Remembering Another Year - December 2009

Dear Faculty and Staff,

The cold weather and a sparsely populated campus are sure signs that the Holiday Season is upon us. Before we take a break to enjoy time together with family and friends, I wanted to share with you a final update for the semester.

Annual Address to the University Senate

Two weeks ago, I delivered my Annual Address to the University Senate which provided an opportunity for me to share some reflections on our achievements and challenges over the past year. I encourage you to read or view the speech online at the Office of the President website.

We were fortunate to celebrate many accomplishments in 2009 at Villanova University. Whether it was through prominent rankings, published works, awards, championships, individual achievements or group successes, our community worked hard to advance the University and support its mission. And while there is clearly much to be proud of, we must remain committed to working together to address challenges and take advantage of opportunities. As we move forward into 2010, I look forward to collaborating with you to find ways to enhance the experience we offer our students and meet our potential as a community.

The Board of Trustees Approves The Strategic Plan

At its meeting last week, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the Villanova University Strategic Plan. The Plan represents more than a year of hard work from many members of our community under the leadership of Steve Fugale, vice president for Technology and chief information officer. Students, faculty, staff, administrators and trustees worked together to identify the goals and how best to provide a framework for our efforts to strengthen the educational experience that distinguishes Villanova.

Those of you who attended the Town Hall Meetings in November had a chance to hear about the Plan, how it has evolved, and how it will be implemented. It is built around five imperatives:

  • Realizing the Augustinian Vision: Academic Distinction
    Villanova will strengthen its undergraduate programs by means of a new Liberal Arts and Sciences core curriculum and curricular innovations in all the colleges, building on distinctive programs and centers of excellence in the colleges.
  • The Next Generation: A Diverse Intellectual Climate
    Villanova will increase the enrollment of high-achieving students by personalizing its recruitment efforts, improving financial aid, and placing an increased focus on diversity.
  • National Stature: Faculty Scholarship and Graduate Programs
    Villanova will continue the pursuit of excellence in graduate and professional education and in faculty scholarship, investing in programs that have a positive impact upon society in addition to enhancing Villanova's national reputation. The University will continue to track performance against national and competitive benchmarks.
  • The Value of Villanova: Sharing our Story
    Villanova will define and communicate its distinctive identity and value proposition, focusing on: academic excellence, strong community, service to others, personal attention, and platform for success.
  • The Villanova Endowment: Securing Our Future
    Villanova will more actively and aggressively engage the full University community in building the necessary financial resources and facilities to achieve its vision.

    More information about the Strategic Plan will be the centerpiece of a new Office of the President tab on the myNOVA portal. This tab currently is being developed and will be available early in 2010. In addition to the Strategic Plan, the tab will feature information about other key initiatives, including the Middle States Self-Study, targeted to faculty and staff.

An Update on the Hiring Freeze for Vacant Staff Positions

I continue to be very appreciative of your careful stewardship of the University's financial resources. The past year has presented significant challenges to every department as we have cut back on spending and made do with less. There has been a general willingness throughout campus to do what is necessary to help Villanova remain in good financial health which certainly reflects our spirit of community.

While there continues to be a measure of uncertainty about the extent of an economic recovery, we remain cautiously optimistic moving forward. Positive indications in the economy combined with strong enrollment and prudent financial practices across campus led to the lifting of the hiring freeze for open faculty positions earlier in the Fall. These positive indicators continue to be a source of encouragement. Therefore I am pleased to announce that, effective January 4, 2010, I will be lifting the hiring freeze for vacant staff positions.

It is important to note that this is not a complete lifting of the hiring freeze. Rather, we are allowing departments to fill vacant budgeted positions to address critical staffing needs. We are still committed to both ensuring that our University is operating effectively and efficiently and to moving forward in a careful and prudent manner during these challenging times.

Your contributions throughout the year contribute to the spirit of Truth, Unity and Love that defines the Villanova University Community. Best wishes to each of you and your families for a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday Season, and a New Year filled with peace and good health. 

Sincerely,

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Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., President