Reidy Center publishes results of tumor remission experiments

Pulses of electricity shorter than a millionth of a second can cause complete remission of melanomas on the skin of mice, researchers at the Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics report in a paper published online March 10 in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.

Previous experiments at the Reidy Center, which is operated by Old Dominion and Eastern Virginia Medical School, had shown that nanosecond-range pulses of relatively high field strength could reduce tumor size and mass by cell “suicide.” The latest results extend these earlier studies showing that the process – with field strengths ranging as high as 40,000volts/cm – can cause skin tumors to self-destruct.

Following this treatment, tumor cell nuclei shrink by 50 percent within minutes and the tumor blood supply is disrupted for weeks. The paper also suggests that tumors inside the body may respond to a similar treatment delivered by catheter electrodes.

Richard Nuccitelli, a biophysicist on the ODU faculty and a researcher at the Reidy Center, believes the results are an important step toward human cancer treatments that involve no drugs and produce no lasting side effects. The paper notes that the pulsed electric field also seems capable of curing skin cancers without causing the scarring left by surgical incisions.

“We see these results as very important,” said Nuccitelli, first author of the paper. “We want to continue the research to learn more about how the pulses work.”

Another of the paper’s authors, Karl H. Schoenbach, is director of the Reidy Center and a leading expert in the new field of intracellular electromanipulation. An eminent scholar of electrical and computer engineering, Schoenbach also is Batten Endowed Chair in Bioelectrics Engineering at Old Dominion.

Earlier papers from Schoenbach’s research group have described pulsed electric field experiments that destroyed cancer cells through apoptosis – an orderly self-destruct mechanism. Two of his collaborators in the earlier research, Stephen J. Beebe, EVMS professor of physiological sciences and pediatrics, and Juergen F. Kolb, ODU assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, are also authors of the latest paper. R. James Swanson, ODU professor of biological sciences, is another author of the paper, as are two ODU graduate students, Xinhua Chen and Wentia Ford.

The nanosecond-range electric field pulses produce remarkable effects compared to longer pulses because of the field’s penetration of the outer cellular membrane. Membranes typically resist penetration by electric fields, but the ultrashort pulses, lasting only 300 nanoseconds or 0.3 millionths of a second each, essentially sneak through before the outer membrane can mount a defense. Once inside the cell, the electric field is able to act upon the nucleus and other intercellular organelles.

Soon after the pulsed electric field penetrates tumor cells, the nuclei shrink – possibly because of DNA damage – and blood supply to the melanoma is cut off, according to the researchers. In a study that lasted more than a year involving the treatment of 300 tumors on 120 mice, the researchers consistently were able to shrink melanomas by 90 percent within two weeks of initial treatment. Pulse applications to the tumors varied in length and staging, but generally comprised a series of pulses with a total duration much shorter than the blink of an eye. The researchers report that after two weeks, melanomas began to regenerate, requiring a second treatment before complete remission was accomplished.

Because of the short duration, the pulses cause no significant heating of the tumor; researchers also observed no lasting damage to healthy cells surrounding the tumor.

Schoenbach predicts that cell electromanipulation “will end up in your doctor’s office” with applications not only for tumor treatment, but also for gene therapy, wound healing, removal of warts, treatment of fungal infections and other cosmetic uses. “The effects that have been observed so far are only the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

Not long after the startup of the Reidy Center three years ago, Schoenbach recruited Nuccitelli, who served on the faculty of the University of California, Davis, for 23 years before retiring in 2000 to begin his own biotech company.

Nuccitelli’s experience with a mouse/melanoma research model led Schoenbach to suggest the experiment that resulted in the paper published last month. “In the very first experiment 15 months ago, the tumor shrunk dramatically,” Nuccitelli said. “I was, to say the least, excited. But we also wanted to be 100 percent sure. We followed up on 300 tumors, and every single tumor responded. We have established a high degree of accuracy for the findings and documented them with four different imaging techniques.”

Electrical pulses were delivered to some tumors via needles, but the researchers found it difficult to obtain uniform field coverage of the tumors. Another of the paper’s authors, Uwe Pliquett, a German engineer who was a visiting scholar at Old Dominion last year, designed tiny parallel plates that delivered the pulsed electric field to melanomas pinched between the two plates. This technique provided a uniform field and produced better results.

Researchers at the Reidy Center are planning experiments to determine if a mouse can survive a melanoma and still be healthy four to six months after treatment, as well as further research to explain how it is that nanosecond pulsed electric fields impact both diseased and healthy cells. Nuccitelli said experiments on higher mammals may be required before the researchers turn to human subjects.

