Ballman Stepping Down as WKU Provost, One Day After 'No Confidence' Vote
The embattled Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Western Kentucky University has announced she is stepping down from the posts, effective immediately.
Terry Ballman said in an email to faculty and staff Friday morning that she will serve as Assistant to the President for Special Initiatives until August of 2020, and then assume a tenured, full professorship in the Department of Modern Languages.
Her announcement comes one day after the University Senate, which represents faculty, issued a vote of “no confidence” in Ballman.
“Serving as your Provost has been both an honor and a privilege, and I am proud of the things we have accomplished this year,” Ballman said in her message.
“I remain confident in the future of WKU. This is a remarkable, student-centered institution, and our students will continue to enjoy the transformative educational opportunities that are a hallmark of the WKU experience.”
Many faculty members who spoke before Thursday’s vote by the University Senate talked about what they believed was a lack of trust between Ballman and the faculty, with many also upset over what has been widely perceived as the forced resignation of the Dean of the Potter College of Arts and Letters, Larry Snyder.
In a separate email to faculty and staff Friday morning, WKU President Timothy Caboni said the University Senate resolution of no confidence in Provost Ballman “is a powerful statement and one that I take very seriously.”
“The Provost and I have discussed how to proceed, and she has agreed that it is in WKU’s best interest that she step down from her role, effective immediately,” Caboni said.
Caboni also announced Cheryl Stevens, Dean of the Ogden College of Science and Engineering, is now serving as acting Provost.
Associate Dean Greg Arbuckle will serve as Ogden’s Interim Dean while Stevens fills the Provost’s role.
Caboni acknowledged in his message to faculty and staff that work must be done to repair campus relationships that have been damaged since Ballman became Provost on Aug. 1, 2018. She succeeded the retiring David Lee, and came to Bowling Green after serving as the Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at California State University, San Bernardino.
Claus Ernst, the school's faculty regent and a professor of mathematics, said he had mixed feelings about Ballman's resignation.
“On the one side, the positive side, it shows that the voice of the faculty was heard, and we got an immediate result. On the other side, it shows that we have some sort of institutional failure. We do not want to hire a provost and dismiss this person within a year’s time," Ernst said. "It shows that either this was a bad hire, or we didn’t mentor her. This is not a positive thing for a university.”
Neither Caboni or Ballman were made available for media interviews Friday.
WKU Provost Terry Ballman sent an email to faculty and staff Friday morning saying she is stepping down as the school's Provost and VP for Academic Affairs.
The move comes one day after the University Senate passed a resolution of no confidence in Ballman.
The statement in full:
After discussing with President Caboni what would be in WKU’s best interest, I have made the difficult decision to step down as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, effective immediately. I will be serving as Assistant to the President for Special Initiatives until August 30, 2020, after which I will assume regular, full time faculty status as a tenured, full Professor in the Department of Modern Languages.
Serving as your Provost has been both an honor and a privilege, and I am proud of the things we have accomplished this year.
I remain confident in the future of WKU. This is a remarkable, student-centered institution, and our students will continue to enjoy the transformative educational opportunities that are a hallmark of the WKU experience.
Thank you again for the opportunity to serve the Hilltopper family.