Runte allocates $3 million for faculty appointments
Old Dominion will add more than $3 million in new faculty positions over the next two years, President Roseann Runte announced this week.
The positions will be used to address deficiencies in certain curriculum areas and to stimulate research activity.
Significantly increasing the number of faculty will allow us to offer additional courses in areas where there is an interest, to do more research and to fill certain gaps in our existing areas of research expertise, said Runte.
Provost Thomas Isenhour and Mohammad Karim, ODUs new vice president for research, are using university and national data to determine how these additional personnel can have the greatest impact on the university.
This is very exciting, Isenhour said. ODU has committed to becoming one of the top 100 public research universities in the United States. These faculty additions will be a first step toward achieving that goal.
The initiative is being funded by Old Dominions 2004-06 biennial budget allocation from the General Assembly. The university received $18 million for the two-year period, the second-highest allocation of additional funding among state colleges and universities, to support base operating budgets and enrollment growth.
Runte said she has also set aside $1 million this fiscal year to address merit pay, retention and compression issues among faculty, administrators and classified staff, and that additional funds will be set aside for future years until all issues are resolved.
She noted that her goals in utilizing ODUs allocation of state base adequacy funds are to address salary issues, hire additional faculty, provide more student scholarships and on-campus jobs, and offer additional graduate stipends and fellowships.
We have to move ahead with the faculty piece of this immediately, she said. This is the base piece that is needed. When we have have the new faculty, we will also have a base to attract more research grants. Back to top
The five-year contract, the largest ever awarded to MARS, is for commercial spaceport facilities and services to launch satellites and spacecraft for the Air Force and other government agencies. MARS, formerly the Virginia Space Flight Center, which is owned and operated by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA), was one of only three commercially licensed U.S. spaceports to receive a commercial spaceport services contract award from the Air Force.
According to Billie Reed, assistant professor of engineering management and director of the VCSFA, the authority will provide launch facilities and services to the Air Force, when ordered, for launch of small- to mid-class launch vehicles and spacecraft. Launches will require about one year of advance planning, coordination and preparation and will take place at MARS, located at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore.
The initial contract award is for an $18,500 MARS study to assess the facilitys ability to conduct launches on an accelerated schedule and to launch the larger Peacekeeper-based launch vehicle.For more information or to volunteer for the neighborhood cleanups, visit the Community Care Day Web site at www.odu.edu/ccd or call the Office of Community Relations at 683-5210. Back to top
Catch the holiday spirit at ODUs Illumination and Madrigal Banquet
The campus community will have two early opportunities to catch the holiday spirit, with the fourth annual Illumination on Nov. 30 and the traditional Madrigal Banquet, Dec. 3-4.
The Illumination program begins at 5:15 p.m. on Kaufman Mall and will feature the lighting of a wreath and trees in front of Webb Center. A reception will precede the program at 4:45, during which children of all ages are invited to take part in a cookie decorating contest.
ODUs Ebony Impact gospel choir and the Doorway Singers will perform for the Illumination program, and international students and area civic league representatives will deliver greetings.
Those who attend are asked to bring a canned good for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, which will be exchanged for a candle to be lit during the event. Light refreshments will follow. To RSVP call 683-3116 or reply to email@example.com.
The music department presents its 30th annual Madrigal Banquet at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4 in the Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center atrium.
This years banquet features a lavish dinner accompanied by the music of Italy, performed by the Madrigal Singers and Collegium Musicum on historically accurate instruments. Directed by Lee Teply, the program is the culmination of a semester-long residency in vocal and instrumental performance.
Tickets are $30 for general admission, $25 for faculty, staff and non-ODU students, and $15 for ODU students. They may be purchased at the Arts and Letters box office in the Diehn Center or by calling 683-5305. Back to top
The annual award, which recognizes Canadas most accomplished and influential women, was presented at a luncheon held Nov. 10 in Toronto. The Womens Executive Network is Canadas leading organization dedicated to the advancement of executive-minded women.
Winners are recognized in six categories: corporate executives, entrepreneurs, public sector leaders, trailblazers, professionals and champions.
Runte was named a trailblazer, along) with a Supreme Court of Canada judge, a United Nations deputy secretary-general and the founder of the Montreal Chamber Orchestra, among others. Trailblazers are women who are the first in their fields and/or who have made a great contribution to Canadian society.
