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Provost's Newsletter 2018

A Message from the Provost banner

March 2018


Dear Colleagues:

For the past several months, our University community has been engaged in a strategic planning process to identify Villanova’s next set of goals and aspirations. As we look toward the future, it’s also important to reflect on the successes—big and small—that brought us to where we are today.

To that end, I am pleased to share the following update that highlights a few examples of accomplishments across Villanova’s academic enterprise this past fall. Each day, Villanovans are providing and creating value on campus and beyond. It’s that value, grounded in Augustinian tradition, that makes Villanova unique and propels us into our next great chapter.

Please join me in celebrating this sampling of the many wonderful things happening at our University—and the many achievements not listed here.

As always, thank you for your own personal dedication and the contributions you make toward creating a University community of which we can all be proud.  


Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD



  • The Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest hosted two public discussions: “Fake News and Fake History: A Crisis of Authority,” a public discussion of “fake news” in historical perspective and “Endless War: When Violence Becomes Normal,” a public discussion of a world in a constant state of conflict. Both discussions featured prominent academics and historians from local universities, as well as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Marimow and US Marine Corps Lt. Col. Guy Berry.
  • CLAS students are proving that food can be grown on Mars. Under the guidance of Edward Guinan, PhD and Scott Engle, PhD, professors in the department of Astrophysics and Planetary Science, students in an astrobiology course researched the feasibility of growing sustainable food sources in sheltered greenhouses on the Red Planet.
  • Samantha Chapman, PhD, associate professor of Biology, received a 3-year, $552,632 grant from the National Science Foundation and James Matthew Wilson, PhD, associate professor, Humanities, recently earned the Hiett Prize in the Humanities.
  • Harris Corporation donated $1.25 million to the College of Engineering to fund the Villanova Summer Innovation Incubator, which will be renamed the Harris Summer Innovation Program. The program exposes students to advanced real-world engineering challenges and fosters innovation and an entrepreneurial approach to problem solving. It encourages an open environment for self-directed teams of students to work on solutions to major engineering challenges.
  • Relationships with Central and South American universities are increasing global recognition for the University and the College of Engineering. Recent visits from leaders of Nicaragua’s Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería (UNI), the country’s premier college of engineering, and ESPOL, Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral in Ecuador, have encouraged research collaboration as well as advanced degrees from Villanova for junior faculty at these institutions.
  • Hosted the 11th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing & Ambient Intelligence. More than 70 engineers, computer scientists and students from academia and research came together from 16 countries to discuss a new generation of user-centered computing environments and systems that offers better integration of information technology in everyday devices and activities.
  • Research conducted by faculty and a former doctoral student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has been featured in at least a half-dozen recent industry publications. Findings from a study of the performance of corrugated, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe containing recycled HDPE resin in commuter rail installations have been deemed an important step in validating its use.
  • 17 Villanova students were joined by 15 others from Temple University, Jefferson University and University of New Haven for Villanova’s annual 24-Hour Imagination Quest. Combining elements of Shark Tank, the Amazing Race and The Apprentice into one 24-hour-long competition, 24-HR IQ challenges student teams to develop an idea for improving life on campus, taking it from the research and evaluation stage through to prototype and presentation. Cash prizes are presented to the top three teams.
  • Villanova School of Business (VSB) Online Graduate Programs  were ranked #1 by U.S. News and World Report. 
