End of Year Update

Spring has arrived at Villanova. Thanks to our Grounds and Facilities staffs, the campus looks beautiful. We are fortunate to have such a lovely setting in which to learn, teach and work – and a community which takes pride in the campus’ beauty.

We are quickly approaching the end of the school year. This semester was a busy one, marked by high-profile visitors, national distinction for many of our academic programs and colleges, another record class of freshman applicants and visible progress in our building projects.

As finals, senior week and commencement approach, I am grateful for the opportunity to share with you a few specific highlights from around campus:

Michael J. O’Neill Named Vice President for University Advancement at Villanova University

I am pleased to announce that Michael J. O’Neill will be the Vice President for University Advancement at Villanova University. Mike brings to Villanova nearly 20 years of experience in fundraising, alumni relations, communications and marketing.

Mike will join Villanova after serving four and a half years as Associate Vice President for Development and University Relations at Fordham University, his alma mater. At Fordham, Mike has worked closely with the President, Vice President, administrators and trustees to strengthen Advancement operations, improve communication and outreach to alumni, increase annual gifts and commitments, and plan and implement a $500 million capital campaign, which has currently raised nearly $200 million.

Prior to Fordham, Mike served as Senior Director of Development, Mid-Atlantic Region for The American Ireland Fund where his fundraising and outreach responsibilities included the greater Philadelphia region. Mike’s career also includes roles in Development, Alumni Relations and Athletic Media Relations at Long Island Children’s Museum, Saint Peter’s College, Marist College and a previous stint at Fordham.

Mike is active with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and enjoys providing periodic fundraising counsel to nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions including City University of London, The Irish Arts Center, Trinity College (Dublin) Foundation and Social Ventures Australia. Mike received both his M.B.A. in Communications and Media Management and Bachelor of Arts in English from Fordham University.

Mike has demonstrated a passion and enthusiasm for this position, for Villanova, and for our Catholic, Augustinian and educational mission. I am confident that he is the right person to work collaboratively with me, the trustees, faculty, staff and our alumni to advance Villanova University. Mike will join the Villanova community on Monday, June 30 and his office will be located in Picotte Hall at Dundale. He can be contacted there at extension 9-7926 or at mike.oneill@villanova.edu.

I wish to thank the staff, deans, administrators and trustees who served on the search committee and especially Chris Kovolski who oversaw the entire five month process. I know you will join me in welcoming Mike O’Neill and his family into the Villanova community.

Dr. Ellen LaCorte Named Associate Vice President for Human Resources

I also would like to announce Dr. Ellen LaCorte as Villanova University’s Associate Vice President for Human Resources. As was previously announced in a reorganization of Administration and Finance by Ken Valosky, Vice President for Administration and Finance, this position was created to acknowledge the strategic importance of Human Resources. In addition to providing direction and oversight of the department, Ellen will serve as the University’s Chief HR Officer providing counsel to the President and the President’s Cabinet. Training will also be moved to this department to further highlight the importance of professional staff and strategic organizational development as vital human resources functions.

Ellen joins us with nearly twenty years of human resources experience in higher education, having served for the past eleven years as the Director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action Officer at Rider University. In that role, Ellen was responsible for the administration of all human resources strategies, programs and processes. Ellen’s prior experience also includes eight years as the Manager of Employee Services for the Maricopa Community College District, the second largest community college district in the nation. Earlier in her career, Ellen also held human resources positions with Wendy’s International and the Dayton-Hudson Corporation.

Ellen earned both a Doctorate of Education in Higher and Adult Education Administration and Master of Arts in English Literature from Arizona State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education from Rider University. Ellen will begin her duties at Villanova on Monday, June 30. Her office will be located at Huebner Hall where she can be contacted by phone at extension 9-4237 and by email at ellen.lacorte@villanova.edu. Ellen will be a visible presence on campus as she learns more about the University, its mission, and the people that make it such a special place. I encourage you to introduce yourself to Ellen and welcome her to the Villanova community.

Mary Burke and Jim Kane, Associate Directors of Human Resources, have graciously agreed to jointly lead the department until Ellen arrives. I appreciate the continued commitment and dedication to the University by Mary, Jim and the entire Human Resources department.

I would like to thank the search committee and all those involved in the recruitment process. The search committee was chaired by Ken Valosky and included Lyn DeSilets, Assistant Dean in the College of Nursing and Chair of the University Benefits Committee; Tim Dietzler, Director of Dining Services; Dottie Malloy, Vice President and General Counsel; Bob Morro, Executive Director of Facilities Management; Diane Mozzone, Program Coordinator for Political Science; and Terry Nance, Assistant Vice President for Multicultural Affairs.