The work reported in the paper was supported by grants from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, American Cancer Society, ODU Educational Foundation, BioElectroMed Corp., a gift from Frank Reidy and with internal funds of the Reidy Center. Back to top

Schiavilla is winner of university’s 2006 Research Award
Rocco Schiavilla, professor of physics and a senior staff scientist at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, is the recipient of Old Dominion’s 22nd annual Faculty Research Achievement Award.

The award plaque and $1,000 check were presented at the awards ceremony of Research Expo 2006 on April 5.

A nuclear theorist who studied and did research in Italy and France before joining the ODU faculty in 1993, Schiavilla received the rank of professor in 2002.

He has published more than 100 articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings. These publications have been cited more than 2,300 times, reflecting his groundbreaking contributions to nuclear physics, said Gail Dodge, chair of the physics department. “He has a very strong international reputation as one of the leading nuclear theorists of our time,” she said.

Schiavilla’s theoretical insights have inspired experiments at the Jefferson Lab that provided science with a new understanding of the nucleus of the atom. His model of the interactions between two nucleons is now referred to as the “standard nuclear model.”

From 2002 through 2005 he co-authored 18 refereed papers, edited one refereed conference proceedings, gave 12 invited talks (six of them outside the United States) and presented 11 seminars and colloquia. Schiavilla was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2002 “for advancing the theory of nuclei as systems of nucleons bound together by two- and three-body forces, and particularly for studies of their electroweak interaction.”

Dodge, a nuclear experimentalist affiliated with the Jefferson Lab, said Schiavilla’s contributions are not limited to research and scholarship. “We have seen the same high quality and integrity in his teaching and service work.”

A native of Italy, Schiavilla studied at Università di Pisa before coming to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for his doctorate. Back to top

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to speak at morning commencement
Wolf Blitzer, the anchor of CNN’s afternoon news program “The Situation Room” and host of “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer,” a Sunday talk show seen in more than 200 countries and territories, will be the speaker for ODU’s morning commencement program on May 6.

The speaker for the afternoon program had not been confirmed by press time.

The morning ceremony, for graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters, Engineering and Technology and Sciences, will begin at 9 a.m. at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Exercises for graduates from the colleges of Business and Public Administration, Educa-tion and Health Sciences begin at 2 p.m. Back to top

Future of local ports is topic for April 15 lecture
Art W. Moye Jr., executive vice president of the Hampton Roads Maritime Association, will give a talk April 15 titled “Future of Hampton Roads Ports.”

Sponsored by Town-N-Gown, Moye’s timely lecture will cover international trade, transportation and port security. Free and open to the public, it is scheduled for 2 p.m. in 1005 Constant Hall.

For more information call 423-3765. Back to top

Registration opens for CLT Summer Institute
Faculty who want to get a jump on integrating technology into that special course are encouraged to register soon for the Center for Learning Technologies Summer Institute, to be held May 22-24.

It opens with a technology fair where participants can see various technologies and faculty innovations in action, including online testing, online presentation (both faculty and student), emerging technologies and clickers (personal response systems).

Stephen C. Ehrmann, director of the Flashlight Program and vice president of the TLT Group, will be the keynote speaker.

On the final two days, faculty can select from the following three tracks, in addition to the joint sessions:

  • Information Track – Hear more about the various technologies demonstrated at the technology fair, which can be used in face-to-face, online or hybrid courses;
  • Lab Track – Work hands-on with the technologies; and
  • Blackboard Track – Bring your course materials and build your course(s).

To register, go to For more information call 683-3172.
Back to top

History department launches new database
The history department recently launched a new database that identifies and provides essential biographical information about the 454 heads of state who have ruled the five countries of Central America since the 1820s (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua).

The Central American Political History Database, located at, is available in both English and Spanish.

The project was funded by ODU’s Center for Learning Technologies. Data were collected by graduate and undergraduate students who worked under the supervision of Robert H. Holden, associate professor of Latin American history.

“The database is, I believe, a unique reference tool – nothing like it can be found in print or on the Web,” Holden said. Back to top

CSEEP program honored
ODU’s Commonwealth Special Education Endorsement Program(CSEEP) has been awarded the 2006 American Council for Rural Special Education Exemplary Program award.

“We are all very proud of the contributions of this program to children with disabilities all across the commonwealth of Virginia,” said William H. Graves, dean of the Darden College of Education. “And, we are especially proud of our faculty and staff who have worked so very hard to make the program a successful one.”

The CSEEP program was created through a grant from the Virginia Department of Education. It allows those already teaching special education in public schools to take a condensed, distance learning course for just $100 per class.