  • VSB's Center for Global Leadership received the Freeman Foundation Grant which will expand student participation in internships in East and Southeast Asia.
  • VSB's Center for Church Management hosted International Interfaith Leaders with the U.S. Department of State.
  • Sponsored the 30th annual Joseph L. Lucia Public Policy Lecture in Economics, featuring a keynote lecture from Sir Angus Deaton, Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
  • Announced three new concentrations:
  1. Applied Quantitative Finance Concentration that focuses on the quantitative side of financial markets, targeting the practical application of quantitative techniques in addition to utilizing financial theory.
  2. Digital Marketing and Professional Development, which help students to customize their marketing degrees. 
  3. Management Consulting Concentration which will supplement the management major and prepare students for the future demands in the consulting industry by equipping them with the knowledge to manage teams and develop client relationships.
  • M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, named in honor of the long-time Dean M. Louise Fitzpatrick, was again named a Center of Excellence (COE) in Nursing Education, a designation from the National League for Nursing (NLN) that it has held continuously since being one of three inaugural COE schools in 2004. This year, the College is a continuing designee in the category "Creating Environments that Advance the Science of Nursing Education”.
  • Three faculty—Dr. Bette Mariani, Prof. Colleen Meakim, and Dr. Nancy Sharts—Hopko were inducted as Fellows into the National League for Nursing Academy of Nursing Education, which honors outstanding individuals who have made enduring and substantial contributions to nursing education. Dr. Melissa O’Connor, Associate Professor, was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Visiting Nurses Association of Greater Philadelphia.
  • The Fitzpatrick College of Nursing’s chapter of the Student Nurses Association of Pennsylvania received the Chapter Excellence award at the 65th Annual State Convention of all student nurses’ association chapters in Pennsylvania. Seniors Madeline Stadler (‘19 FCN) was elected President of the state organization and received the Leader of Tomorrow Award and Meghan Scanlon (’19 FCN) was elected Vice President of the state organization and received the Jamey Thiel Miller Memorial Legislative Award.
  • Dean Mark C. Alexander was selected by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) as a member of its Executive Committee. The mission of AALS is to uphold and advance excellence in legal education. 
  • The Law School hosted a series of events exploring the recent “Take a Knee” movement in sports. Faculty, staff and students came together for substantive and thought-provoking discussion that highlighted both differing perspectives and the common ground shared among participants.
  • The 2017 Villanova Law Review Norman J. Shachoy Symposium examined 50 years of operation under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a landmark federal transparency law.
  • The Girard-diCarlo Center for Ethics, Integrity and Compliance brought together three experienced media professionals to examine the issues facing today’s press and to share their views on how members of the public can make sense of today’s media.
  • Through the Dean’s Distinguished Fellows program, the Law School is bringing to campus renowned scholars in law, leadership and business. Among the leading academics in their respective fields, the invited Fellows will teach select courses, lead seminars and give lectures as part of their multiyear relationship with Villanova.
  • In response to industry demand, the College of Professional Studies developed a new major for adults seeking to earn or complete an undergraduate degree. The BIS in Administration and Management for Professionals (AMP) provides students with the essential knowledge, understanding and tools they need to succeed as administration and management professionals.
  • Beginning this fall, CPS offered the first independent fully online bachelor’s degrees to adult students. The three degrees include a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership, Bachelor of Arts in Public Service and Administration, and a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in General Studies. We see the online degrees as a prime opportunity to support the University’s national reputation and allow adult students across the country to earn a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University.



