April 30, 2014


Dear Faculty and Staff:

I am pleased to announce the creation of a new College at Villanova: the College of Professional Studies (CPS). This new College will provide academically rigorous undergraduate degree and non-degree programming for the adult learner. CPS will design innovative new programs—both on campus and online—that will expand Villanova's breadth of academic offerings and provide even greater options and flexibility to better serve adult learners.

This initiative is the result of an inclusive University process to explore options to better serve the changing needs of the unique adult student population. In 2012, in response to the rapidly changing landscape of higher education, the Office of Academic Affairs held two forums on online programs and established a Task Force on the Online Undergraduate Degree for Adult Part Time Students. When the Task Force issued its report in August 2013, among its recommendations was "exploring the creation of a College or School of Professional Studies or Continuing Studies." This led to further research—including examination of similar initiatives by universities on a par with Villanova—and a detailed proposal recommending the creation of a College of Professional Studies. The Academic Policy Committee of the University Senate and the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees reviewed this proposal before its final approval by the Board of Trustees.

CPS answers the evolving needs of adult part-time students in the changing landscape of higher education. The first new College at the University in 50 years, the mission of CPS is to mount relevant and far-reaching degree and non-degree programs that reflect Villanova's standard of excellence, take advantage of its rich resources, adapt to new educational technologies and changing demographics, and produce positive educational outcomes that cater to the needs and career goals of adult learners. The new College will also house and continue to advance the programs of Villanova’s Part-Time and Continuing Studies area.

CPS continues a 95-year Villanova tradition of service to adult students, including working professionals—at first through part-time studies programs, then through a separate academic entity, University College, and then through an academic division under the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Following a national search, a new Academic Dean will be appointed to lead Villanova's College of Professional Studies. The resources to establish the College already exist in the current Division of Part-Time and Continuing Studies. The new College will follow existing University policies, such as those found in the Faculty Handbook.

The creation of the College of Professional Studies is an exciting initiative for Villanova University and part of the University's Strategic Plan to maintain Villanova as a strong, vibrant and competitive institution well into the future. Additional information on the establishment of the College of Professional Studies will be forthcoming from the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

I extend my appreciation to the members of the Task Force, the staff of the Division of Part Time and Continuing Studies, the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Deans for their assistance and input throughout this process.

Sincerely,


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Fr. Peter Donohue, OSA
President