“Teachers stay in place, teaching, while becoming significantly more effective,” said grant director Steve Tonelson. “It overcomes being geographically and financially bound while providing the same coursework, knowledge and skills obtained in traditional programs.”

Since its inception in 1998 the program has resulted in 800 fully accredited special education teachers in the public school systems. Back to top

Theta Chi recognized for community volunteer work
The ODU chapter of Theta Chi has been named a Hampton Roads Volunteer Achievement Award winner by Volunteer Hampton Roads. The fraternity will be honored April 26 during a ceremony at the Norfolk Marriott Waterside.

Theta Chi was recognized for its continual support of For Kids, a nonprofit organization designed to help underprivileged children in the region.

Volunteer Hampton Roads is a resource center that works with more than 500 nonprofit organizations in the region to strengthen the community by connecting people with volunteer opportunities. Back to top

History graduate students win awards for papers
Three graduate students in history won awards for their papers at the Virginia regional meeting of Phi Alpha Theta chapters March 25 at Virginia Military Institute. Students from 11 colleges and universities in Virginia participated in the conference.

The ODU winners and the titles of their papers are:

  • Justin Harrell, first place for “Reformation in Rice Country: Assessing the Impact of the Reformed Society of Israelites on the Jews of the American South.”
  • Troy Valos, second place for “Virginia Was The Place: Study of Natural History in Colonial America, 1584 to 1776.”
  • Reverie N. Rowlett, honorable mention for “Exhortation of the Captives: Christianity and Nineteenth Century Blacks.” Back to top

Alumni golf tournament open to campus community
The Alumni Association’s 5th Annual Golf Tournament, scheduled for April 28 at Riverfront Golf Club in Suffolk, is open to all members of the campus community.

The entry fee is $100 per person and $400 per foursome. Proceeds will support the Alumni Association scholarship program.

The four-person, best-ball event will begin with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. Access to the driving range and lunch are included in the registration fee, as well as an awards reception in the clubhouse following the tournament.

A new feature this year will be a Helicopter Ball Drop, where one lucky raffle participant will have a chance to win a $500 prize. Other contests are planned as well.

To register or for more information call 683-3097. Back to top

CVC campaign records highest total ever
Old Dominion’s Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign, which raises money statewide for charitable organizations each year, received two awards last month in Richmond.

The campaign was recognized with a Gold Award for its participation rate of 37.43 percent and a Pinnacle Award for contributions totaling $135,895, the university’s highest total ever.

“When you figure that ODU alone provided 3 percent of the gross collected statewide, that’s pretty darn good since there are hundreds of agencies that were part of the campaign,” said Phyllis Fryer Brown, who co-chaired the university campaign. Back to top

SFSP makes contribution
The Norfolk-Tidewater chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals recently contributed $1,000 to ODU’s Insurance and Financial Services Center at the center’s annual founders’ day luncheon.

The contribution will be used for scholarships to deserving junior or senior marketing majors in risk and insurance from the College of Business and Public Administration. Back to top

Board approves tuition and fee increases
Revisions made to policy on naming emeriti faculty

Old Dominion will raise its annual tuition and fees for in-state undergraduate students by 8.6 percent, effective with the summer 2006 term. The university’s Board of Visitors approved the increase at its April 7 meeting.

Full-time, in-state undergraduate students will pay $6,098 for 30 credit hours, a $484 increase over this year’s rate. In-state graduate students will have an 8.1 percent increase in tuition and fees, paying $7,028 for 24 credits. Room and board rates will increase 5.5 percent, or $323.

Robert L. Fenning, vice president for administration and finance, noted that the new tuition and fee structure is based upon the university’s six-year financial and academic plans and enrollment goals.

“Raising tuition and fee rates for our students is a difficult decision,” Fenning said. “A lot of planning and consideration of the fiscal impact these increases would have on our students went into this decision. In setting these costs, we strove to be as affordable as possible while meeting increasing ongoing costs and supporting the university’s strategic plan.”

Out-of-state undergraduate students will see an 8.2 percent increase in yearly tuition and fees, to $16,658; out-of-state graduate students will pay $17,358 for 24 credits, or 8.1 percent more than in 2005-06.

In other action, the board approved the granting of the title of emeritus to the following faculty: William S. Bartolotta, music; Keith A. Carson, biological sciences; William H. Crouch, information technology and decision sciences; Glenn A. Gerdin, electrical and computer engineering; Shunichi Toida, computer science; and John E. Turner, occupational and technical studies.

The board also approved revisions to the university policy on emeritus appointments, including one that states, “To be eligible for an emeritus appointment, a faculty member shall be recommended by the provost and vice president for academic affairs.” Previously, recommendations came from a department chair and were approved by the dean.

