It is hard to believe that the spring semester has nearly reached the mid-term point. Thoughts of snow days are quickly turning into thoughts of a Spring Break full of rest, relaxation, or service for many; catching up for faculty and staff; and for seniors, that graduation looms ever closer.
Our community has been busy throughout the early part of 2008 and signs of activity are everywhere. I’m pleased to share with you the following updates:
As you know, we have been in the process of developing a Campus Master Plan to evaluate many aspects of our campus and assess current and future needs for space. The Master Plan committees—composed of faculty, students, and staff—reviewed several interim reports, and based on feedback, Venturi, Scott Brown has been moving forward. Now that we have initial feedback from committee members, we want to reach out to ensure that the entire campus community has an opportunity to look at the reports and share input. We have created a dedicated web site, which includes an overview of the process, organizational chart, list of Master Plan committee members, the reports from Venturi, Scott Brown to date, and a place for comments/feedback. Please visit the Master Plan information and share your thoughts.
The Mission and Identity Committee was created as a result of the Senior Administrative Retreat held last year and is composed of administrators, staff, and faculty. I have asked the Committee to review the University’s Mission Statement and present ideas for how it can be reshaped to more clearly communicate the key aspects of this important part of our identity. It is important to note that our Mission itself is not changing – just the way it is presented. I believe that adding clarity to our mission will provide the entire community with a valuable, living resource as we work together to move Villanova forward.
At its meeting on Tuesday, February 12, the University Board of Trustees approved the budget for fiscal year 2009. The budget was prepared and submitted by the Administrative Budget Committee and endorsed by the University Senate. The salary pool for faculty and staff is 3.5%. As the result of an initiative developed by Academic Affairs, faculty salaries will by supplemented by $1.9 million over a three year period in order to enhance their competitiveness. Similarly, staff salaries will be increased by an additional $1.3 million over two years as a result of the staff compensation study. The budget also provides funding in support of the outcomes of the campus master planning process and for the development of a University strategic plan and benefits review.
I am pleased to report that progress is being made in the searches for a new Vice President for University Advancement (VPUA) and an Associate Vice President for Human Resources (AVPHR). Search firms have been contracted to assist the University with finding exceptional candidates for these key positions. Several VPUA candidates have come to campus to meet with a committee comprised of Deans, Vice Presidents, and other campus representatives. The committee has spoken with the candidates about the University, our plans for the future, and the great opportunities that exist to unite alumni, parents and friends in support of our goals. We anticipate the search process to conclude prior to the end of the semester.
The AVPHR search process is also moving forward. The search firm has interviewed and identified several qualified candidates for this newly established position. The search committee is chaired by Ken Valosky, Vice President for Administration and Finance, and includes Dr. Lyn DeSilets, Assistant Dean in the College of Nursing and Chair of the University Benefits Committee; Tim Dietzler, Director of Dining Services; Dottie Malloy, Vice President and General Counsel; Bob Morro, Executive Director of Facilities Management; Diane Mozzone, Program Coordinator for Political Science; and Dr. Terry Nance, Assistant Vice President for Multicultural Affairs. It is anticipated that the position will be filled by the end of the fiscal year.
The University was recently informed that its AlcoholEdu Team has been chosen as a recipient of the 2007-2008 Prevention Excellence Award in the College/University category. The award is sponsored by Outside the Classroom, the developer of AlcholEdu for colleges, and recognizes institutions that have excelled in their prevention efforts and have significantly influenced the quality of student life. An innovator in this area, Villanova was the first college to require all first-year students to complete this program. The Villanova AlcoholEdu team is led by Stacy Andes, Director of Health Promotion, and includes Paul Pugh, Dean of Students; Amy Morgan, Associate Director of Academic Support; and Joyce Minogue, Health Promotion Assistant. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the team for their efforts to develop, implement, and sustain comprehensive alcohol prevention and education at Villanova.
On January 29, Villanova University hosted a breakfast for more than twenty officials from Radnor Township, Lower Merion Township, and Delaware County. The breakfast, which we hope becomes an annual event, provided us with an opportunity to speak directly to these important community representatives about Villanova, its programs and partnerships, and the University’s impact upon the region. The response to this event has been very favorable and we hope that it is just one way that Villanova can maintain an ongoing, open dialog with its friends and neighbors.
I look forward to keeping you updated on these and other initiatives throughout the semester. Best wishes to you all for a rejuvenating Spring Break.