Villanova University Appoints Christine Kelleher Palus, PhD, Dean of the College of Professional Studies

Villanova University Appoints Christine Kelleher Palus, PhD, Dean of the College of Professional Studies

VILLANOVA, Pa.— Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, today announced the appointment of Christine Kelleher Palus, PhD, as Dean of the College of Professional Studies, effective immediately.  

“Dr. Palus is an impressive scholar who brings extensive experience in program development and teaching and learning to her role as dean of the College of Professional Studies,” said Father Donohue. “She is passionate about the College delivering an academically challenging and transformative experience for students that can enrich lives, enhance value in the workplace and allow the pursuit of new careers.”

Dr. Palus becomes the second dean of the College of Professional Studies, created in 2014 to enhance the University’s long-standing tradition of service to adult learners, which dates back more than 100 years. In her new role, she will serve as the chief administrator of the College, leading its strategic and academic planning and faculty engagement; strengthening the student experience; providing financial oversight; and overseeing fundraising and alumni relations. Dr. Palus’ proven track record in building high-quality academic programs and creating opportunities for innovation and creativity will be integral to the College’s future success.

“Dr. Palus is a true teacher-scholar who is committed to the mission and values of Villanova,” said University Provost Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD. “She is a strong advocate for the adult learners who come to Villanova and bring a richness and diversity to the University community. Throughout her career, Dr. Palus has demonstrated a deep commitment to ensuring that our academic offerings are distinct and attract high-quality students at all stages of their lives and careers.”

“The College of Professional Studies occupies a very special place in Villanova’s history and tradition, as well as its future,” said Dr. Palus. “Our adult students in CPS are highly motivated and intensely inspiring. They bring a deep passion for education, as well as exceptional professional experiences, to our academic community. I am overjoyed, honored and humbled by this appointment.”

Dr. Palus currently serves as dean of Graduate Studies in Villanova’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences—the University’s largest college—where she is responsible for the strategic and operational directives for current and future graduate programs. She has guided the launch of new programs and spearheaded numerous initiatives related to online and blended learning.  An accomplished scholar, Dr. Palus’ research on public administration and management, state and local politics, urban politics and women in politics has been widely published in leading academic journals and other publications.

Dr. Palus holds the rank of associate professor in the Department of Public Administration, which she chaired for several years while also directing Villanova’s nationally accredited master’s program in Public Administration.

Under her leadership, the Public Administration graduate program increased its enrollment, introduced a highly regarded certificate in Non-Profit Management and launched an online version of the MPA degree.

A member of the Villanova faculty since 2006, Dr. Palus earned her BA at Fairfield University, where she double-majored in Visual and Performing Arts (Music) and Politics. She earned her MA and PhD in Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Notably, Dr. Palus (with co-author Susan Webb Yackee, PhD) won the Beryl Radin award from the Public Management Research Association for Best Article published in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory during 2016.  This award is one of the highest honors in the field of public management.  

About the College of Professional Studies: CPS provides academically rigorous undergraduate degree completion and non-degree programming—both on campus and online—for the adult learner and working professional. CPS continues Villanova’s long-standing tradition of service to adult learners and expands the breadth of academic offerings by providing more options and flexibility through undergraduate degree completion, non-credit certificates, post-baccalaureate certificates and online degrees.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit