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Transylvania president to resign at the end of 2013-14 academic year

Amid controversy with faculty

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 17, 2013) — R. Owen Williams will step down as president of Transylvania University after the 2013-14 academic year, Chairman of the Board of Trustees William T. Young Jr. announced Monday afternoon in a meeting with faculty and staff.

President Owen Williams, at right during his inauguration, came to Transylvania in August 2010. (Photo by The Rambler, Transy's student-run newspaper)
President Owen Williams, at right during his inauguration, came to Transylvania in August 2010. (Photo by The Rambler, Transy’s student-run newspaper)

“The Board of Trustees fully supports Dr. Williams’ decision to continue to lead Transylvania University through the upcoming school year,” Young said. “It is with regret that we accept his resignation.”

Young said that a national search for Williams’ successor will be initiated later this year.

Faculty members last month took a vote of no confidence in Williams’ leadership; faculty leaders called for his resignation in early June.

Williams came to Transylvania in August 2010, after a national search to find a successor for Charles L. Shearer, who had served as president for 27 years.

During his tenure, Williams has led the development of an ambitious strategic plan, Transylvania 2020 — a comprehensive road map that encompasses enrollment growth, expansion of campus facilities and enhancements to academic and student life programs. He supported the development of an innovative August term for all new incoming students and expanded the size of campus by 20 percent.

Other initiatives under Williams’ leadership include equalizing faculty salaries along gender lines; increasing starting salaries for assistant professors; making pre-tenure sabbaticals available for faculty; increasing the number of faculty; adding an associate dean position; approving the addition of varsity lacrosse and equestrian teams and competitive dance/cheer teams; establishing new staff positions in diversity and inclusion, admissions and development; increasing emphasis on student retention; starting the Creative Intelligence Lectures Series and John Marshall Harlan Lecture Series;  and the planning and start of construction of a major new athletics complex on West Fourth Street.

Young also announced that Transylvania will hire an interim dean of the college to serve for the next two academic years, 2013-14 and 2014-15. A national search for a permanent dean of the college will be conducted after the new president is chosen.

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