During a special meeting of the Michigan State University Board of Trustees this Monday, Teresa K. Woodruff was unanimously named interim president of the East Lansing university.
Her appointment will be effective upon the departure of President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. at a to-be-determined mutually agreed upon date.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this great institution at this moment in our shared history,” says Woodruff. “My focus will be on fostering a culture of trust, safety and open communication for all Spartans.”
Dianne Byrum, board chair, said Woodruff’s understanding of MSU and her strong connections to the academic and strategic missions of the institution make her the ideal leader to shepherd the institution through this period.
“Dr. Woodruff is well positioned to lead our institution at this time while providing inspirational leadership for the university and ensuring we continue on the path toward academic and research excellence,” says Byrum. “The board has full confidence in her ability to move our strategic plans forward and ensure a safe and inclusive campus for all Spartans.”
During Woodruff’s tenure as provost at Michigan State, she has successfully spearheaded improvements to the Title IX disciplinary process with unanimous and broad community support to ensure consistent and transparent disciplinary outcomes among faculty and academic staff.
She helped negotiate a fair contract for non-tenured faculty and established a strategic plan to catalyze MSU’s academic and research excellence and student success efforts. She also has built strong partnerships and relationships with state lawmakers, alumni, and the philanthropic community, leading to newly invigorated academic physical spaces on campus.
“The faculty thank the Board of Trustees for listening to the community and taking this stabilizing step today,” says Karen Kelly-Blake, faculty senate chairperson. “There is still much to be done, and we will continue advocating for faculty and holding the board and administration accountable with the expectation of transparency and clear communication. But today’s decision is a step in the right direction.”
Woodruff earned her doctorate in biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology from Northwestern University and holds a bachelor’s in zoology and chemistry from Olivet Nazarene University.