A native of New York, Runte is a citizen of both the United States and Canada. She became the seventh president of Old Dominion in 2001. She previously served as president of Victoria University, principal of Glendon College and president of lUniversite Sainte-Anne, all in Canada.
She has served on numerous boards and commissions including UNESCO, the Club of Rome, the National Bank of Canada, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Foundation for International Training, EXPO 2000 and the Southern Commission on Colleges. She is president of the American Council of Educations Commission on International Education and a member of the International Parliament of Cultures.
In addition to this recent honor, Runte has been awarded the Order of Canada, the French Order of Merit, fellowship in the Royal Society, a prize from the French Academy and a number of honorary degrees.) Back to top
As the state affiliate for Project Lead the Way, Old Dominion continues to be a leader in addressing pertinent issues within the engineering community and society as a whole, said Oktay Baysal, dean of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology. This program allows us to better prepare the future engineers, mathematicians and scientists that the country urgently needs.
Established in the 1980s, PLTW is a national, nonprofit organization that forms partnerships among public schools, higher education institutions and the private sector to increase the quantity and quality of engineers and engineering technologists graduating from the nations educational system. It is now offered in schools in more than 42 states and the District of Columbia.
According to Jerry Robertson, director of applied technology who oversees the universitys PLTW program, ODU will offer a summer training camp to Virginia and other high school teachers who wish to incorporate PLTW into their school curriculums. During these sessions, teachers will learn to conduct PLTW classes such as introduction to engineering design or digital electronics in their own schools.
In summer 2005, ODU will offer four of the eight PLTW courses, with hopes of expanding the selection the next year. The university will also assist teachers and schools throughout the school year.
In addition to the rigorous education and training students receive from PLTW classes, they will be eligible for academic credit at ODU for those courses, said Robertson. Back to top
Gov. Warner to speak at December commencement
Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner was announced recently as speaker for Old Dominions 101st commencement. It will be held Dec. 19 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
The ceremony, which begins at 1:30 p.m., will recognize approximately 2,000 graduates from the universitys six academic colleges. Back to top
Im hoping that my recognition will lead to a greater awareness among area teachers that the center is here to help with economic education offering free workshops, lessons and support to help them not only raise the SOL scores for their schools, but also make economics fun and exciting for their students, said Cookson.
The award recognizes an individual who has been a member of the National Council on Economic Education for less than two years and who has hit the ground running taking up the challenge of providing economic education programs or services.
Cookson joined ODU in 2002 and has contributed to the significant growth in the outreach of the center. Her major contribution has been in the number of workshops and in-service presentations she has conducted for area K-12 teachers. Her knowledge of the Virginia Standards of Learning has been an asset and source of support for teachers. Back to top
Kimbrough, currently vice president for student affairs at Albany (Ga.) State Univer-sity, begins his new job Dec. 13. He reportedly signed a three-year contract with Phil-ander Smith, which was established in 1877 to educate former slaves. The four-year liberal arts college enrolls more than 900 students. Back to top
Last year, the chapter inducted 51 students and approximately 20 were inducted this fall. James R. Sweeney, associate professor of history, is the chapters adviser.
So far this semester, the group has toured the Hampton Museum and sponsored a lecture. Also, the 10th edition of the Old Dominion Historical Review has been printed. Back to top
The proposal, Graduate Education for the Responsible Conduct of Research: Avenues and Approaches to RCR Instruction, was submitted on behalf of the offices of Graduate Studies and Research.
Dean of Graduate Studies Philip Langlais, principal investigator of the project, and Susan Metosky, research compliance coordinator, will direct a set of five interventions aimed toward integrating RCR into the culture and programmatic requirements of the universitys graduate and research training activities.
Specific outcomes will test and document the success and failures of the interventions. These results will be helpful in informing and guiding mid-tier, growing research institutions similar to ODU as they develop their programs and establish best practices for RCR education. CGS and the Office of Research Integrity will publish a monograph of best practices based on the results of the 10 funded projects. Back to top
Harvards Sloan Devlin finished second with 54 points. Tunnicliffe, who won 11 of the 16 races at the event, becomes the first sailor ever to win three straight ICSA Womens Singlehanded Championships.
