executive Committee (their version of the BOV).

In short we have extensive experience that spans academia, executive positions in the private sector, government, and board memberships. So we deeply understand the proper conduct of academic administration and the proper oversight of that administration by a board, In my opinion the BOV has perpetrated are the worst example of corporate governance I have ever seen.

To repeat_- I resign. I want no part of this ongoing fiasco.

Bill Wulf

Wm. A. Wulf
University Professor, Dept. of Computer Science University of Virginia, and
President Emeritus, National Academy of Engineering

June 19, 2012

The process leading up to the decision starting nine days ago when President Teresa Sullivan resigned has stirred up a strong response in the university community.

Professor Bill Wulf says the Board of Visitors has gone too far and continues to ignore the cries from the faculty. He says resigning is a direct result of their actions.

CBS19’s Carter Johnson had the chance to talk with Professor Wulf this afternoon and he said he’s sad and angry.

He has ties to the University dating back to 1963. He has the first PHD in Computer Science from UVa and has been teaching there since 1988.
In his resignation letter, he says he doesn’t want to be part of an institution being run as badly as UVa and one heading for disaster.
In one week, he’s lost all faith in the vision of the Board of Visitors.

“Well some of it is sadness, some of it is anger that they could so fundamentally violate the principles that UVa has makes me both sad and angry,” said Wulf.

Wulf said he had hope after the Faculty Senate meeting on Friday and hope after the protest on Monday, but the actions by the Board of Visitors instating an interim President with no input from the faculty was the final straw.

Wulf said to stay, he would have wanted to see members of the Board of Visitors resign and faculty put on the Board.

He said he fully intended on teaching next year and is passionate about the course, but he wants no part of the current actions at UVa and according to his e-mails he’s been receiving, he’s not the only one who feels that way.


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