Another change will allow the award to go to full-time tenured faculty upon their retirement instead of the previous requirement that the retiring faculty member must have served the university for a minimum of 10 consecutive years prior to retirement.

The board also approved:

  • The creation of a bachelor of science degree in professional writing in the College of Arts and Letters. It is the expansion of an existing concentration under the B.S. degree in interdisciplinary studies into a stand-alone degree program.
  • A name change for the administrative unit that provides student support, counseling and out-of-class student activities and educational experiences from Student Services to Student Affairs. In addition, the title of Vice President for Student Services and Dean of Students will be changed to Vice President for Student Affairs.
  • The appointment of Michael P. Gembitsky, a junior philosophy major from Norfolk, as the student representative to the Board of Visitors for 2006-07. Gembitsky, who is minoring in political science, currently serves as executive vice president of ODU’s Interfraternity Council and vice president of programming for Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. Back to top

CLT awards Faculty Innovator Grants
The Center for Learning Technologies recently awarded seven Faculty Innovator Grants to faculty members from three of ODU’s six academic colleges.

The grant program encourages faculty to explore the use of technology in teaching and learning issues that are targets for improvement and innovation. Proposals involving collaboration of two or more faculty members from the same department, or different departments in the same or different colleges, were encouraged. Grant amounts ranged from $1,500 to $3,000.

“The lessons learned by Faculty Innovator Grant recipients will be shared as an important step in promoting or fostering a campuswide dialogue on innovation in teaching and learning,” said M’hammed Abdous, CLT director.

The final report for each grant can be viewed on the CLT Web site through May. Recipients will also present their completed projects as part of the center’s series of workshops, panels and special events.

The winners for 2006 are:

  • “CATHIE: Computer Agents Teaching Helping Interactions Effectively” – Amy B. Adcock, educational curriculum and instruction; Molly Duggan, educational leadership and counseling; and Lee Belfore, electrical and computer engineering.
  • “Creation of Training Video on Gender-Aware Counseling” – Garrett J. McAuliffe, educational leadership and counseling.
  • “Beyond the Butterfly Effect: An Introduction to Simulation” – David C. Earnest, political science and geography, and Ghaith Rabadi, engineering management and systems engineering.
  • “Strategies for Success: Caregiving for Aging Parents and Children Video” – Radha Horton-Parker and Charles Fawcett, educational leadership and counseling.
  • “Enhancing Motor Skill Assessment Through Video Motion Analysis” – Linda Gagen, and James Onate, exercise science, sport, physical education and recreation.
  • “iPods, Podcasting and Podagogy: The New Generation of Technology for Foreign Language Education” – Betty Rose Facer, Rosa Motta, Angelica J. Huizar, Stephen Foster and Mieko Ishibashi, foreign languages and literatures.
  • “Developing a Wikibook as an Interactive Text Alternative” – Dwight W. Allen and Patrick M. O’Shea, educational curriculum and instruction. Back to top

Creo to perform for Diehn Concert Series
Creo, ODU’s contemporary-music ensemble, will perform a series of chamber works by noted British composer Tom Johnson as part of the Diehn Concert Series at 8 p.m. April 24 and 25.

The program, in Chandler Recital Hall of the Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center, will include “Kientzy Loops,” ”Eggs and Baskets” and “Verses for Percussion,” as well as Johnson’s chamber opera “The Four Note Opera.”

Unlike other operas, “The Four Note Opera” has no plot, the story line is quite distinct from the words the performers actually sing and it uses only four notes, A, B, D and E. Each company is required to write its own scenario and to alter the text where appropriate.

Johnson describes it as “part absurdist, part minimalist, part satiric and part simple comedy.”

Tickets for the performance are $15 for general admission; $10 for Old Dominion faculty and staff, senior citizens and non-ODU students; and $7 for ODU students with ID. Tickets may be purchased at the door, at the Arts and Letters Box Office in the Diehn Center atrium or by calling 683-5305.

The Diehn Concert Series is supported by a grant from the Diehn Fund of The Norfolk Foundation. Back to top

ODU baseball team ranked 15th nationally
The ODU baseball team, winners of 18 straight games, moved up to No. 15 in the Baseball America Top 25 rankings and to No. 18 in the Collegiate Baseball News Top 25 early this month. These are the highest rankings for the program since April 14, 1986, when the Monarchs were listed 12th by Baseball America.

After defeating Maryland and sweeping JMU, ODU saw its win streak end April 7 with an 8-7 loss at Hofstra.

The 18-game streak ties the longest single-season Division I mark for ODU. The 1985 squad, which won the Sun Belt title, also won 18 straight. The longest overall single-season ODU mark is 21, set by the 1964 Monarchs who won the NCAA Division II East Regionals.

