Chief Information Officer

Chief Information Officer

Villanova University

Villanova, PA   |   October 4, 2019

Villanova University, a top 50 University in the United States is seeking a unique individual with expert technical knowledge and strength in setting strategic vision, leading and developing a team, communicating and implementing change, and managing large scale projects to be its next Chief Information Officer (CIO). Reporting to the Executive Vice President, the successful candidate will assist the University in accomplishing its goals and objectives by bringing a collaborative, creative, and solution-oriented 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 the engineering school No.11 among all national undergraduate engineering programs whose highest degree is a masters. Recently reclassified as a doctoral/research institution, Villanova is ranked nationally at #46 by U.S. News & World Report.  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.

University Leadership

The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, has served as Villanova University’s 32nd president since June 1, 2006. Under his leadership, the University has charted a course of significant transformation that includes initiating and embarking on two ambitious, 10-year strategic plans, launching the University’s largest comprehensive fundraising campaign, initiating a vibrant physical campus renovation, and dramatically expanding student opportunities.

Bolstered by this vision, the University has introduced new initiatives, become more nationally recognized for its academic prowess and broken University admission records. Father Donohue has also worked together with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents to strengthen the Villanova community and renew its commitment to the institution’s Augustinian, Catholic educational mission.

Under Father Donohue’s leadership, Villanova has launched two, 10-year strategic plans. The first— “Igniting the Heart. Inspiring the Mind. Illuminating the Spirit.”—was designed to build upon the University’s successes and to guide the University through 2020. Core to the plan were Villanova’s distinctive attributes of academic excellence, strong community, service to others, personal attention, and a platform for success. The Strategic Plan identified academic and programmatic priorities and a Villanova Campus Master Plan that guided the transformation of the University’s physical plant to meet current and future needs. These strategic imperatives provided clear direction and were designed to further enhance Villanova’s reputation as a premier national Catholic university.

Father Donohue also has spearheaded the University’s environmental sustainability efforts, highlighted by his signing of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which pledges that the University will work to achieve climate neutrality. The University’s formal Climate Action Plan, adopted in 2010, outlines goals to practice the principles of environmental sustainability and provide learning opportunities for community members to be environmentally responsible.

In January 2018, Father Donohue established the Villanova Sustainability Leadership Council to develop an actionable and measurable plan to guide the University’s sustainability efforts through 2030. This work is also a part of the University’s new Strategic Plan, serving as a foundational element that underpins the 10-year plan.

Born in Bronx, NY, and raised in Royal Oak, Michigan, Father Donohue earned a BA, with a concentration in theatre and communication arts, from Villanova University in 1975 and was ordained an Augustinian priest in 1979. He holds an MA in theatre from the Catholic University of America, a MDiv from the Washington Theological Union, and a PhD in theatre from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While pursuing his doctorate, Father Donohue taught theatre at the University of Illinois, where he received honors for outstanding teaching. He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most selective all-discipline honor society.

Father Donohue is a tenured full professor at Villanova who served as chair of the University’s department of theatre from 1992 to 2006. He annually directed musical theatre productions on campus, earning six Barrymore Award nominations and one Barrymore Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical from the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia.

Kenneth G. Valosky, Executive Vice President. As Executive Vice President, Valosky is responsible for Financial Affairs, Auxiliary Services, Human Resources, Facilities Management, Public Safety, , Information Technologies, Government Relations and External Affairs and Internal Audit. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy from Villanova University and Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania. Valosky previously held several senior financial positions at Thomas Jefferson University prior to joining Villanova University in 2000. Valosky previously served as a trustee and chair of the Stewardship Committee of the Mercy Health System and as a member of the Audit Committee of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The Opportunity

This is an ideal time to be joining the Villanova University community. The upward trajectory of the institution is impressive, and more exciting is its desire to propel itself to even greater levels of success. The institution will make significant investments in its campus, teaching and learning, academic facilities, and technology and data/analytics over the next ten years. The CIO will play an integral part in Villanova’s plans for moving forward as academic and administrative leadership will look to Information Technologies to provide the tools that enable innovative teaching and learning, groundbreaking research and scholarship, and data- driven decision making.

The Chief Information Officer is responsible for providing overall leadership and direction for the University-wide information technology program and infrastructure to meet the varied and complex needs of the campus. This job is responsible for identifying, evaluating, and reporting on information technology needs, trends and risks, and consulting with and advising University leaders on these matters. The CIO job requires a visionary leader with sound knowledge of both the business and technical practices of the University as well as emerging technologies, best practices, and regulatory requirements in the field of information technology.

The CIO is responsible for technology infrastructure, information security, network, ERP, tech support, card systems, communication systems, instructional technology, and application development. Resource management includes large-scale staff, budget, equipment, hardware and software. The CIO manages a staff of about 117 people and an annual operating budget of about $20 million.

The CIO must leverage collaborations and campus wide resources, engaging constituents across functions and divisions.  The complexity of this job requires strong, thoughtful leadership that can balance the priorities of information technology and University strategies and resources.

The CIO makes frequent presentations to the President’s Cabinet and the Board of Trustees.