Enrollment Management

  • Welcomed 15,725 visitors during the fall semester, which was approximately a 16% increase over last fall semester. This includes daily Nova Nation Presentations, Preview Days by academic college, Legacy Day and a Financial Assistance Workshop for underrepresented students.
  • Admission staff visited/recruited at 908 individual high schools, and along with our Alumni Recruitment Network volunteers attended 401 college fairs, plus an additional 25 other events (case studies, panels, presentations, Villanova Nights, etc.) totaling 1,334 events in 41 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 16 countries around the globe.
  • Inaugural Early Decision program was successfully launched receiving 690 applications and received a new record of 12,662 for Early Action applications (up from last year’s previous all-time high of 11,327 or a 11.8% increase). A holistic review followed and decisions were successfully released before the Christmas holidays.
  • 122 external transfer applications were received: 111 CLAS and 11 Engineering (all majors except Mechanical). 32 were admitted and 19 enrolled as new members of the Villanova community. VSB and the College of Nursing did not entertain Spring transfer applications.
  • With the addition of Early Decision (ED) for prospective students, the Office of Financial Assistance (OFA) has updated all their processes, publications (print and electronic), rules and calendars to reflect the new freshman reviewing cycle.
  • OFA staff presented at 17 Financial Aid Night or FAFSA completion nights programs at area high schools. Presentations were offered at night or on the weekend to help families navigate through the financial aid application process. Many of the schools we serve are not Villanova feeder schools, but nonetheless we feel it is important to share the information about applying for aid to all students and families, not just those seeking a Villanova education.
  • The Department of Education ended the campus-based Federal Perkins Loan program. On average, Villanova awarded $1 million from this program each year to our students. The University is considering options for students to fill the void created by closing the program.
  • Bonnie Lee Behm completed her three-year term as a representative on the College Board CSS FASSAC committee (Financial Aid Standards and Services Advisory Committee) at the College Board National Forum in October. Amanda Constable is now serving on the College Board Professional Tip Sheet committee, which produces Tip Sheets for financial aid administrators on College Board Financial Aid processes/services. Mary Beth Polier, Student Service Representative, was promoted to Administrative Assistant II.
  • Scheduled 1,710 new freshmen in their fall schedules prior to their arrival in August.  
  • The Fall 2018 enrollment report (10,983 students enrolled) and the annual report on degree statistics were prepared by the Registrar’s Office in September and are available on the Registrar’s web site.
  • Executed a successful spring 2018 registration in November.
  • The most recent six-year graduation rate is 90.3% and the retention from freshman to sophomore year is 95%. Brian Galloway, Director of Retention Services, continues to work with colleagues across campus on retention issues and to interview students who have chosen to leave the University.
  • 444 students graduated from the University at the end of the fall 2017 semester. The Registrar’s Office posted their degrees and supplied diplomas to our newest alumni.


Career Center  

  • Launched the Academic. Confidence. Exposure (ACE) Program, a unique career-confidence building program for undergraduate students active in CASA programs. The inaugural cohort had 30 students, and we have already heard success stories. We plan to conclude the program with a showcase in March, with students telling stories about their strengths to a room of employers, alumni, and graduate school admissions professionals.
  • 171 employers visited campus to recruit students and alumni of all academic programs at the Fall Career Fair. Representing those 171 employers were 383 professionals, 45% of whom were Villanova alumni advocating for their organizations to hire Villanovans.
  • Launched a pilot program of VMock, a resume-review platform that provides individualized feedback on resumes. The pilot began with first-year undergraduates in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and College of Nursing, and will continue the pilot this spring with first-year undergraduates in the College of Engineering and School of Business.


Diversity and Inclusion 

  • Offered six sections of Intergroup Relations (IGR) in the fall and spring semester. The IGR class on ability was offered for the first time and a graduate IGR class was piloted.
  • IGR hosted its first Homecoming event, drawing 30 alums and facilitators to campus.
  • The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) hosted a Holiday reception for underrepresented faculty and staff.
  • ODI hosted a webinar on inclusive hiring in the fall on best practices and strategies for recruiting underrepresented faculty and senior administrative leaders.


Falvey Memorial Library 

  • In response to student requests, Falvey piloted a trial period of 24/7 access for the fall semester. With almost 10,000 after-hours entries into the library, the pilot was extended through the spring semester.
  • Falvey embarked on a systematic, comprehensive evaluation of print book collection on October 1. The project aims to remove out-of-date and underused print books and to create physical space for new materials that are critical to the University’s curriculum as well as the needs of faculty, staff, and students. Faculty have the opportunity to review book selection lists and submit retention requests. More details can be found on the Falvey website.
  • Falvey has a reciprocal borrowing agreement with the main library at the University of Pennsylvania. This agreement lets faculty and graduate students check out up to 20 books at a time and gives them weekend and evening access to the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. A letter from Falvey’ s front desk is needed to set up your account at Penn. More details can be found at on the Falvey website. 