ODU opens a three-game homestand against Northeastern at 7 p.m. April 14. Back to top

Senate proposes changes to continuance policy
The Faculty Senate on March 14 voted unanimously to recommend changes in the current Regulations for Continuance for Undergraduate Students policy. The changes have been forwarded to Provost Thomas Isenhour.

Among the proposed changes are the issuance of an “academic warning” instead of “probation” after the first time a student’s GPA falls below 2.0. According to the senate’s Student Services Committee, the new identifier suggests a more serious consequence.

The revised policy would also simplify the current Continuance Rules Table, which the committee said is confusing to students, faculty and advisers.

“The same academic warning and suspension standard (minimum 2.0 term GPA) applies to everyone, regardless of earned hours or whether they are degree or non-degree seeking. Academic warning and suspension are determined by grade point average only under the new policy,” the committee stated.

The proposed policy also recommends that academic suspension may take place during the fall, spring or summer term, and that a second academic suspension constitutes a one-year rather than two-year separation.

The senate’s next meeting will be at 3 p.m. April 18 in the Portsmouth/Chesapeake Room of Webb Center. Back to top

Marketing prof analyzes nonprofit giving behavior

With so many choices, what motivates a donor to give to a certain charity? With such a saturated market, how do nonprofits make themselves stand out?

John B. Ford, professor of marketing in the College of Business and Public Administra-tion, examines these and other critical questions for nonprofit organizations in a recent article published in the Journal of Business Research.

Published in February, the article is titled “Perceptual Determinants of Nonprofit Giving Behavior.” After receiving a $50,000 grant from the Aspen Institute in Denver, Ford and his colleagues, Adrian Sargeant of Bristol Business School and Douglas C. West of the University of Birmingham, both in the United Kingdom, surveyed more than 1,300 U.S. charity givers to determine giving patterns and motivation.

The study, which analyzes why people give, breaks it down to two basic factors: the perceived benefit of a gift and the reputation of the organization itself.

Aside from a familial or personal connection, trust is a major factor that improves the likelihood of giving. For a nonprofit, the issue then becomes how to build a relationship of trust with its most important constituents.

Ford says, “Communication is key. These organizations should share how each gift has made a difference.” He notes, however, that nonprofits are not always effective at communicating the benefits of giving on an individual level, thus personalizing their mission.

According to Ford, nonprofits often fall into the trap of promoting donors to leadership positions as a way to reward their dedication. This, more often than not, fails the organization in that a great donor does not always translate into a great leader.

“It is up to the nonprofit to nurture these relationships by demonstrating fiscal and program success,” says Ford.

He found that a major problem for nonprofits is lack of funding to build outreach programs to communicate organizational mission. “In order to be fiscally responsible on a limited budget, nonprofit organizations must often cut back on services vital to their mission.”

The struggle for nonprofits lies in remaining altruistic to the core values of the organization and keeping a tight budget in the black. “This proves to be a leap of faith for many nonprofits,” says Ford. “It’s not an easy task, but we have found that they have to give to get and spend to make.” Back to top

Runte honored by NCCJ and YWCA
President Roseann Runte was honored recently with two prestigious awards. On April 5, she received the 42nd Annual Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), and the next day was presented the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award.

According to the criteria for the Humanitarian Award, honorees must be “respected throughout the community with work and/or activities that have facilitated understanding among people of different religious faiths, ethnic groups and racial groups. People are chosen for helpful contributions toward better understanding among all people, either through association with NCCJ or its goals and ideals, by opposing bias, bigotry and racism through community efforts.”

Further, recipients include those who have “made an identifiable creative achievement and/or a significant contribution toward the improvement of human relations, social welfare and justice, and the quality of life of the people in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

The YWCA award follows a similar set of precepts, only as specifically applied to work furthering the state of women in the community.

In her nomination letter to the YWCA award committee, Nancy A. Bagranoff, dean of the College of Business and Public Administration, said, “Dr. Runte once explained to me that while she loved the opportunities she had as a faculty member to mentor and help many students individually, she sees her role as a university leader and administrator as one that lets her impact a much larger population.” Back to top

Recent books by faculty authors examine theater, film and television
One faculty member from the English department and two from communication and theatre arts have recently published books on subjects related to theater, film and television.

Jeffrey H. Richards, professor, of English, has written “Drama, Theatre, and Identity in the American New Republic” (Cambridge University Press) for the Cambridge Studies in American Theater and Drama series.

He examines a variety of phenomena connected to the stage, including closet Revolutionary political plays, British drama on American boards, American-authored stage plays, and poetry and fiction by early Republican writers.