Production on the pilot of The New Partridge Family will begin soon and may be shown on VH1 in early 2005. Back to top
Kits included a backpack with scissors, pencils, colored pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners, notebook paper, notebooks, folders and pencil bags. Monetary donations helped cover the cost of shipping the kits. Back to top
Currently, 575 institutions are accredited and more than 100 others are candidates and precandidates for accreditation in NCATEs 50th-anniversary year. Those institutions produce two-thirds of the nations new teacher graduates.
Old Dominion met NCATEs rigorous standards, which are set by the profession and members of the public. The standards expect accredited schools of education to:
At Old Dominion University, we take the education of teachers seriously, said William H. Graves, dean of the Darden College of Education. Our teacher education programs reaccreditation by NCATE affirms the work of our faculty, students and school division partners. Our reaccreditation is another reason that the university can guarantee that our teacher-education graduates can and are ready to teach.
The redesigned 1995 accreditation standards emphasize teacher performance. They focus on what teacher candidates should know and be able to do, and expect candidates to demonstrate specific skills. Meeting NCATE accreditation standards also helps institutions prepare new teachers for newer, more rigorous licensing standards.
NCATE is recognized by the U.S. Depart-ment of Education as the professional accrediting body for schools, departments and colleges of education. On-site visits, document review and accreditation decisions are all carried out by professionals from the education community, including teachers, members of the public and education policymakers.
Teacher candidates who graduate from NCATE-accredited schools are better prepared for initial licensing and advanced board certification. NCATE is working with the Interstate New Teachers Assessment and Support Consortium and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to ensure that teacher education accreditation standards, model teacher licensing standards and advanced teacher certification standards are compatible.
A study by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) showed that graduates of NCATE-accredited colleges of education pass ETS PRAXIS content examinations for teacher licensing at a higher rate than do graduates of unaccredited colleges. Back to top
Presented to an individual or organization that has made an extraordinary contribution to promoting environmental improvement for Norfolk citizens, the annual award is the highest honor the NEC bestows. It is named for Ernie Morgan, a well-known community activist and founder of the Norfolk Clean Community System, predecessor of the Norfolk Environmental Commission.
Runte was recognized at the Nov. 6 Trashy Dinner Dance for her leadership and direction of the many initiatives Old Dominion has created to improve the environment. The university also received the Most Outstanding Friend of Norfolks Environment award at the event.
The awards were presented for several initiatives, including:
The new Engineering and Computa-tional Sciences Building, which is the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified higher education building in Virginia.
Involvement in a wetland restoration project with The Elizabeth River Project at the mouth of a storm water drainage canal on campus.
Steps that have been taken to reduce the discharge of pollutants from a small municipal separate storm sewer system to protect water quality and satisfy water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act and the State Water Control Law.
A requirement that freshmen take a global environmental course, New Portal to Appreciating Our Global Environment. Back to top
Maniyar embarked on a successful career in banking and business and was the president and CEO of Startec Global Communications Corp. at the time of his death. The company introduced low telephone rates to immigrants from India and Asia so they could talk to relatives back home.
Maniyar, who was born in Ahmedabad, India, came to the United States in 1962. He was honored by the university with a Distinguished Alumni award in 1998.
In his free time, he coached youth basketball teams and was an assistant to his wife, Manisha, who is a commissioner of fourth-grade basketball in Vienna.
In memory of Prabhav Maniyar
Prabhav Maniyar received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth and a masters in economics at Old Dominion. After working in corporate finance at NationsBank (Bank of America), he built the Witt Group of Companies from a small operation to an $85 million software and satellite concern.
In 1997 he became CFO of Startec, a telecommunications company which grew rapidly under his leadership. When Startec suffered during the dot-com crash, he stuck with the company, which emerged successfully last May with Prabhav as chief executive, chairman and president.
Prabhav has left his wife, Manisha, and two young children, Arjun and Ruhi, surrounded by friends and a warm community: Prabhavs business colleagues, basketball parents and assistant coaches, fellow PTA members, neighbors and friends from Old Dominion. As elsewhere, all attest to his positive outlook, his courage, and his warmth. We all miss him and his cheerful smile.
President Roseann Runte.
