Burlington, Vt. Judith Ramaley, a former Kansas University administrator, resigned Friday as president of the University of Vermont, ending two and a half years in office marked by controversy and deficits.
"The job of university president is both difficult and taxing, and it is clear to me that the time has come for me to pursue other opportunities," Ramaley said in a statement.
Ramaley resigned after receiving signals that the board of trustees had lost confidence in her. The University of Vermont has had four university presidents in the past 10 years.
Ramaley, 60, came to the Burlington campus in mid-1997 from Portland State University in Oregon, where she had been president and a professor of biology since 1990. She was the first female president of Portland State.
She served as executive vice chancellor at KU from 1987 to 1990. She also has served as chair of the American Council on Education's Commission on Women in Higher Education, and is a charter member of the National Science Foundation's advisory committee for the biological sciences.
Bruce Lisman, the chairman of the UVM board, said she "should be proud of what she has accomplished as president." Lisman said Ramaley built a foundation for the future direction of the university but "progress has been slow."
"We want to push the university along so that it remains competitive," he said.
"We thought we needed ... a different approach," he said.
Ramaley's resignation was announced after an executive session of the university's board. Lisman said he met with Ramaley on Monday and through discussions reached an amicable agreement for her departure.
Ramaley will remain as president until June 30 but will not perform the duties of the office. An acting president will be named soon, Lisman said.
"We will find leadership," Lisman said. "We will find people within who will do more."
"It is a hard time for the university and a hard time for President Ramaley," said Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.
He said the selection of the next president will be crucial for the state university.
"We have had four presidents in 10 years and that can't continue," Dean said. "The next president will make or break UVM."
The governor said the next president needs to "get the university on its feet financially and restore its academic promise, which has suffered."
The last 14 months have seen the unprecedented cancellation of men's hockey games midway through the team's 1999-2000 season after it was revealed that teammates had subjected freshman recruits to hazing and then lied about it during an investigation.
Ramaley's tenure also has been marked by budget tightening and faculty dissension, but improved relations between university and state officials.
Faculty and staff members launched a union drive and last week began circulating a petition of no confidence in Ramaley.
Union organizers in December turned over more than enough signed union cards to the Vermont Labor Relations Board to require a vote of the university's 685 faculty members.
A union vote is expected in the spring.