The Chief Information Officer has the following responsibilities:

Strategic IT Leadership:

  • Craft an IT strategy that ensures that students, faculty, staff, alumni, and employers have the tools needed to meet both current needs and the bold objectives laid out in Rooted, Restless. The CIO will fulfill the IT mission and provide products and services that faculty, students, and administrative departments depend upon for their various research, learning, teaching, and business needs while bringing a deep understanding of future technology trends and acting as a proactive advisor/consultant to help constituents anticipate problems and develop solutions;
  • Provide guidance and counsel to the EVP and the university leadership team, working closely with senior administration, academic leaders, and the campus community in defining objectives for information technology and infrastructure, while building relationships and goodwill; and
  • Establish annual and long-range information technology goals, define strategies, metrics, and program services; and create maturity models and a roadmap for continual program improvements.

Build Relationships and Partnerships:

  • Promote collaborative, empowered working environments across campus, removing barriers and realizing possibilities. Implement information technology planning processes to establish an inclusive and comprehensive information technology program and infrastructure for the entire institution in support of academic, research, and administrative information systems and technology;
  • Collaborate closely with administrative leadership, deans, IT leaders, and technical experts across campus on a wide variety of technology issues that require an in-depth understanding of the IT environment in their units, as well as the research landscape and federal regulations that pertain to units across the University; and
  • Manage relevant external relationships.

Strong Operational IT Skills and Leadership:

  • Actively stay abreast of information security issues and regulatory changes affecting higher education at the state and national level, participate in national policy and practice discussions, and communicate to campus on a regular basis about those topics. Engage in professional development to maintain continual growth in professional skills and knowledge essential to the job;
  • Lead the development and implementation of effective and reasonable policies and practices for the effective use of technology across the institution and to ensure compliance with relevant regulations and legal interpretation;
  • Spearhead efforts to internally assess, evaluate and make recommendations to leadership regarding the adequacy of the University’s information and technology systems;
  • Provide leadership, direction and guidance in assessing and evaluating information technology risks and monitor compliance with established standards and appropriate policies; and
  • Examine impacts of new technologies on the overall information technology program and infrastructure. Establish processes to review implementation of new technologies.

Lead a Strong IT Team:

  • Foster a culture within IT and with campus partners that welcomes and supports innovation and agility. The CIO will inspire and lead staff to embrace collaboration, collegiality, transparency, and accountability in pursuit of superior customer service and the organizational transformation required to support Rooted, Restless; and
  • Manage and develop a large staff, operating within the core University values of unity, truth and love, and within University community standards of respect, equality and diversity.
Candidate Profile

Villanova is seeking candidates who possess a record of professional experience that demonstrates progressive responsibilities and significant senior-level management experience in a complex IT environment.  A BS in Computer Science, Engineering, or a related major is required, and a graduate degree is preferred. Project management experience and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is preferred as is experience in higher education.

Candidates must be proven leaders demonstrating a minimum of 15 years information technology experience with at least 5 years in a significant leadership/management role managing cross functional teams in complex organizations including accountability for strategic planning, consensus building, organizational leadership, and technical performance.  The CIO will ideally possess an in-depth understanding of a university academic environment and the roles and relationships of faculty, staff, students, and third-parties. Experience developing and/or supporting information technologies in a multi-platform, distributed environment, with responsibility for networks, enterprise applications and security required.

Critical to this role is experience in striking the balance between providing a reliable and user-friendly computing environment with one that facilitates and supports University business and learning objectives and both intra and inter institution collaboration. Equally significant qualifications include strong integrity, a high level of energy, and exceptional interpersonal relationship and team-building skills. The successful candidate should be highly collegial, consultative, have a non-hierarchical management style, the ability to develop and sustain collaborative relationships, and demonstrate commitment to cultural diversity and equal opportunity. Candidates should demonstrate knowledge of technical and service developments for new capabilities and in-depth knowledge of operational needs and solutions, as well as a high degree of awareness of the evolving administrative, academic, and research computing landscapes.

The candidate should be skilled at communicating with a Board of Trustees and senior level leadership. The ideal candidate will also have the following competencies, abilities, and characteristics:

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Ability to present information to accurately initiate action plans;
  • Capable of working closely with technical as well as non-technical support staff, faculty, and students;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with a strong commitment to quality;
  • Motivator and self-starter with the ability to consistently work on multiple tasks;
  • Ability to analyze and evaluate complex data;
  • Ability to use independent judgment and show attention to detail;
  • Experience with strategic planning; IT Governance, and organizational effectiveness;
  • Experience with partner management, establishing metrics, service marketing and management;
  • Experience with compliance, operations, and portfolio management; and
  • Ability to diagnosis technical problems;
  • Experience managing and developing a large and complex staff;
  • Experience managing a large and complex budget;
  • Working knowledge of the systems and infrastructure typically used in a complex institution of higher education
  • Awareness of emerging technologies: VDI, MDM, BYOD
  • Working knowledge of Security and Network issues and challenges
  • Incident Response
  • Cloud solution provider security requirements

Villanova University has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Tom Phillips, Vice President, and Charlotte Harris, 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 is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, institutions of higher education and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information, visit