Richards views American theatre as a transatlantic hybrid in which British theatrical traditions provide material and templates by which Americans express themselves and their relationship to others. Through intensive analysis of plays, his book confronts matters of political, ethnic and cultural identity by moving from play text to theatrical context and from historical event to audience demography.

Gary R. Edgerton, chair of communication and theatre arts, and Brian G. Rose are co-editors of “Thinking Outside the Box: A Contemporary Television Genre Reader” (University Press of Kentucky). The book brings together some of the best and most challenging scholarship about TV genres, exploring their genesis, their functions and development, and the interaction of disparate genres.

The authors argue that genre is a process rather than a static category and that it signifies much about the people who produce and watch the shows. In addition to considering traditional genres such as sitcoms, soap operas and talk shows, the contributors explore new hybrids, including reality programs.

Kyle H. Nicholas, assistant professor of communication and theatre arts, has co-edited, with Jorgen Riber Christensen of Aalborg University in Denmark, “Open Windows: Remediation Strategies in Global Film Adaptations” (Aalborg University Press).

The book evokes an emerging media-scape in which novels, comics, television, music, video games and other media are continuously repurposed and recirculated. Notes Nicholas: “Remediation is perhaps most easily seen in our interactions with digital media on the Web, where multiple windows featuring multimedia can be manipulated at once. Texts are ‘open’ in many ways, as they invite multiple readings and referencing to previous iterations.”

The text features nine chapters, including an introduction by Nicholas, and a CD-ROM featuring relevant scenes from each of the films discussed. Back to top

Old Dominion hosting NATO symposium on 21st-century security
Old Dominion, NATO Allied Command Transformation and the Embassy of Canada will join forces to sponsor a symposium on campus April 25 titled “Meeting the Challenges of 21st Century Security.”

Approximately 100 military experts and academics are expected to attend, including speakers from European and North American armed forces, as well as those from political and academic arenas.

The first session will examine the dangers of the new threat environment, while the second session will be devoted to consideration of the most promising avenues for allied adaptation.

The symposium is being held in conjunction with the Azalea Festival. For more information call 683-5759. Back to top

Life in the shadows: ACE Fellow learns administrative ropes in higher ed by observing President Runte

A chemistry major in college, Fred Bonner was all set to go on to dental school until one day during his senior year when he attended a seminar by an oral surgeon.

To illustrate his talk, the surgeon brought slides of his work – some graphic in nature – which he projected onto a screen. “I passed out,” Bonner said, “and decided at that moment that the dentistry route wouldn’t do.”

Fortunately, he has not been similarly dissuaded from a possible future job as a college president after having “shadowed” President Roseann Runte since August of last year under a fellowship from the American Council on Education (ACE).

He has, though, gained an appreciation for the time and dedication one must devote to running a higher education institution.

“The first thing that hit me was that the president is always busy,” he said. “From observing her, there’s not a moment in the day that she’s not thinking about what she can do to better the institution. As faculty, we can kind of move in and move out – you have down time. She’s constantly thinking about how to move the institution forward.”

Bonner, who established and taught in the educational leadership and policy studies department at the University of Texas at San Antonio before his selection as an ACE Fellow, also has learned about the many pieces to the puzzle she has to fit together, including one very large piece for those who head public institutions.

“It’s been interesting to observe the dance and intricacies of working with state legislators,” Bonner said. “The whole Richmond experience is like a totally different world.

“A president has to think globally about higher education in general, about what you’re doing both nationally and for the state, but also about your slice of the pie, and how all those things fit together. It has been interesting to see how President Runte has been able to effectively put all the disparate pieces together into a whole.”

An associate professor, Bonner, 36, is one of about 40 college professors and administrators who were selected for the 2005-06 ACE Fellows Program. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of North Texas, a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Baylor University and a doctorate in higher education administration and college teaching from the University of Arkansas. In the fall, he will join the education faculty at Texas A&M University.

With its goal of developing future chief executives of the nation’s universities, the ACE Fellows Program allows participants to immerse themselves in the culture, policies and decision-making processes of another institution. Bonner estimates that he spends, on average, eight to 10 hours a week shadowing Runte. He attends the weekly president’s cabinet meetings, her meetings with the vice presidents and occasional individual meetings with various members of the campus community. He also sits in on the provost’s cabinet meetings, as well as meetings and training sessions run by Vice President for Student Affairs Dana Burnett, who is Bonner’s secondary mentor at ODU.

Bonner said he and Runte meet once a week, typically for 30 to 45 minutes on Friday, to debrief and identify upcoming meetings that she thinks would be a good learning experience for him.