The symposium is the second in a series of annual forums featuring different countries. Last years inaugural event examined institutions in Japan.
The India Forum opens with a Presidents Lecture Series address by Shashi Tharoor, undersecretary general for communications and public information at the United Nations, titled From Midnight to the Millennium: Democracy and Identity in Todays India, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 in the Mills Godwin Jr. Life Sciences Building auditorium.
Tharoors address and other forum presentations are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.
Other events Nov. 19 include:
Three more concurrent sessions will be held from 2:15-4 p.m. Nov. 19:
The Distinctiveness of Indian Secularism, Rajeev Bhargava, University of Delhi, and Indias Plurality: A Historical Survey, Mushirul Hasan, Jamia Millia Islamia, both in the Burgess Room of the Batten Arts and Letters Building; and Capital Markets in India, Prakash Apte, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, Constant Hall Room 2099.
A presentation on Indian cinema, Bollywood to Hollywood: Indian Films, with Vishnukumar Lakdawala, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at ODU, will be held from 5-6 p.m. in the Webb Center cafeteria.
Festival of India, a celebration of Indian culture, will be held from 11 a.m. to noon Nov. 20 in the Constant Hall auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information call 683-5759.
Celebrations of Diwali the Indian festival of the renewal of life and the beginning of the sowing season will be from 7-10 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Hindu Temple of Hampton Roads in Chesapeake. Admission, including dinner, is $15 per person. For reservations call Vinod Agarwal at 683-3567 or 460-3376.
Jeffrey P. Jones
In his new book, Entertaining Politics: New Political Television and Civic Culture (Rowman and Littlefield), Jeffrey P. Jones, assistant professor of communication, argues that programs like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and CNBCs Dennis Miller show only enliven political debate.
Jones book challenges the assumption that these shows have dumbed-down politics, as well as the idea that television in general is a primary cause of civic disengagement. By investigating the production, content and audiences for such programming, Jones argues that these shows provide important alternatives to traditional elite sense-making of politics through news and pundit talk shows.
Further, he cites a recent national study that said viewers of The Daily Show could answer questions about current events more accurately than newspaper readers. To get the jokes (on a comedy show), you have to know something about issues.
The book shows how these comedic political commentators have revived political humor as an accessible and potent means of political critique in times of postmodern crisis, Jones said.
Bridging the fields of political communication and cultural studies, Entertaining Politics makes the case for how and why popular culture is an increasingly powerful force in shaping civic culture.
The shows address the desire of their viewers for an alternative to political narratives from self-proclaimed experts on programs like CNNs Crossfire, he added. Stewart and his brethren offer political discussions in a more accessible language, Jones said. People like seeing people they know. They feel that celebrities represent them more closely than the pundits.
The book draws on surveys Jones conducted of audiences of Jon Stewart and Dennis Miller, which were a part of Jones doctoral dissertation at the University of Texas.
James J. Lidington
James V. Koch
The Entrepreneurial College President, written by Koch and James L. Fisher, examines the values and behaviors of 713 presidents, the largest empirical sample of presidential attitudes ever completed. An update to the pairs 1996 book, Presidential Leadership, the new volume includes information from more women and minority presidents, whose numbers have increased tremendously since the first books publication. Some of the findings include:
Fisher, the books lead author, is a professor of leadership studies and a consultant at the Union Institute in Cincinnati. The book is published by the American Council on Education for the Praeger Series on Higher Education.
Dwight W. Allen
The latest volume in Berrett-Koehlers Ken Blanchard Series, Formula offers managers a simple system to increase their effectiveness and improve employee morale and productivity.
For most managers and employees alike, performance appraisals are a dreaded ritual. Managers have been taught that their main responsibility is to highlight employee mistakes and shortcomings, and employees have learned that their job is to defend themselves. Both sides see them as time consuming, adversarial and generally ineffective. Formula offers an alternative approach.
The foundation of the book is balance placing equal emphasis on communicating to employees what they are doing well in addition to what they need to improve.
Formula 2+2 provides a key building block for leaders at all levels of the organization to be effective coaches and teachers, said Noel M. Tichy, co-author of the best-selling books The Leadership Engine and The Cycle of Leadership. Great leaders teach their organizations to win 2+2 is a required tool to get them there.
