Assistant Vice President for University Information Systems

Assistant Vice President for University Information Systems

Villanova University

Philadelphia, PA   |   October 19, 2020

Villanova University, a top national university in the United States is seeking an individual with experience developing and implementing innovative solutions to systems challenges and a record of fostering team and staff development to be its next Assistant Vice President for University Information Systems (AVP for UIS). Reporting to the Chief Information Officer, the successful candidate will be both a change agent and an experienced change manager and will help the University accomplish its goals and objectives by bringing enthusiasm and a collaborative, creative, and optimistic approach to leadership.

About Villanova University

Villanova University, a Roman Catholic institution, has been sponsored by the Order of St. Augustine since its founding in 1842. The Augustinian Order has a long history of academic achievement and scholarly leadership, with a belief in education as a community activity. Institutions affiliated with The Order of St. Augustine are committed to imbuing in students a deep respect and compassion for all people and a respect for academic freedom and open inquiry.

Villanova achieved university status in 1953 with the establishment of the College of Nursing and the School of Law. Today, the University is comprised of six colleges: Liberal Arts and Sciences; Engineering; Villanova School of Business; Nursing; Professional Studies; and the Charles Widger School of Law.

Located in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania, approximately 12 miles west of Philadelphia, Villanova is an independent institution offering undergraduate and graduate education. The campus sits on approximately 260 acres on Philadelphia’s Main Line. The University enrolls approximately 10,800 students, of whom approximately 6,400 are full-time undergraduates. The University remains affiliated with the Catholic Church and the Order of St. Augustine and is governed by an independent Board of Trustees. Villanova welcomes persons of all religions as members of its student body, faculty, and administration.

For more than a decade, Villanova University was ranked number one by U.S. News and World Report in the Best Universities-Masters category in the northern region. In 2016, U.S. News and World Report also ranked Villanova as 2nd for “Best Value Schools” and 4th for “Best Undergraduate Teaching” in the Best Masters Universities category, Northern Region, and ranked engineering school No.11 among all national undergraduate engineering programs whose highest degree is a masters. Recently reclassified as a doctoral/research institution, Villanova has once again placed among the top national universities in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” rankings. The Villanova School of Business is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2016 rankings of undergraduate business schools.

Villanova’s campus continues to undergo a massive transformation. In September of 2019, The Commons, a complex of 6 new residence halls, that house over 1100 students and brings student on-campus living to 85%, opened on Lancaster Avenue. A brand-new performing arts center is slated to open in 2020 and Finneran Pavilion, home to the 2016- and 2018-men’s basketball national champions reopened last year after a $65 million-dollar renovation.

Villanova employs approximately 670 full-time faculty members, 90 percent of whom hold the highest degree in their field. The University currently employs 1578 full-time and 188 part-time staff. Villanova students take part in a wide variety of student organizations and study abroad programs. The University has over 125,000 alumni living throughout the world.

In September 2019, Villanova launched “Rooted. Restless.”—Villanova University’s Strategic Plan: 2020–2030. This 10-year Strategic Plan will continue to propel the University forward to a new level of success. It will guide Villanova forward into its next era of greatness, building upon its strengths and enhancing the Villanova experience for the entire community, including faculty, students, staff, alumni, parents and friends.

For more information on Villanova University please visit their website.

University Leadership

Kelly Doney, Chief Information Officer

Kelly Doney joined Villanova University in February 2020 as the Chief Information Officer. She is responsible for providing overall leadership and direction for the University-wide information technology program to meet the varied and complex needs of the University. Among her areas of oversight are technology infrastructure, information security, network, ERP, technology support, card systems, communication systems, instructional technology, as well as web and application development.

Prior to joining Villanova, Ms. Doney was a Vice President at Ellucian. During her four-year tenure, she built a management consulting practice, created the company’s first global strategic delivery partner program, and designed Ellucian’s first Ellucian Collaboration Lab for the California Community College System. She also represented Ellucian on EDUCAUSE’s Corporate Member Advisory Committee, where she collaborated with other higher education industry leaders to bring increased value to the corporate-EDUCUASE relationship.

Before joining Ellucian, Ms. Doney was the Associate Vice President for Enterprise Applications at Georgetown University. There she established and executed the enterprise technology strategy for the university’s administrative, student, teaching/learning, constituent relationship management, institutional reporting, and research domains. Under her leadership, the university received industry recognition for being among the first to bring core administrative and teaching and learning systems to the cloud.

Ms. Doney also spent over thirteen years working for leading management consultancies including Booz Allen Hamilton and Deloitte Consulting where she oversaw complex technology strategy, modernization, and software development programs for federal government clients. She also managed a user experience testing lab for General Electric Information Services and served as a human factors engineer and consultant for Exxon Biomedical Sciences.

Ms. Doney received her master’s degree in experimental psychology from Syracuse University, where she was a recipient of the National Institute on Aging Pre-Doctoral Fellowship. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music and psychology from Ithaca College.

