Ballman’s new position more like a sabbatical

Terry Ballman addresses students’ concerns after the resignation of Larry Snyder on Monday, April 1. The University Senate passed a vote of no confidence on Ballman on Thursday, April 4. 

Jeremy Chisenhall

Former Provost Terry Ballman’s position as special assistant to the president holds no real responsibilities, WKU President Timothy Caboni told the Herald on Friday. 

Ballman is serving in her this role after she resigned from the Provost position. Her resignation came after the faculty senate passed a vote of no confidence in her.

She does not have an office on campus, but she does make the same amount of money that she did as provost, which was $255,000, according to her appointment letter. 

“It is a one-year appointment with, essentially, no responsibilities,” Caboni said. “It’s a one-year severance package.”

The vote of no confidence in Ballman came after she forced Larry Snyder, the dean of Potter College of Arts and Letters, to resign. Snyder was later reinstated by Acting Provost Cheryl Stevens.

“That was an awful experience professionally for Provost Ballman, and one of the things that we do in higher education is we give her a chance to move on to the next thing,” Caboni said. “That’s what that position allows her to do, is to have … a landing spot, and an ability to move onto whatever’s next in the next year.”

Caboni said that he never wanted to step in and undermine the authority of Ballman as Snyder’s resignation unfolded, but he has learned that there are times he may need to step in. 

“If someone is getting ready to drive off a cliff, though, maybe I grab the wheel,” Caboni said. “In my professional career, that was probably some of the most painful and difficult days.”

Following Snyder’s resignation, Caboni told the Board of Regents it was important to remember that the provost had the power to make those personnel decisions and that the deans served at the pleasure of the provost. 

The vote of no confidence in Ballman showed the weight of the issue, and it was important to respond appropriately, Caboni said. 

“We responded appropriately — I think I responded appropriately to that,” he said. “The faculty senate was saying you need to address this immediately and we did. Within 18 hours we made a move.”

Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Chisenhall can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @JSChisenhall.