Honors Program 

  • Offered a new minor in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) that allows students to attain a credential from their participation in one of the most popular learning cohorts.  The PPE program began at Oxford University in the 1920s and students are enrolled in a unique series of classes built around the special intellectual character of this program. In sophomore year they can study abroad for one semester, taking a course of studies appropriate for their area of focus. Typically, students in PPE program study in Cambridge, England, with Cambridge University faculty, or in London, England, with faculty from the London School of Economics.
  • Offered a new minor in Medical Humanities. It is an integrated, longitudinal academic program in medical humanities that allows students to engage intellectually and experientially in a way that better prepares them to become well-rounded scientists and health professionals. This prepares them to not only be sensitized to ethical concerns, but who possess the skill set to 1) engage in sustained critical reflection on the meaning of such concepts as the nature of suffering, health, quality of life, disability, and the purpose of research, in the context of the history of such ideas in literature, philosophy, religion, poetry, and politics and 2) analyze and formulate recommendations for action in situations of actual ethical dilemmas regarding health care and scientific research based on proven methods of critical reasoning and ethical decision-making.


Office of Planning and Institutional Research

  • Worked closely with the team from McKinsey and others from across campus in collecting, analyzing and providing data, information support, and consultation to the ongoing strategic planning effort.
  • In conjunction with several campus units, developed and pilot tested a set of possible diversity and inclusion questions for potential inclusion on CATS
  • Administered a campus-wide Community Climate Survey to 2,700 Villanova employees garnering a response rate of approximately 50%
  • Reconstituted, reorganized and reconvened the University-wide Outcomes Assessment Committee to promote better alignment with expectations put forth in the recently published set of new accreditation standards from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Continued to expand the administration of CATS online to the point whereby nearly 95% of all CATS forms are completed electronically.  



  • The Institute for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) received the Exceptional Activities in Entrepreneurship Across Disciplines Award from the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers.
  • The Villanova Entrepreneurs Capital Club continues to grow with two Villanova founded startups (representing CLAS, CON, and VSB alumni) presenting at the Venture Showcase this fall. Numerous Club members invested in one of the ventures presented, and several additional startups are in the queue for future sessions.
  • Villanova on the Hill, the third academic immersion program developed by the ICE, successfully launched this fall. Faculty from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office of External Relations and Government Affairs worked with the students from Law, CLAS, and VSB to explore aspects of the policy making and political ecosystem of Washington DC, and more than 125 Villanovans attended the Villanova on the Hill reception with Admiral Fallon ’67 serving as a keynote speaker.
  • ICE hosted a new weekend competition called the “Soup Start-Up Challenge” where teams of students worked on new products and campaigns and presented final proposals in front of senior leaders at Campbell’s Soup.
  • The Anne Welsh McNulty Institute for Women’s Leadership launched at an event on October 26. The launch featured keynote speaker Anne-Marie Slaughter, and was held in conjunction with the Villanova Alumni Association’s Women’s Leadership Summit. The events drew over 420 attendees, and launched a community-wide discussion of advancing women leaders.
  • The Institute’s strategic priorities as it sets its foundation for the next years include:
  • Foster Awareness and Promotion of the Institute and its mission of women’s advancement and gender equity for the Common Good.
  • Serve as a Campus Convener, leading the leading the campus conversation on gender and leadership, and act as a key partner on all gender and leadership initiatives.
  • Foster Leadership Development through a gender lens for students, faculty, staff and alumni.
  • Develop Areas of Research to build the McNulty Institute’s national scholarly reputation.
  • Secure Financial and Resource Development to support the Institute’s programs and growth.
  • This spring, the Institute will initiate its first student cohort of Women’s Leadership Ambassadors—Villanovans who speak out to challenge gender-based assumptions and advocate for change that leads to a better, more equal society. Women’s Leadership Diaries, an exciting new series featuring mini-documentaries, blog entries and online discussions or “diaries” of the daily experience of women’s leadership will also launch this spring. This evolving initiative will position the Institute as a national leader in developing and advancing a dynamic definition of women's leadership, including experiences shared from diverse perspectives.
  • Upcoming events:
  • March 9: Big East Women’s Leadership Lunch, “Where’s Your Seat at the Table?”- Intercontinental Hotel, New York
  • March 20: Caring Work: Who and at What Cost? Panel Discussion
  • May 2: Book Talk- “The Myth of the Nice Girl” by Fran Hauser




