Dave Tedjeske, Villanova’s new director of Public Safety, assumed his new position on Monday.
Tedjeske comes to Villanova with 19 years of experience in higher education campus safety work. Villanova is the fourth institution he has worked at, most recently coming from Clarion University of Pennsylvania where he served as director of Public Safety for eight years.
Tedjeske said he plans to get to know the culture of the University and to look at his staff’s strengths as he becomes acclimated to his role.
“The job of the Public Safety Department is to support the educational mission of the University,” he said. “I want to see how best to do that.”
Jeffrey Horton, Villanova’s last director of Public Safety, retired in April, and Tom Harmon has served as interim director of Public Safety. Harmon will stay at Villanova until Sept. 28 to help Tedjeske get situated.
The biggest challenge, Tedjeske said, will be the differences between Villanova and Clarion. While Clarion was public and in a rural area, Villanova is a private university in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
“It’s a much larger campus in a different area,” Tedjeske said. “But some things are really the same no matter where you go.”
Tedjeske saw the Villanova opening as a good opportunity for himself and for his family.
“I really enjoy [public safety work],” he said. “I wouldn’t keep going from school to school if I didn’t, but I like new challenges.”
Tedjeske said one of the challenges of his new position is the larger size of Villanova. This not only refers to the size of the campus and the student population, but also to the size of the staff he will manage. At Clarion, Tedjeske’s staff consisted of 17 people; Villanova’s DPS has over 70 staff members, he said.
As far as size goes, however, the scope of Tedjeske’s responsibilities was broader at Clarion, where he was in charge of emergency health and safety in addition to the public safety and parking responsibilities that will be under his direction at Villanova.
Although he said that there is “always going to be change in a public safety department,” Tedjeske said that any major changes to the current system would be “premature.”