He values the times when they can meet one-on-one. “I’ve learned a lot in the formal meetings, but I’ve probably learned more in our drives from here to Richmond and back than I have in 10 meetings,” he said. “And that’s one of the things ACE mentions: seize those opportunities for a lot of uninterrupted time.”

Asked what characteristics one needs to possess to be a successful president, Bonner noted the ability to listen, a sense of caring and compassion and being able to communicate your vision. He had also thought a thick skin would be helpful, considering the many different publics a president must deal with on a daily basis, but he said Runte offered a different take on that.

“In one of our conversations on the way to Richmond, I asked her how she develops that thick skin. But she said she doesn’t like to think of it that way, because if you have a thick skin you lose your ability for compassion and caring. She said she prefers to find the good in every person, then start with that and work your way out.”

As part of his fellowship, Bonner is required to do research in some areas of higher education that his home institution, A&M, would like him to learn more about. Before he leaves in June, he will have developed reports on the following: multiculturalism and diversity, honors colleges and issues related to aging faculty.

Bonner said Old Dominion is also particularly interested in the latter, and he is in the process of conducting focus groups on campus to find out what the issues are in terms of retirement, renewal and revitalization.

Among the questions under consideration, he said, are: “What does a faculty member do once that individual is 65 years old and still wants to work for another 10 years? Are there things the university should be doing, or can do, to actually ensure those individuals are still interested and still productive? And are we making an assumption (that one’s interest and productivity wane with age)?”

Then there is the question, from the fiscal management perspective, of what is appropriate and feasible in terms of offering retirement incentives.

“This is going to be one of the major issues on the horizon for higher education,” Bonner said, “because there are some institutions where more than 60 percent – even approaching 70 percent – of their faculty are 60 to 65 years old.”

With Runte’s encouragement, Bonner has also devoted some of his time here to professional development. His research thus far has resulted in six publications, including one that will appear in the next edition of ODU’s own Journal of Race & Policy.

“Dr. Bonner’s expertise in the field of higher education, his energy, talents and personality make him very well suited for a leadership role as president of a university,” said Runte, who has now hosted four ACE Fellows, including three from South Africa, since she has been at Old Dominion.

“It has been both a pleasure and a privilege to work with him. His research will not only serve us well at Old Dominion University but will constitute a significant contribution to higher education in North America.”

Bonner said he definitely is still interested in a college presidency one day, ideally at a small-to-medium-sized liberal arts institution. “More short-term, I have to put in that full professorship before I really want to start seriously looking at moving up in administration. I am invested in what I do on the faculty side and really want to have all of my stripes as a faculty member before I move into administration.”

He also is convinced that he made the right decision years ago to go into education.

“I think working at a college or university is the best job on earth,” Bonner said, the passion unmistakable in his voice. “I love the setting, I’m a lifelong learner and I enjoy being able to connect with the academy, to connect with the students. I come alive here. This is a good fit for me.” Back to top

Add your name to 75th anniversary time capsule on Spirit Day, April 20
On April 20, 2006 – and for the next 25 years – time will stand still on the Old Dominion campus, at least inside a 34-inch x 14-inch x 14-inch bolted, stainless steel capsule.

Over the past month, the Office of University Events has been collecting ODU memorabilia from throughout the university community to be placed inside the time capsule, which will be buried on campus later this year at a site still to be determined. Marking the site will be a plaque with instructions that the capsule be opened during ODU’s 100th anniversary year in 2030-31.

Faculty, staff and students are invited to leave their own marks for posterity, in the form of signatures on paw-covered sheets, during a Spirit Day ceremony on Kaufman Mall at 12:30 p.m. April 20. Once the sheets are signed, they will be the last items to go in the capsule. The ceremony, dubbed “A Pawprint in Time,” will be the closing event for ODU’s 75th anniversary year.

Linda Adkins, associate director for university events, has been collecting items for the time capsule, everything from current-year ODU publications to a letter from President Roseann Runte to the university president in 2030.

“Of the hundreds of events I’ve worked with since I’ve been at ODU, the time capsule event has been one of the most interesting, informative and lots of fun. I like seeing what the ODU community is planning on putting into the capsule as their ‘pawprint’ and have enjoyed imagining that I am one of those lucky people who gets to open it in 25 years.”

Other items solicited and contributed to date include:

  • CD of Adolphus Hailstork’s 75th anniversary composition, “The Lion’s Roar”;
  • Letter from Frank Batten, ODU’s first rector;
  • Copies of the latest master plan for campus construction and strategic plan;
  • Drawings showing the evolution of Big Blue;
  • Monarch Maniac T-shirt;
  • CD of current-year campus pictures and the 2005-06 university video; and
  • Recruitment materials from the Office of Admissions. Back to top

HACE luncheon: Ash to speak on prospects of travel to Mars
Robert L. Ash, associate vice president for research and economic development and noted expert on Mars, will be the guest speaker for the Hourly and Classified Employees Association annual luncheon May 9.

Ash, also an eminent scholar of aerospace engineering who has studied the red planet for nearly 30 years, will speak on “Prospects of Human Travel to Mars.”

In the late 1970s, he and a colleague at Jet Propulsion Laboratory originated in situ resource utilization (including oxygen production) for round-trip Mars missions. It is currently considered to be NASA’s baseline approach for future human travel to the planet.

The luncheon program will also include a talk by Kathy Williamson, employee relations manager, on plans for conducting HACE focus groups; the presentation of the HACE Rookie and Staff Member of the Year awards; and the installation of officers for the coming year.

Fliers announcing the luncheon, including a registration form, were distributed via campus mail. The registration deadline is May 2. Back to top

Students gain appreciation for nature during Alternative Spring Break

One week at Cayo Costa State Park, an island off the west coast of Florida near Boca Grande, was not long enough for me (as well as my fellow program participants).

Camping out with no electricity and pinching on food because raccoons (or pigs) had devoured our early supply, we were surely closer to nature than we are used to, coming from the urban area of Norfolk.

That week, we were responsible for collecting trash, maintaining and clearing trails and cleaning along the beaches, but the staff took great care of us as well. The park ranger treated us all to an evening of shark fishing on the beach, followed by a delicious dinner at his house.

We kayaked along the bay and saw manatees; were given a personal “star show” by a staff member well versed in astronomy; and were invited to a picnic on the last day of our stay.

Being on the island for five days sharpened our appreciation for nature’s simple and exquisite beauty. The park staff and volunteers truly care for the upkeep of the environment, and their love of the island is apparent.

The surrounding aquamarine waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the countless palms and the unique exotics (our favorite was the Resurrection Fern, which looks like a dead weed most of the time but comes back to vibrant life after a gentle rain) all encompassed an unimaginable closeness to nature.

Our experience was unmatched in rewards. We all learned to appreciate nature’s oft-overlooked beauty a little more, and we were welcomed by our hosts as old friends.

We felt like we hadn’t done enough for the island and its caring residents. This is how all service experiences should leave its participants. Without a doubt, ODU has found a treasure of a place for Alternative Spring Break.

(Editor’s note: Pam Majumdar, a senior civil engineering major from Virginia Beach, was the site leader for her Alternative Spring Break trip. The program, headed by Cricket Denton, coordinator for community service, is sponsored by the Office of Student Activities and Leadership to give students an opportunity to perform short-term projects in other communities. Another group of 12 ODU students spent their week in New Orleans, where they cleaned out homes, churches and warehouses damaged by Hurricane Katrina and passed out school supplies. “So that we could know just a little of what the residents experienced following the storm, we slept in tents on cots, took cold showers and ate camp-style meals,” said ODU student Naaila Gray.)

“Moderate intensity exercise is good, and vigorous intensity is actually better. People should know that.” (David Swain, professor exercise science, sport, physical education and recreation)

– “Want to get moving: You can do it for science”
The Virginian-Pilot, April 3

“Any tournament has its own momentum. There’s certainly room in college basketball for two national tournaments. And the NIT was around before the NCAA, so it’s got tremendous history.” (Blaine Taylor, men’s basketball coach)

– “NIT ‘good stuff’ for ODU”
Daily Press, March 25

“Joint academic and medical research yields not only new discovery but economic development as new companies are created and others relocate to the area. Ongoing collaborations between ODU and EVMS should benefit everyone.” (Tom Isenhour, provost, in a letter to the editor)

– “Collaborative research is the wave of the future”
The Virginian-Pilot, March 22

“I think this year was easier because last year I didn’t know what to expect. The first 15 miles are easy, but the last 4 or 5 you have to be able to gut it out because it hurts.” (Renee High, a nursing student, who was the top finisher for women in the 34th annual Shamrock Marathon)

– “ODU’s High flies in marathon”
The Virginian-Pilot, March 20

“The problem is, this is going to require money and regulating people and changing lifestyles.” (Margaret Mulholland, assistant professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences)

– “The Bay: Algae is a killer”
Inside Business, March 13

“There are situations where all of us have taken a second look at somebody.” (John R. Broderick, vice president for institutional advancement)

– “Admissions rejections: A Senate bill would have
changed the fact that students who don’t make the cut are rarely told why”
Daily Press, March 10
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