  • Continued faculty development activities including grant writing workshops, brown bag lunches, and Research IdeaBounce.
  • Significant steps taken to increase research administration capabilities. Rani Muthukrishnan, PhD was named Director of Research Protections and the Director of the Office of Grants and Contracts will be announced soon. Post-award management processes were evaluated and improvement plans are in place. Huron consultants continues to provide interim staffing and assist with post-award improvement implementation.
  • Institutional support for faculty research continues. Travel grant program made awards to all eligible faculty in this Fall’s call for submissions. Summer grant program proposals are currently under review and the subvention of publication program made several awards in fall semester.
  • The Center for Research and Fellowships (CRF) changed its name to emphasize that it serves the entire student body—graduate students as well as undergraduates.
  • CRF won a two-year, $250,000.00 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop and test best practices for training underrepresented minority students to apply for—and win—major national fellowships.
  • Villanova has 30 semifinalists for the prestigious Fulbright Student Program (up from 25 last year; decisions to be finalized during the spring semester). Nearly half (14/30) are students from historically underrepresented groups, and it is worth noting that 30% of our semifinalists have less than a 3.56 GPA—demonstrating that any student can and should apply if interested.
  • Two students won the Gilman International Scholarship to study or intern abroad during the spring semester, and a Villanova applicant interviewed as a Finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.
  • The annual Undergraduate Research Symposium took place in September, and students from all undergraduate colleges presented a record 100 posters. 15 students were awarded CRF Research & Travel Grants during the fall semester, and presented their original research at national and international conferences.
  • The Office of Research Administration welcomed a new Grants Specialist to support investigators in pre- and post-award grant activity. 

  • With the Controller’s Office, ORA implemented a new Costing Guidelines policy and several related procedures to increase clarity and transparency for researchers. 

  • Implemented a new web-based system for disclosing and managing potential financial conflicts of interest. 


Teaching and Learning 

·       Working with the staffs of CASA and Falvey Memorial Library, new resources were developed to help students save money when obtaining their course materials. Click here to learn more about the Affordable Materials Project (AMP).

·       Developed the Villanova Integrated Academics (VIA) program, an integrated curriculum program that connects different areas of study by cutting across subject-matter lines and emphasizing unifying concepts. Courses will bring together students and faculty from varying majors, disciplines and colleges to experience how diverse industries work together in real-world scenarios.  Click here for additional information on the three specializations, course descriptions, and schedules. The first cohort of students will begin in fall 2018.

·       A new call for cross-college courses was completed, and three courses will be funded in the coming year:

o   Creating Social Impact

o   American Statesmanship: Liberty, Equality, and the Common

o   Every Breath We Take: Indoor Air Quality and Human Health 

  • Working with the staffs of CASA and Falvey Memorial Library, new resources were developed to help students save money when obtaining their course materials. Click here to learn more about the Affordable Materials Project (AMP).
  • Developed the Villanova Integrated Academics (VIA) program, an integrated curriculum program that connects different areas of study by cutting across subject-matter lines and emphasizing unifying concepts. Courses will bring together students and faculty from varying majors, disciplines and colleges to experience how diverse industries work together in real-world scenarios.  Click here for additional information on the three specializations, course descriptions, and schedules. The first cohort of students will begin in fall 2018.
  • A new call for cross-college courses was completed, and three courses will be funded in the coming year:

            Creating Social Impact

            American Statesmanship: Liberty, Equality, and the Common

            Every Breath We Take: Indoor Air Quality and Human Health 

  • Center for Access, Success and Achievement (CASA) relocated its offices to the second floor of Falvey Memorial Library this summer.
  • In collaboration with the Career Center, launched the Academic. Confidence. Exposure (ACE) program. Students explore their strengths, learn about a variety of careers, and meet with employers & alumni who are interested in speaking with them about their jobs and internships.
  • Eight CASA students were semi-finalists for the Fulbright scholarship.
  • Learning Support Services (LSS) continues its commitment to supporting faculty in proctoring nearly 700 exams during the fall 2017 term. This was an increase of 31% over the previous fall.
  • The LSS staff are preparing for a Fall 2018 launch of ClockWork, new software management system. With this new system, students and faculty will no longer need to send sensitive disability information and tests via email. A test of the system with students and faculty will take place soon.
  • The Math Learning and Resource Center (MLRC) had 2,592 visits—the second highest number of visits ever received in a semester.
  • Hours of operation were extended. The MLRC is now open from 11am-5pm Monday through Thursday, and 6:30Pm-9pm Sunday through Thursday.
  • New tutor training sessions were held to improve the ability of the MLRC tutors to help with Biocalculus and Business Statistics.
  • The MLRC received an average student survey rating of 3.88 out of 4 for “Satisfaction with visit” and 3.95 for “Service provided by your tutor.”
  • For the 29th consecutive semester, student-athletes had a GPA above a 3.0, with a grade-point average of 3.278.
  • 22 student-athletes received a 4.0 in Fall 2017.
  • Forbes named Villanova as the #19 college in the country that dominates academically and athletically
  • Athletics has a 95 percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR). In the most recent cohort, for the years 2007-10, 14 programs tallied a perfect 100 percent GSR.
  • Fall 2017 was the first offering of a new semester program in Urbino, Italy, Contemporary Italian Society and Culture: Italy at the Crossroads. This CLAS program focused on immigration, politics, and intercultural communication in modern Italy.  The program will continue to be offered each fall semester and is open to all CLAS majors.
  • The Office of Education Abroad held the first meeting of the new Education Abroad Advisory Group with faculty and staff representatives from the four undergraduate colleges. The group will offer guidance to the OEA and support the overall development of international education opportunities for Villanova students.
  • The Center for Speaking and Presentation (CSP), in collaboration with Dr. Heidi Rose of the School of Communication, founded a new tutoring service this fall. The CSP provides highly trained tutors offering free 1:1 or small group tutoring sessions. Workshops are also available upon request. CSP tutors assist with speaking skills including controlling nerves, proper voice modulation and projection, limiting vocal interruptions, and much more.
  • The Learners’ Studio founded a new content-based tutoring service during the fall semester. The Learners’ Studio provides free 1:1 and small group tutoring for subjects such as Italian, Spanish, French, Russian, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, upper level Engineering and more. A staff of 25 highly trained, peer tutors provide tutoring on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings in the Falvey Memorial Library. Students can review course material, develop study strategies, and collaboratively strengthen their academic practice.
  • If you have questions about finding or becoming a tutor, or for more information about tutoring services at Villanova, send an email to
  • Dr. Andy-Guoqiang Cui joined VITAL as Associate Director for eLearning Pedagogy. Dr. Cui consults with faculty and departments regarding teaching in online. hybrid, and technology-enriched formats. He also directs VITAL programs that lend evidence-based, pedagogical support to eLearning initiatives in our undergraduate and graduate programs. 
  • 40 newly-appointed faculty colleagues were paired with VITAL Faculty Mentors.  Mentors offer aid in professional development, serve as resource, and help their colleagues navigate Villanova’s institutional culture. Twenty full-time faculty members from the College of Nursing, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Villanova School of Business, served as mentors to groups of two to three junior faculty. Mentees and mentors were paired across non-disciplinary affiliations to support confidential, non-evaluative interactions and complement existing departmental mentoring. 
  • In her role as VITAL Faculty Associate, Dr. Valentina DeNardis, Director of the Classical Studies Program, will conduct in-person and online workshops on how faculty can use Office 365 Tools, such as OneNote, Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Form to enhance teaching, student advising, and program administration.  She is also available to visit with departments or meet individually with faculty. Faculty may also borrow a Microsoft Surface Tablet to try out digital inking. 
  • Provided 3,171 tutorials this fall.
  • Hosted two faculty writing retreats where faculty worked on articles, grant proposals and book chapters.
  • Held weekly, 30-minute workshops for undergraduates.

Office of the Provost

Tolentine Hall, Room 103
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610.519.4520
Fax: 610.519.6200

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