Dwight Allen is the author of nine books, including American Schools: The $100 Billion Challenge with Bill Cosby.
Douglas Allen, who is also a permanent guest professor at Peoples University Business School in Beijing, China, has consulted with and conducted training programs for many organizations, including Nokia, Amoco, Boeing, Chrysler, General Electric and Honeywell.
The 8 p.m. performance will be in Chandler Recital Hall of the Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center.
A native of Moscow, Russia, Pshenichnikova has proven to be not only an outstanding flutist and vocalist, but also a versatile performer with a diverse background in the arts. After graduating from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory as a flutist, she has frequently performed with stage companies and has composed several conceptual musical works for theater and film.
Pshenichnikova has given many premieres, written specifically for her by well-known composers, and has participated in festivals throughout Russia and Europe.
The Diehn Concert Series is supported by a grant from the Diehn Fund of The Norfolk Foundation. Tickets for the performance are $15 for general admission; $10 for Old Dominion faculty and staff, senior citizens and non-ODU students; and $5 for ODU students.
Tickets may be purchased at the Arts and Letters box office in the Diehn Center atrium, by calling 683-5305 or at the door. Back to top
Many of the alumni were among the 40 who sang the piece in 1987 as part of the Intercollegiate Symphony Chorus with the Virginia Symphony, choir director Nancy Klein said, including her current graduate assistant, Lisa Ellerbee, who was a freshman for the 1987 performance and will conduct the works first movement.
When she shared this with some of her old college friends, they started calling and e-mailing, saying, Can we sing too? and I still have my music from 1987. So I opened this work up to alumni who could commit to a certain number of rehearsals,Klein said. We were waiting for the right time and the right group to put this together.
She sent CDs and music with rehearsal notes to many of the out-of-area alumni who could not attend all of the rehearsals.
Klein added, proudly, ODU music alumni are teaching in every local school district, and most major area music education programs are run by our graduates.
Accompaniment for the performance will be provided by the University Orchestra, prepared by Leslie Stewart. ODU vocal music students will be soloists.
Messa di Gloria was first performed more than 100 years ago on the feast of San Paolino, Klein said. It is an imposing sacred composition and was acclaimed by laymen and music critics after its first performance. Puccini wrote the piece when he was 18 and it represents the fulfillment of his entire musical background.
The first performance of the piece in the United States occurred July 12, 1952, in Chicago.For more information call 683-3991. Back to top
I am very pleased that Christopher Hannas talent, experience and inspired creativity could be placed at the service of the Virginia Stage Company, said President Roseann Runte. I am delighted that VSC and ODU would have this opportunity to work in close collaboration.
Charles V. McPhillips, president of the VSC board, noted, With Chris ... we have a powerful team of experienced theater professionals whose ... talents will move Virginia Stage Company into a new era of exciting theater for the entire Hampton Roads area.
Hanna, who joined the Old Dominion faculty in 1996, served as the associate artistic director at VSC from 1983 to 1991. During that time he directed plays by Williams, Shaw, ONeil and Churchill on the main-stage of the Wells Theatre and coordinated the companys New Plays Program. He also directed the premieres of works by Harry Kondoleon and Allan Havis, which earned VSC and the authors awards from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation of the Dramatist Guild, CBS Television and HBO.
Hanna began his career at Hartford Stage Company while earning a bachelors degree in theatre and English from Trinity College. He received a master of fine arts degree in directing from the University of California, San Diego. Back to top
Reunite is the theme for ODUs Homecoming 2004. Scheduled events include:
Breakfast, 10 a.m., Constant Center. To register: 683-3446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Homecoming Parade, 2 p.m., Monarch Way and 49th Street
Tailgate Party, 4:30 p.m., Outside Constant Center along Monarch Way. For tickets call 683-3446.
Mens basketball team vs. South Alabama, 7 p.m., Constant Center. For tickets call 683-4444. There will be a fireworks display immediately following the game outside the Constant Center.
Beverly Cordova Duane, guest artist and adjunct dance faculty member at ODU, contributes Bailadora, an energetic dance for six women. It is a collaboration with composer Stephanie Heideman, from Vida, a womens a cappello group.
