January 2015

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Happy New Year!  As we begin the 2015 Spring semester, I wanted to provide you with an update on the Provost search and convey some organizational changes approved by the Board of Trustees.

Last fall, I sent a message outlining Villanova's search for a Provost. This new position requires a visionary thinker who is dedicated to teaching and scholarly research. As the search progresses, I am working closely with the Committee, chaired by Nancy Sharts-Hopko, to identify candidates who most closely fit the University's ambitions. I am committed to ensuring open and transparent communication, and Nancy and I will continue to provide updates throughout the search.

As you know, the University will pursue doctoral research status in the next few years and continue to enhance its national stature. It therefore is essential that the University be well-positioned to address both the challenges and opportunities of the future. Accordingly at the December Board meeting, I recommended and the Trustees approved a new leadership structure for the University.

This new organizational structure will establish:

The position of Provost:  As previously communicated, this new academic leader will represent me or the University in my absence. The responsibilities of this position will be broadened to reflect not only Villanova's academic programs, but also to achieve educational alignment throughout the institution. To that end, the School of Law and the Office of Planning and Institutional Research will report to the Provost; an Office of Diversity and Inclusion will be established; and several academic centers that support the University's educational mission will come under the direction of the Office of the Provost. I will be working with the Vice Presidents and Deans to determine these strategic moves.

In addition, the Provost will form a strong working relationship with the offices of Student Life and Mission and Ministry to ensure greater collaboration and achievement in these important areas.

These responsibilities are being communicated to applicants for the position and the expectation is that the successful candidate will bring her/his own vision for how these areas are effectively aligned. More details will be communicated as the process moves forward.

The position of Executive Vice President: Ken Valosky has been appointed to this new position, which will oversee the University's financial and administrative operations at a highly-strategic level. As Villanova grows in both achievement and prominence, it is essential that the institution operates efficiently and effectively. This new position will provide critical oversight for administrative functions, ensure alignment with academic priorities, and develop strategies to leverage institutional resources. The responsibilities of this position also will include the administrative operations of the Department of Athletics and University Information Technologies. On broader conference and strategic issues, Vince Nicastro and Steve Fugale will continue to report to me.

Within this new structure and reflecting both their accomplishments and responsibilities with the Board of Trustees, Neil Horgan has been appointed Vice President for Finance and Bob Morro has been appointed Vice President for Facilities Management. Also reporting to Ken will be Chris Kovolski who will serve as Assistant Vice President for Government Relations and External Affairs.

An Executive Council: To ensure continued strategic, focused and streamlined oversight of the University, the Provost and Executive Vice President will join me as members of an Executive Council. This structure will provide critical leadership for the institution while enabling me to focus more heavily on strengthening Villanova's external reputation, development initiatives and overall global presence. The Executive Council will work directly with the President's Cabinet, which will continue to serve as my leadership advisory group.

The position of Senior Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Relations:  The Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change continues to progress and is currently two-thirds of the way toward its $600 million goal. The Campaign is critically important as we move forward with our ambitious plans for the University. To ensure its success—and establish a culture of philanthropy that will sustain Villanova for generations to come—Mike O'Neill has been promoted to Senior Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Relations. This reflects the importance and wide-ranging aspects of this area that, beyond the Campaign include fundraising for Villanova's colleges and schools, athletics and major programmatic and physical plant initiatives, as well as oversight for the operation of five regional advancement offices, the President's Advisory Council and the various Campaign, executive and alumni leadership groups.

The changes outlined above have been identified by the Board and me as critical and necessary to the University's future. As we work to enhance Villanova's national status and communicate our unique Augustinian identity more broadly, we must continually look at ways in which we can invest in unlocking the potential of the University. These key leadership positions reflect models that exist at other institutions, but have been developed to enhance the collaborative and cooperative governance that distinguishes Villanova University. 

I recognize that organizational change can be challenging. However, the Board of Trustees and I believe strongly that Villanova University must continue to evolve to ensure that it remains a premier institution of higher education and a destination for exceptional students, faculty and staff. These changes enable me to take full advantage of the University's talented leadership team and provide the necessary focus on the important strategic initiatives upon which we are embarking.



Fr. Peter Donohue, OSA