May 21, 2014

Dear Faculty and Staff:

In September, during my Opening Address to the Villanova Community, I talked about the "next big thing" for Villanova.  We cannot sit still. This means smart, strategic forward momentum. It also means allocating our resources effectively, and anticipating what's next and being ready to embrace it. As educators, we prepare and encourage our students to become agents of change in society. We, ourselves, cannot shy away from new advances.

As I often say, I am committed to growth in ways that are uniquely Villanovan, holding firm to our University's unwavering commitment to undergraduate education. I know the rest of the University‚Äôs leadership feels the same. However, developing higher levels of research is a critical component of our Augustinian mission and to our future as a thriving academic institution.   

In September, I spoke with you about Villanova evolving into a "Doctoral/Research" university, as defined by the Carnegie Classification. This initiative will elevate the University's national stature and ensure the interdependence of teaching, research and scholarship on our campus. We believe that Villanova can be an example in higher education of how producing the highest levels of scholarly research can intersect with and strengthen an exceptional undergraduate experience. In the next several weeks, I will share with you a document detailing what this change means for Villanova and the careful work that has been done by members of our community to make sure this is the right next step.

As part of this process of exploring how Villanova will evolve and thrive into the future, I have also asked for the Cabinet and Deans to assess their own areas (programs, functions and/or services). They will provide perspective on what each is doing well, identifying areas for enhancement, ensuring that we are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible, and checking that all activities are strategically aligned.

The Cabinet and Deans will be reaching out for assistance and input with this process, and I thank you in advance for your thoughtful feedback. They will be working on this assessment over the next few months and will provide their feedback directly to me. As this process progresses, we will share updates as appropriate.

This is an exciting time for Villanova. We have a visionary strategic plan. We have a bold comprehensive capital campaign. We are charting a course that will allow Villanova's distinctive intellectual community to thrive for the next generations.

We need to chart our destiny, not be controlled by it. Together we are doing that work. There is no person or group that I trust more than our own community to make the best decisions for the future of Villanova and expanding our Augustinian intellectual tradition.



Fr. Peter Donohue, OSA