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A Focus on the Whole Person

With its commitment to academics, research and community service, the College of Nursing continues to bolster teaching, inspire state-of- the-art nursing research, and support regional and international community-based health care service programs.

Health care and higher education are undergoing incredible transitions, creating challenges for institutions and governments. However, in times of uncertainty and challenge, there exist opportunities to respond and thrive. Villanova  University  College of  Nursing will continue to play a crucial role in health care education on campus and  beyond—locally,  across  the  nation  and  around  the  world.

With its commitment to academics, research and community service, the College continues to bolster teaching, inspire state-of- the-art nursing research, and support regional and international community-based health care service programs. Moreover, the College has earned the respect of the profession and is viewed with distinction as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing.

“We aren’t just educating nurses at Villanova; we are educating the whole person,” says Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor of Nursing M. Louise Fitzpatrick, EdD, RN, FAAN. “We are commit- ted to educating the minds and hearts of nursing students who are deeply ethical and compassionate, shaped by the liberal arts and the Augustinian   vision.”

During her nearly four-decade tenure, Dean Fitzpatrick has led the College’s expansion of its undergraduate curriculum and, in 1980, the creation of master’s degree and continuing education programs. With more than  900  enrolled  undergraduate and graduate students today, the College of Nursing includes such high-profile offerings as the Master of Science in Nursing for  advanced  practice  nurses,  a  Doctor  of  Nursing  Practice  and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing degree, and Continuing Education courses.

“Our PhD program is clearly focused on preparing outstanding teacher-scholars who can help alleviate the national nursing short- age,” says Associate Dean and Professor Lesley A. Perry, PhD, RN.


Successive generations of Villanova nurses are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to adapt to a changing world, one in which nurses will work less often in  acute  care  settings  and  increasingly  in  community-based ambulatory centers and in home care as primary care providers. This requires flexibility and expertise to balance high tech with “high touch” care.

Dean Fitzpatrick, her leadership team and the faculty advance Villanova nurses as health care advocates in the community and around the world. This focus on global education has been supported by a  portion  of  a  $4  million  Connelly  Foundation  endowment, which annually offers dozens of nursing students the opportunity to learn and practice nursing  in  such  locations  as  Native  American reservations, Ireland, Poland, Japan, Panama, Nicaragua, the Dominican  Republic, Peru, South Africa   and Ghana.

Global education is a two-way street at Villanova, as the College has cultivated long-standing relationships that bring international students from Africa, China and the Middle East to Villanova for study. More than 20 years ago, students from the Sultanate of Oman first began their bachelor’s and master’s degree studies in the College. In the years since, they have become health care leaders in their country.

Closer to home, nursing faculty and students dedicate themselves to serving local communities, including the Unity Clinic project. Based in Philadelphia, this free health care clinic for the uninsured was founded by the Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor in 2006, and is staffed by Villanova nursing alumni and professors, who frequently are assisted by their students. These experiences provide students with the opportunity to care for those who are marginalized, gain valuable insight into primary care settings and work with patients for whom English is likely a second language.


Since the enrollment of the first women full-time students in 1953, the College has continued to break new ground, growing in reputation and stature. Over the course of 62 years, it has developed programs that position it as a powerhouse in the academic and health care fields, and that respond to demonstrated opportunities in nursing education.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Program, created in 2003, was developed with a special focus on the preparation of nursing faculty for the future. The same year, the accelerated bachelor’s degree program was started. It is designed for students who have earned a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in another field and adds academic flexibility to the curriculum for adult learners planning a transition into a nursing career.  June 2012 saw the launch of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, which gives nurses with master’s degrees in advanced practice and administration of health care services the opportunity to study health policy and trends, and to develop leadership acumen and strategies for innovative models of health care delivery.

The College serves as an intellectual epicenter for important nursing-focused   initiatives   that   strengthen research, enhance global and public health, and promote obesity education. To focus on  these  important  areas,  the  College  has  founded  three  corresponding centers: the Center for Nursing Research, the Center for Global  and  Public  Health,  and  the  MacDonald  Center  for  Obesity Prevention  and  Education.  Each incorporates scholarly endeavors, multidisciplinary partnerships and a community-minded approach. To help it achieve its long-term goals, the College has received unprecedented levels of support through For the Greater Great®: The Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change.  Robert ’51 VSB and Diane Moritz have endowed the College’s first faculty chair, which supports nursing research. Most recently, Richard J. Kreider ’83 VSB, retired director in Business Operations at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co., and Marianne, his wife, designated a gift to establish The Richard and Marianne Kreider Endowed Professorship in the Nursing of Vulnerable  Populations.

Richard was an inaugural member of the College of Nursing’s Board of Consultors and served as its chairperson.  The Board of Consultors advises the dean, and provides an external perspective on matters that affect the nursing profession, the College and its strategic direction. Members of the board include College and University alumni, parents, and leaders in nursing, health care and business.

The strength of the College’s education, grounded in the Augustinian intellectual tradition, empowers Villanova nurses to make an impact as researchers, administrators and leaders—at the bedside, in boardrooms and at universities. Among these many outstanding professionals are CEOs, chief operating and chief nursing officers, university presidents, deans, endowed chairs and high-ranking military     officers.

The abilities and leadership of these and other alumni show that, no matter how health care evolves, the education offered in the College of Nursing prepares Villanova nurses to meet any challenge. “The College of Nursing and its alumni are well-positioned to make significant contributions to the future of health care,” Dean Fitzpatrick says.

From Villanova Magazine