Adjunct faculty member and guest artist Tami White will premiere Over the Rainbow, a playful, carefree contemporary ballet performed to familiar Hawaiian music. From ODU dance faculty member Amanda Kinzer come two works: Dreamstate, which premiered in 2002, and a new work titled, Leave It Alone.
Dreamstate is an intricate modern dance quartet to the music of Philip Glass with the Brazilian musical group Uakti. Leave It Alone combines the elements of modern and jazz dancing. The dance is accompanied by the music of The White Stripes.
Works by selected ODU student choreographers completes the concert.
Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for non-ODU students and seniors, and $5 for ODU students. They are available at the Arts and Letters box office in the Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center, by phone at 683-5305 or at the door. Back to top
Through the singular vision of contemporary playwright Charles Mee, one of the worlds classic tragedies, Euripides Orestes is reworked in a modern retelling. Orestes 2.0 will guide audiences through a visual wonderland of torment and comedy, seeking to rediscover the power that the story of Orestes holds for todays society.
The production is made possible by the support of ODUs Odyssey Hellenic Cultural Studies Program and is part of an exploration of the variety of experience that classical Greek drama can offer within todays quick-change cultural landscape.
Orestes 2.0 runs through Dec. 5 at The Stables Theatre. Show times are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Ticket prices are $10 for general admission, $8 for non-ODU students and groups, and $5 for ODU students. Call 683-5305 for tickets and more information. Back to top
Montoya, who has performed in numerous venues in Spain and the United States, will sing arias in various languages, including French, German and Italian, as well as operettas, in the Burgess Room of the Batten Arts and Letters Building. Back to top
She will award prizes in various group and individual categories for the largest donations. Coins should be brought to the Presidents Office before they are added to the collection box in Webb Center. Back to top
It is also with the establishment of the Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding that we strive to broaden respect and understanding, not only for Judaism, but also for Christian, Islamic and Asian faith traditions. This involves collaboration between the university and various faith communities, as we increase the depth of religious and cultural programming and promote outreach to all students, faculty, schools and the outside community.
Through teaching about the great religions and the ethical values they share, we hope to guide our students in becoming Klei Kodesh holy vessels who will lead our citizens toward universal freedom and justice in a century beset with diverse ethical attitudes and values.
There is a poem by the late Israeli poet, Yehudah Amichai, entitled, Adam Bchayav: A Person in His Life, that speaks to this hour: A person during his lifetime doesnt really have enough time; enough time for everything. A person doesnt have season enough, to have a season for every purpose. The Book of Ecclesiastes was wrong when it asserted that there is a time and purpose for everything under heaven.
For a person sometimes needs to love and hate at the same moment; or laugh and cry with the same eyes. And, with the same hands, cast stones, or perhaps, at the same moment, one may need to gather them. To make love during a time of war, and war during a time of love.
This poem speaks to us precisely because its ambivalence captures the nature and mood of the world in which we live. We live in a moment where it is difficult to know, precisely, what our response should be to the reality we now confront. Since the horrific events of Sept. 11 brought such immense hatred and death, our desire to unequivocally affirm that the world is still a good and safe place to live, has been challenged. Surely, this is a time when life and its currents are terribly complex, and it is not possible to easily navigate the shoals of such a world.
How is it, then, that Old Dominion University and its trustees can effectively plan the education of our students, and encourage them to assume roles of leadership in the next generation?
How can the religious community work together to determine and follow a vision that is enduringly clear and relevant?
I believe that this vision may be that of the covenant. This biblical notion guides and inspires us as we strive to have the values of our faith traditions speak in an intelligent and humane way to the challenges and the dilemmas of our time. This is a covenant that develops from the concept that human beings and God can and should be in partnership, and we base our ethical actions and behavior on the teachings of such great literary prophets as Isaiah, Micah and Amos. This is a covenant based on the partnership between the community and Old Dominion University. The public can take great pride in the fact that our university is one of only 101 Carnegie Doctoral/Research-Extensive public institutions in the country. This classification recognizes the excellence of ODUs undergraduate and graduate programs, and the high quality of faculty/student research and scholarship. It also reflects the universitys commitment to developing new technology and educational opportunities for teaching and research.