The Opportunity

The Assistant Vice President for University Information Systems (AVP for UIS) is responsible for managing and operationalizing the applications/systems strategy for Villanova. This position establishes solution centers of excellence focused around key domains, including but not limited to Student, HR, Finance, Analytics, Advancement, and Research. This includes managing and supervising a team of technical experts to provide development and maintenance of new and existing solutions, setting up forums to engage proactively with leaders in functional offices, continually scoping emerging technologies through the lens of the university’s users, and ensuring applications investments align with the division’s technical strategy and information security requirements. The AVP for UIS will serve as the senior advisor on application and solutions domain strategy to the CIO. The AVP will supervise a staff of about 27 and a budget of just over $5M.

The AVP for UIS’s essential management functions include:

  • Solutions Strategy: This position is responsible for managing and supervising a team of technical experts in the development, maintenance, and/or support required to keep all solutions currently deployed within the Villanova portfolio operational in support of university business. The AVP will facilitate coordination among the UIS team and other divisions within UNIT to provide optimal, secure solutions that are in line with the application/solution domain strategy and integration requirements set by UNIT. The AVP will design/oversee analyses aimed at identifying solutions that best meet constituents’ needs while also protecting the university’s information and assets, and they will continually evaluate and update the team’s skills to keep current with tools and methods that foster this “best-in-breed” approach.
  • Cross-Campus Business Partner: In additional collaborating with peer technology leaders, a key responsibility for this position will be to partner with the business leaders (for each domain area) to help determine the IT solutions that best position the functional offices to improve the delivery of services to their constituents. In this role, the AVP will work with the functional offices to define and develop the business case justification for new technology investments. The position will be responsible for establishing and maintaining forums for proactive engagement with leaders in the key domain areas and will establish needed governance models for technology projects when needed. They will also coordinate with other UNIT leaders to make certain solutions are coordinated and planned with representatives from operations, networking, information security, technology support services, and other UNIT stakeholders.
  • Proactive Planning: This position will be responsible for short- and long-term plans for management of human resources and material resources to achieve IT objectives, continually appraise applications to ascertain if they are operating effectively and efficiently, effect changes and improvements as necessary, and develop budgets and business case justifications to request funds where needed.
  • Thought Leadership: The AVP acts as a key thought leader around the use of technology to drive operational efficiency in the delivery of higher education services. This includes working with key partners and vendors to develop thought leadership around applications and approaches that can influence how technology is delivered to improve the university’s operational efficiency. They must keep informed of new technologies or application methodologies through publications/presentations, membership in professional organizations, and contact with other technology leaders at other higher education institutions. They must review market trends and make recommendations concerning adjustments to programs in related areas, and he/she manages key relationships with IT vendors and service providers.
Candidate Profile

Villanova is seeking candidates who possess strong analytical expertise and a desire to bring development opportunities for their team. Strong candidates will excel at building relationships at every level and functioning as an authentic, collaborative, and transparent leader.

The ideal candidate will have all or many of the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and experiences:

  • Ten or more years of experience working in information technology or a related field with at least 8 years progressively managing people;
  • Experience translating functional needs into technology requirements and driving vendor agnostic decisions to meet an organization’s needs;
  • Experience driving data governance, building and supporting enterprise data warehouse functions, and working with customers to define and deliver on analytics and reporting needs;
  • Experience with strategic planning, developing budgets, and funding requests;
  • Experience with disaster recovery and business continuity planning;
  • Experience managing vendors, negotiating contracts, developing RFPs, and reviewing proposals;
  • Experience planning, designing, and executing complex system implementation projects;
  • Experience managing people and budgets, creating performance plans, and building/developing high performing teams;
  • Experience in a multi-vendor technology environment; and
  • Knowledge of:
    • Current trends and developments in ERP, web CMS, CRM, identity management, business intelligence, data warehousing, and analytics
    • Banner HR/Finance/Student systems and associated Ellucian products
    • Networking and operating systems, database management, identity management, directories (LDAP, AD, etc.), web CMS (AEM desired), CRM technologies, reporting and analytics tools, and ERP systems.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required, and an advanced degree is strongly preferred. A Project Management Professional (PMP) certification or equivalent is desired as well as experience working within higher education.

Villanova University has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Tom Phillips, Managing Director, and Josyanne Roche, Consultant, are leading this search. Please submit a compelling letter of interest and resume here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential. ……………..

Villanova University is an equal opportunity employer and educational institution. There shall be no discrimination against any employee, applicant for employment or any student on any basis prohibited by law, including race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status (disabled or Vietnam era), or disability. This non-discrimination policy applies to all educational policies and programs and to all terms and conditions of employment, which include (but are not limited to): recruitment, hiring, training, compensation, benefits, promotions, disciplinary actions and termination.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit