ASHLAND, Ore. — Southern Oregon University is looking for a new president. Mary Cullinan announced Monday she is leaving to head Eastern Washington University.
The news comes amid what has been a tough past few months for the school. Cullinan says, after a long tenure, it was time for her to go.
“I’ve been here for eight years, which is considerably longer than most university presidents,” said Cullinan.
Over the past few months the school has endured cuts across the board thanks to its retrenchment plan. Meanwhile lack of state funding has forced them to rely on tuition for 80% of their revenue. And graduation rates among students hovers around a third.
The issues have led to what faculty describe as a communication breakdown with administration, and, to some extent, Cullinan.
“I think she’s come through a very challenging time, the university has been pressed from all sides,” said Dennis Slattery, an Associate Professor of Business at SOU.
The faculty recently voted no-confidence on two members of the administration. Cullinan barely avoided the necessary majority in that vote. Slattery says he holds Cullinan in high regard despite the challenges with administration, but feels new leadership is needed.
“I’m happy to see her have the opportunity to take the reigns at another university, and i’m looking forward to a change in administration here,” said Slattery.
Cullinan will begin her new job at Eastern Washington University on August 1. Meanwhile the chancellor of the Oregon University System will select a nominee for an interim president for SOU. That interim president will have to be approved by the state Board of Higher Education before entering office on July 1.