Dr. Anne Leavitt has resigned from her position as president, only 11 months after taking the job.
She told the Board of Governors last week, and her resignation became effective today. That’s when the university emailed faculty with the news.
Vice-president Kim Kierans is Leavitt’s temporary replacement.
Both Kierans and Leavitt had left for the day when the story broke Wednesday afternoon and were unavailable by phone.
Dr. John Hamm, the chair of the Board of Governors, could not say why Leavitt chose to resign, but he says the school already is at work to find a solution. The Board of Governors has struck a committee to search for an interim president, who will serve for two years.
Nick Stark, the president of the King’s Student Union, has been asked to sit on the committee. He says the committee already has met once, and will meet again this Friday.
Stark says the group will “try to choose the candidate who is the best fit for King’s.”
The email sent to faculty said the candidates should be committed to “excellence in scholarship” and the “experience for students,” while also being able to tackle the financial issues at King’s. These would include, according to the email, fundraising for the President’s Lodge, the Wardroom and the Pit, and dealing with “external fiscal challenges.”
“In sum, we seek someone who can mobilize our community and allow King’s to realize its great potential more fully,” reads the email.
“Being president of the university is not an easy job,” said Hamm in an interview, noting again the multiple challenges, “Not the least of which is some financial issues.”
Leavitt leaves at a time when the university administration already is short staffed. Gerry Smith, the bursar, whose position is the equivalent to vice-president of finance in other universities, went on administrative leave this spring after being charged with sexual assault.
Hamm also said Kierans is leaving on vacation next week for about a month.
The school is prepared, he said, to manage. Jim Fitzpatrick, the former managing account at Dalhousie University, helped to do the year-end accounts for King’s, and he is stepping in as the interim internal controller on July 1. Hamm also confirmed that the budget has been approved.
The search committee is requesting that suggestions for possible presidential candidates be submitted by tomorrow afternoon.
There has been no word of whether Leavitt will maintain her position as an associate professor of humanities at King’s.