Dear Faculty and Staff:
Welcome back! Whether you were working, traveling, performing service or something else, I hope you had a productive break. I am pleased to share with you the following information as we begin the second part of the spring semester.
Update on Tuition Exchange
As you know, Villanova participates in the Tuition Exchange Scholarship Program. The program provides eligible Villanova dependents with the opportunity to apply for tuition scholarships at participating institutions. Similarly, our University awards scholarships to eligible dependents of participating institutions.
This past fall I was advised by the Human Resources Department that Villanova’s future participation in the program potentially was in jeopardy. This situation, referred to as being placed on “alert status”, was the result of more Villanova dependents being awarded scholarships than those from other institutions attending our University. The Human Resources department provided many options to consider, none of which were without considerable cost. Given the significance and importance of this decision, I asked Ray Duffy, director of Benefits and Wellness, to seek feedback from the University community on the options presented. Ray worked collaboratively with both the Committee on Faculty and University Staff Council to present information and solicit input from throughout our community. I thank Ray for his efforts on this matter.
Your feedback has been clear: Villanova should focus on remaining a participant in the Tuition Exchange Scholarship Program. We will do just that.
I have instructed both Human Resources and Enrollment Management to undertake all necessary measures to increase the number of applicants from participating institutions who enroll at Villanova. This does not come without cost as we have decided to make it more financially attractive for these prospective students to attend our University. We hope these measures will result in being removed from “alert status” but it is not a guarantee that we will remain in the program as it is not solely up to Villanova.
I am also sensitive to the concern that those attending Villanova as part of this program not receive a benefit of greater value than our own Villanova dependents attending the University. Accordingly, I have instructed Human Resources to increase the Tuition Remission benefit to 85% for spouses and dependents of employees hired August 30, 1999 or later, effective for academic year 2012-2013.
Summer Hours for Employees
While it is only the middle of March, the warm temperatures already have many of us thinking of summer. To help our employees and departments plan, I am pleased to announce that Summer Hours again will be offered this year. Full-time staff employees will have the opportunity for early dismissal at 12 p.m. each Friday beginning May 25 and concluding August 10.
Final discretion regarding time-off for departments that have 24/7 operations will be handled by each department. Please remember that in all cases, the needs of our students and internal and external communities must continue to be served in an exemplary fashion.
Summer Hours are an important component of the University’s commitment to helping employees maintain a work/life balance. I recognize that many departments on campus will not be able to follow this policy exactly as outlined, especially those with 24/7 operations or those with heavy workloads during the summer months. In these cases, my expectation is that department managers will find a way to support the spirit of this policy by identifying other appropriate opportunities for their employees to achieve the work/life balance intended by the Summer Hours.
I encourage you to visit the Summer Hours policy posted on the Human Resources website for additional information and for a list of the Fridays included in this year’s schedule. Please contact your supervisor or the Human Resources Department should you have any questions.
Key Items From Fiscal Year 2013 Budget
At its February 14, 2012 meeting, the Villanova University Board of Trustees approved the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) budget which includes an increase of 4% for tuition, room and board. The budget also includes a 7.5% increase in institution-funded undergraduate financial assistance. Villanova now provides nearly $80 million in undergraduate financial assistance, an increase of more than $17 million over the past three years. I invite you to read a letter recently sent to parents of students for more information about the increases to tuition, room and board and financial assistance.
The FY13 budget establishes as salary pool for merit based raises at 3%. The budget also contains an additional allocation of $1 million to increase faculty salaries based upon the results of the recently completed faculty compensation study. An additional $1 million adjustment is planned for FY14 for a total adjustment of $2 million as a result of the study.
In addition to the salary increases noted above, the budget includes an allocation of $620,000 toward the instructional budget in support of an initiative to increase the number of full-time faculty by 36 over a four-year period (FY13 is the final year of the four-year period), an allocation of $1.4 million in support of other college-based strategic initiatives, and an allocation of $500,000 to support increased staffing in the Development Office as part of the University’s strategic plan.
A Reminder Regarding Wellness Program Enhancements
Through our partnership with LiveHealthier, the Villanova wellness program has been enhanced to include a new wellness portal and various other support tools created to empower faculty and staff to make positive health choices. All benefit eligible full time faculty and staff currently have the opportunity to receive a $300 annual medical premium incentive by completing a personal health assessment and health screening before March 23, 2012. Further details can be found on the Wellness Events section of the HR website. I encourage you to participate and work together to become a healthier community.
Disaster Drill Scheduled On Campus
Villanova University will conduct a full scale disaster drill exercise on Saturday, March 24, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Conducted in cooperation with local emergency responders and hospitals, the drill will simulate a mass casualty incident in The Pavilion. The exercise will allow emergency responders throughout the area to practice their skills in a simulated mass casualty scenario. It will also serve as a way to test the University’s emergency response procedures in a large scale incident.
While this is only a drill, please be advised that there will be a significant amount of activity in and around The Pavilion during this time. You will receive additional communication and reminders as the event draws near. In the meantime, more information can be found on the Public Safety website.
I typically close these messages by thanking you for all that you do. Yet, those are more than just words. I firmly believe that it is your commitment to our students, our Augustinian values and our academic mission that makes Villanova so distinguished and well respected among the nation's colleges and universities.
Many of the items in the message are directly related to supporting you, the faculty and staff. We are fortunate to attract wonderful people to serve and support our students, and want to make sure we are doing all that we can to provide you with a fulfilling, rewarding and balanced employment experience. So, once again, thank you for all that you do for Villanova!
Fr. Peter Donohue, O.S.A.