University-wide Strategic Planning Process Update

With the recent conclusion of a successful capital campaign, the Campus Master Plan moving forward and the Academic Strategic Plan concluding in 2010, the timing is right to undertake a University-wide Strategic Planning Process. Through this process, we will develop a strategic plan that supports Villanova, its community and its mission.

As I reported in the fall, I charged a group of faculty, staff and administrators with recommending a consulting firm to assist us in developing a strategic plan which will guide Villanova over the next five years, from 2009 to 2014. I am pleased to report that, after a thorough review of a number of outstanding firms, McKinsey & Company has been retained to work with Villanova on this important initiative.

McKinsey, an international management consulting firm, was selected based upon its strategic planning expertise and higher education experience which includes consulting engagements with more than 80 colleges and universities. These include the University of Chicago, Columbia, Dartmouth and upper-tier Catholic institutions such as Georgetown.

McKinsey officially began their work at Villanova on April 9. They recently held a meeting with the Strategic Planning Steering Committee to further identify issues and establish next steps which will include more than 50 on-campus interviews over the next four weeks. The timeline is to have this plan completed and approved by December 2008.

The Strategic Planning Steering Committee includes:
Kathy Byrnes, Associate Vice President for Student Life;
Rev. Joseph Farrell, O.S.A., Office of Mission Effectiveness; Steve Fugale, Chief Information Officer; Matthew Liberatore, the John F. Connelly Endowed Chair in Management, Villanova School of Business; Adele Lindenmeyr, Professor of History; Steve Merritt, Dean of Enrollment Management; Terry Nance, Assistant Vice President for Multicultural Affairs; Nancy Sharts Hopko, Professor and Director of the Doctoral Program, College of Nursing; Jim Trainer, Director of Institutional Research; Ken Valosky, Vice President for Administration and Finance; Randy Weinstein, Professor and Chair, Department of Chemical Engineering; and Craig Wheeland, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Staff Compensation Review Update

Sibson Consulting and the Human Resources department are moving into the final stages of the staff compensation review project. In March, Sibson and HR met with the Cabinet and me to present the recommended compensation program design, to discuss how jobs will be assigned within each division and to make any necessary modifications to finalize the program. I am pleased with the work completed to date. Sibson and HR have also met with University Communication to plan for sharing the details of the new compensation program.

We continue to be on track to roll-out the program over the summer. Please look for more detailed information in the May edition of Blueprints.

Faculty/Staff Commuting and Travel Survey to Support the Presidents’ Climate Commitment

As you may recall, I joined last fall with more than 400 of my colleagues to sign the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. While many efforts are already in place here at Villanova, the first official step is to develop a Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GGE) Inventory. This information will form the basis for the climate-neutrality plan that will be developed during the second year of the commitment.

A key component in accurately determining the GGE inventory is to calculate the number of miles traveled by Villanova faculty and staff while commuting to work, as well as assessing travel within and outside of campus for business purposes.

A survey has been developed by the University committee appointed to oversee this Climate Commitment.The survey is intended to help each employee summarize their specific commuting and travel information. It should only take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete and the results will provide the committee with the critical information necessary to finalize Villanova’s GGE inventory.

I encourage everyone to take the time to complete this survey no later than May 9. It complements sustainability initiatives being implemented throughout campus and is a necessary component of our efforts to satisfy our commitment to become a climate-neutral campus.

Announcing Campus Currents – A New Way to Share Information with Faculty and Staff

A new and improved way to share campus event information, news and academic notes with faculty and staff has been developed. Beginning after Commencement, instead of sending individual e-mails to the faculty and staff lists, we will implement a new daily “newswire” e-mail—called Campus Currents—as an internal communication vehicle to organize and circulate our campus news. Campus Currents will be similar to the students’ Wildcat Newswire, which has been very successful. Once Campus Currents is in place, faculty and staff will be able to submit campus events and announcements easily through a link on the Villanova homepage. Campus Currents will be sent out once a day, Monday through Friday, with the submitted events and announcements organized by category for the greatest readability.

I know there has been concern over the number of e-mails we all are receiving each day. Campus Currents will not only reduce e-mail clutter but will also provide a clearer and more concise way to keep us informed about all that is happening on our dynamic campus. Complete information regarding Campus Currents will be shared in the coming weeks. University Communication will be overseeing this new system and offering support during the transition. I hope you will find Campus Currents to be a real benefit to how we share campus news and event information.

As a reminder, the Campus Master Plan process is still ongoing. I encourage each of you to participate by reading the reports and sharing your comments about this important initiative that will help shape Villanova’s future. Information about the Campus Master Plan and copies of the reports can be found at the Campus Master Plan Website.

As we end another academic year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your tireless efforts on behalf of the University. Your commitment to who we are and what we do creates a special Villanova experience for each of our students.

Best wishes and continue to enjoy the beautiful weather,

image of president's signature
Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., President