A Busy Time As Villanova Moves Forward - October 2009

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Our campus is busy with classes resuming after Fall Break and Homecoming taking place this weekend. Despite the damp forecast, I know that the thousands of alumni returning to campus will have a great time thanks to the hard work of many members of our community who are preparing for their arrival.

The fall is always a busy time at Villanova and this year is no exception. Our community continues to work together to help move the University forward despite this period of prolonged economic uncertainly. I am pleased to share the following updates on some important campus initiatives.

The University Staff Council

After nine months of planning and hard work, the University Staff Council (USC) has been officially launched at Villanova. The USC has three main areas as its focus: staff recognition, staff development, and community building. USC officers will maintain regular communication with my office and will share with me ideas, suggestions, and concerns identified by staff. This initiative is a critical way to provide a forum and voice for our staff throughout campus while fostering a sense of community and fellowship. I encourage the members of our staff to be fully engaged in this initiative – your active participation will contribute greatly to its success. More information about the USC can be found at its website.

The Strategic Plan

We continue to move forward with reviewing and refining the We continue to move forward with reviewing and refining the objectives outlined in our Strategic Plan. This plan is designed to provide a clear roadmap for us to follow as we seek to strengthen the educational experience that distinguishes Villanova, while also being flexible enough to allow us to meet changing needs and trends.

Last Fall, I held a series of Town Hall meetings to discuss the preliminary results of the strategic planning process. The past year has been filled with work, conversation, and collaboration which have resulted in some adjustments to our initial objectives. One such adjustment has been to focus more on strengthening our national reputation vs. positioning the University to enter the national rankings at a certain level.

Faculty:
I would like to invite the Faculty to attend one of two Town Hall meetings scheduled for early November. At the meeting, I will share with you more information about this and other adjustments, as well as our plans for how to move forward with the Strategic Plan. The first meeting will take place Thursday, November 5 at 3:30 p.m. in Driscoll Hall Room 132. The second meeting will take place Wednesday, November 11 at 3:30 p.m. in the Connelly Center Cinema. These meetings will also provide an opportunity for us to dialog about the search for a new Vice President for Academic Affairs. I would like your input on this process and look forward to speaking with you.

Staff:
I would like to invite the Staff to attend one of two Town Hall meetings scheduled for early November. At the meeting, I will share with you more information about this and other adjustments, as well as our plans for how to move forward with the Strategic Plan. The first meeting will take place Monday, November 9 at 11:00 a.m. in the Connelly Center Cinema. The second meeting will take place Wednesday, November 11 at 11:00 a.m. in the Connelly Center Cinema.

I hope your schedule will allow you to take part in this important, continuing conversation regarding Villanova’s future.

An Update on the Hiring Freeze

As you know, the University implemented a hiring freeze last spring for faculty and staff positions. This presented many challenges to departments throughout campus and I am proud of how our community came together to meet our needs during the economic crisis. We were able to avoid layoffs and meet our enrollment numbers for the Class of 2013. The continued period of economic uncertainty dictates that we maintain our commitment to prudent financial practices, yet we must balance that with our efforts to move the University forward.

To do that, I firmly believe that we must remain committed to our academic programs. Therefore, I sent an email to the faculty on Wednesday indicating that I would be lifting the hiring freeze for vacant faculty positions effective immediately. The process to conduct a comprehensive faculty search is quite lengthy and we need to begin now to have positions filled in time to prepare for the Fall 2010 semester. With regard to staff positions, the hiring freeze will continue for the remainder of this semester. We will reevaluate the policy at that time.

I appreciate your patience and sacrifice as we continue to find ways to advance the University in these challenging times.

The seasons may change but one thing that remains constant is your collective commitment to the University and its mission. Thank you for all that you do for Villanova.

Regards,

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