Thus, the university, too, serves as a partner with God in perfecting the world. It is this vision of covenantal responsibility that invests us with a divine sense of dignity. It is this vision of the covenant that we find at the very heart of religious tradition, and the ideal of freedom and responsibility that animates the educational endeavors undertaken here at ODU.
Every religion teaches its own ideal of a covenant. Reform Judaism holds that the covenant is addressed to each of us as an individual. Each one is called by his or her God to bring goodness, decency, justice, integrity and love into the world. Each of us is challenged personally to see that deeds of love, grace and kindness, or the responsibility and duty we call mitzvot, are performed. The realization of a better life through education and the positive development of those aspects in society will make this a healthy, safe and productive world.
One hundred seventy years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville observed that beliefs about God, nature and religion must be regarded as integral to American political institutions. Religion, in this sense, has something to say in nearly every area of political concern. The political and moral character of America is uniquely intertwined.
In recent political debates held by the presidential candidates, we learned that American politics and public policy cannot be totally separated from religious ideas and communities. Indeed, the interplay of religion and politics goes back to the founding of our country. Reform Jews joined with Catholics and liberal Protestants, who were prompted by a post-millennial belief in the need to establish heaven on earth, in pursuing social justice through the resources of society and the state.
Today, the religious communities work together in developing programs like Empower Hampton Roads, targeted at meeting the needs of the homeless and hungry, Mazon, the Jewish response to world hunger, and by sending clothing and medical supplies to disadvantaged children worldwide.
It has been the role of the university to bring thinking people together to identify and solve these and the many other serious problems that beset society. Old Dominion brings us together as representatives of different religious faiths and offers us an opportunity for renewal, reconsideration and redirection. We can take courage from each other as we accept the communal concept of Tikkun Olam to successfully correct ourselves and, by so doing, put another brick in the reparation of the world. We hear the hopeful message that, together, we can do far more than any individual or single faith could accomplish working alone.
Just as in the 1800s, when the interplay of religion and politics influenced concepts such as manifest destiny, the abolition movement, the rights of Catholics to develop a parochial school system in response to what was then seen as Protestant control of public schools, womens suffrage and the Civil War, to the 1950s, when daily prayer and readings from the King James Bible were common, and the 1960s, when the African American religious leaders in the civil rights movement brought their community into the mainstream, so the politics of American public life continues to be influenced by religious thought.
Today, thanks to a series of Supreme Court decisions dealing with the free exercise and establishment of religion, many more issues such as school prayer, abortion and gay rights are open to debate.
Ten years ago, at a meeting of the Norfolk Clergy Association, we discussed the growing power of those religious groups, who held that their way to God was the only proper way, and that all disagreeing perspectives were off the mark. We agreed that everyone has the right to their own religious point of view, but there must be respect and sensitivity for the feelings and thoughts of others and that the differing beliefs of men and women of good will can be accepted and respected, without losing ones own deeply held beliefs.
Over the past decade, we have seen many political ideas and personal issues abrogated by religious groups thinking that their views should dominate. The political implications here are relevant for us all.
We learned of a narrow mindedness and intolerance toward the homosexual community; of a stubborn positioning against all abortions at any peril; a limited perspective regarding the advancement of science and technology, particularly in the area of stem cell research; and the advocation and support for the death penalty whenever possible. We read about an increase in prison facilities, while at the same time witnessed cuts in allocations for educational programming and benefits.
We recently read that lawmakers refused to renew the law prohibiting the carrying of firearms in Washington, D.C., and voted against the Brady Bill that would have eliminated machine guns and automatic rifles from the hands of ordinary citizens.
It is not within the purview of religious communities to promote one candidate over another; however, they are encouraged to discuss the ethical implications of the issues at stake. The Tidewater clergy community remains in the forefront of such causes as health and welfare reform, the progress and improvement of our public school system, the funding of educational and cultural institutions, and the encouragement of our young people to attend colleges and universities. Our mutual agenda and the well-being of our religious communities form a strong bond in solving the social and communal problems of our city and the commonwealth through justice and a democratic system. The conversation is vital, and it is entirely appropriate that we initiate it.
The major religious denominations recognize that this is the time for building bridges between our communities, and that this is the time for interfaith cooperation on levels never before imagined. This is also a time when immigration into the United States is steadily increasing, with Asians, Hispanics, Mexicans, Muslims and blacks leading the numbers, with frictions between these communities at an all-time high. There is homelessness, poverty, crime and violence on the streets where we live.
