Introducing Jean Ann Linney, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - May 25, 2011

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

I am extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Jean Ann Linney, Ph.D., as the Dean of the Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Dr. Linney will join the University in August, prior to the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic year. This important appointment is the culmination of a rigorous national search superbly conducted by the majority-faculty search committee and chaired by Rev. Kail C. Ellis, O.S.A., Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs. I am grateful to the members of the search committee for their excellent work on behalf of the University and for their successful efforts to recruit Dr. Linney.

Dr. Linney brings to Villanova the wealth of administrative experience that we sought, as well as both visionary and operational strengths. She currently is Professor of Psychology, Professor of Sociology, and Director of Women’s Studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). At UAB, she served as Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and was responsible for integrating the School of Arts and Humanities, School of Education, School of Natural Science and Mathematics, and School of Social and Behavioral Sciences into a new College of Arts and Sciences—incorporating 20 departments, 350+ faculty, 50+ undergraduate and 20+ graduate degree programs serving 6,500 students, and an annual budget of $75 million. Dr. Linney had previously been the Dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Prior to her service at UAB, Dr. Linney served in administrative roles at both the University of Notre Dame and the University of South Carolina. At Notre Dame, she was an officer of the University. As Vice President and Associate Provost for Faculty and Academic Governance, her responsibilities included tenure and promotion as well as faculty development initiatives across the full breadth of the university’s colleges and schools. At South Carolina, she was Chair of the Department of Psychology, with its 35 full-time tenure track faculty, 10 research faculty, 900 undergraduate majors, and 100 doctoral students. Before becoming Chair, Dr. Linney was Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Faculty Development in the College of Liberal Arts, where her responsibilities included working with 26 academic units on strategic planning, faculty support programs, and review and evaluation of academic units.

Dr. Linney has a deep commitment to service and to the value of Villanova’s mission. Hallmarks of her career have been her commitment to diversity, to mentoring, and to finding meaningful avenues for interdisciplinary collaboration.

In addition to her administrative gifts, Dr. Linney also draws upon years of experience as an award-winning teacher and scholar committed to both undergraduate and graduate education. Her teaching and research focused in the areas of community psychology, prevention science, and the promotion of mental health. She has published three books, and her writings on preventive interventions with children and adolescents, environmental assessment, race relations, and the effects of selected social policies on child mental health and well-being have appeared in more than 60 publications. Dr. Linney earned her bachelor's degree from Hobart and William Smith College and her master's and doctoral degrees in Psychology from the University of Illinois.

Our aspirations for the search were high – our collective goal was to attract a dean with the capacity to help the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences reach the exciting and ambitious future that we envision, and to maintain and strengthen the College’s Catholic and Augustinian identity. In recruiting the next dean, the search committee sought to engage in dialogue with those who had significant experience serving in academic leadership roles at other excellent institutions. The search committee did an outstanding job in attracting and engaging an exceptional group of candidates for this position. Given the assurance of full confidentiality, the search committee was able to engage candidates from around the country. The confidential process served Villanova very well, allowing us to have a superb slate of finalists that included sitting deans who would not have participated in the search process had it not been confidential.

Dr. Linney was unanimously selected, and I am very pleased that she has agreed to join the Villanova community. Please join me in welcoming our new Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and in thanking the search committee members for their excellent service.


Fr. Peter Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D.