Like-minded Christians, Muslims and Jews will continue to work together to accomplish the goal of social justice for all, and align themselves on the many ethical issues termed political, but which are, in fact, within the ethical realm.
After all, welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry, caring for the poor were mitzvot, divine commandments, long before they became political mandates.
If we think that concern for quality education for all children is not a religious issue, we need to think again. The Talmud instructs us that it is the responsibility of every community to provide an adequate number of competent teachers for its children. In the tractate Sanhedrin, Rabbi Yochanan wrote, Whoever teaches the son of another is considered as if he himself had fathered him.
If we think that concern for the civil rights of women, blacks and other minorities is not a religious issue, we need to think again. We were told to treat all of Gods children with equality and basic fairness in the Torah, long before we were told to do so by our Constitution.
If we think prison reform and gun control are not religious issues, we need to think again. Our Reform prayer book, The Gates of Prayer, speaks of a time when violence shall no longer be heard in the land, when desolation and destruction shall no longer be found within its borders.
If we think that concern for the environment and the natural resources of this country are not religious issues, we need to think again. God gave us dominion over the earth, its creatures and its ecology, long before the words of the Environmental Controls Act were penned.
If we think that concern for national health care is not a religious issue, we need to think again. Rabbinic tradition mandated pikkuach nefesh, respecting and preserving human life, long before politicians took up the cry.
And, if we think that mandating ethics in business and industry is not a religious issue, we need to think again. The teachings of Leviticus explain fair trade practices requiring just weights and measures, as well as equitable treatment for all men and women, long before womens suffrage and the Equal Rights Amendment called attention to this national disgrace.
As those of every race, faith and creed come together with open minds and hearts, we will draw closer to each other in shared programming, ideas and facilities in the spirit of true interfaith.
There are many new and fresh ideas we can all work on together social action programs, educational programs, language and comparative religion programs all leading to a renewal of spiritual growth for all of us in the years to come.
May we, together, assure a significant and productive future for all whose lives we touch.
Lawrence A. Forman, director of Old Dominions Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding, gave this talk Oct. 5 at a prayer breakfast hosted by President Roseann Runte. He is rabbi emeritus of Ohef Sholom Temple, Norfolk.
Campaigning with class
Tourism and the port have been doing well, but what has pushed us ahead is defense activity. (James V. Koch, president emeritus, on the latest State of the Region report)
Study points to power of military to keep region humming
Everybody has responsibility for the environment. The research and thinking of every single field of study is needed: math, geology, geography, history, politics, literature, the law, economics. (Roseann Runte, president)
Beyond the basics of college orientation
Comedians like (Jon) Stewart have a different license than do journalists. Journalists may think Dick Cheney is Darth Vader, but comedians actually get to say it. (Jeffrey P. Jones, assistant professor of communication)
from a recent appearance on WVEC-TV
My thing would be to combine exercise with things you need to do anyway, like shopping. Go to a store thats near a park and walk with your kids before or after you shop. If you work outside the home, walk at lunch if you can. (Stacey Plichta, associate professor of community and environmental health)
Heres to your health
In essence, the best thing about a literary festival is that it offers people an opportunity to break out of their own lives and see how someone else is thinking about things, how someone else is making sense of this difficult world. To sit with someone elses perceptions, even for only an hour, is an important step toward developing more compassion for other people and their struggles. (Tim Seibles, associate professor of English)
ODU literary fest is on the move
Weve been the bridesmaid a couple of times.
Hoping for another chance
Its a thorny issue, and highly charged. (Fred Bayersdorfer, arts assistant to the dean of arts and letters, on the notion of art institutions selling off some of their paintings to pay the bills and create endowments)
Foundations art-breaking choices
I joined the ODU faculty in 1968 and have been fortunate to serve under all previous presidents. Each contributed significantly, in different ways, to the magnificent growth and development of ODU, and President Roseann Runte is no exception. She is constantly promoting the universitys interests. (Mel Williams, eminent scholar emeritus of exercise science, sport, physical education and recreation, in a letter to the editor)
Big ODU raise for president is appealing, not appalling