“Hardball’s” Chris Matthews, columnist Leonard Pitts to address May graduates
Old Dominion graduates will receive words of wisdom from two nationally known figures, along with their diplomas, at spring commencement exercises Saturday, May 10, at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

Leonard Pitts Jr., nationally syndicated columnist with the Miami Herald, will address graduates from the colleges of Business and Public Administration, Education and Sciences at the 9 a.m. ceremony. Chris Matthews, the host of MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” will speak to graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters, Engineering and Technology and Health Sciences at 2 p.m.

Approximately 3,160 May and August graduates will be eligible to take part in the ceremonies.

Matthews’ “Hardball” airs Monday through Friday at 5 and 7 p.m. He is also the host of “The Chris Matthews Show,” a syndicated weekly news program produced by NBC News, and is a regular commentator on NBC’s “Today” show.

Matthews has distinguished himself as a broadcast journalist, newspaper bureau chief, presidential speechwriter and best-selling author. He covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first all-races election in South Africa and the Good Friday Peace Talks in Northern Ireland. In 1997 and 1998, his digging in the National Archives produced a series of San Francisco Examiner scoops on the Nixon presidential tapes.

He has covered American presidential election campaigns since 1988, including the five-week recount of 2000.

In March 2004, Matthews received the David Brinkley Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism. He has also been awarded the Abraham Lincoln Award from the Union League of Philadelphia and in 2005 he received the Gold Medal Award from the Pennsylvania Society.

Matthews worked for 15 years as a print journalist, 13 of them as Washington bureau chief for The San Francisco Examiner (1987-2000), and two years as a national columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle.

Prior to that, he spent 15 years in politics and government, working in the White House for four years under President Jimmy Carter as a speechwriter and on the President’s Reorganization Project, in the U.S. Senate for five years on the staffs of senators Frank Moss (Utah) and Edmund Muskie (Maine), and as the top aide to Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr. for six years.

Matthews is the author of four best-selling books, including “American: Beyond Our Grandest Notions” (2002), a New York Times best seller. A graduate of Holy Cross College, he did graduate work in economics at the University of North Carolina.

Pitts joined The Miami Herald in 1991 as its pop music critic. Since 1994, he has penned a syndicated column of commentary on pop culture, social issues and family life. His most recent book, “Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood,” was released in 1999.

Pitts was awarded the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary and was a finalist for the Pulitzer in 1992. He has also been honored by many other organizations for his commentary, including the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He is a five-time recipient of the National Headliners Award. In 2001, he received the American Society of Newspaper Editors prestigious ASNE Award for Commentary Writing and was named Feature of the Year-Columnist by Editor and Publisher magazine. In 2002, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists awarded Pitts its inaugural Columnist of the Year award. Also in 2002, GLAAD Media awarded Pitts the Outstanding Newspaper Columnist award.

Twice each week, millions of newspaper readers around the country seek out his columns. His initial column on the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, “We’ll Go Forward From This Moment,” an angry and defiant open letter to the terrorists, circulated the globe via the Internet. It generated upwards of 30,000 e-mails, and has since been set to music and reprinted in poster form. Back to top

Kim Phuc, icon of Vietnam War, will give Wallenberg Lecture April 22
Kim Phuc, whose photograph as a young girl helped change the way the world looked at the Vietnam War, and war in general, will give the Marc and Connie Jacobson Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian lecture at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, in the Mills Godwin Jr. Building auditorium.

Kim was the 9-year-old girl photographed on June 8, 1972, screaming and running naked down a road near Saigon, her skin on fire with napalm. The photo, by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut, was transmitted around the world and later won a Pulitzer Prize.

After recovering from her ordeal, which she was not expected to survive, Kim was used by the communists in propaganda films and supervised daily as a “national symbol of war.” In 1992, she and her husband defected when their plane, which was returning to Havana from Moscow, stopped to refuel in Newfoundland. Today, Kim lives near Toronto.

When Vietnam veterans groups heard of Kim’s whereabouts, they invited her to participate at a service in Washington, D.C., as part of a Veterans Day observance. She agreed because she wanted to share her experience and help others heal from the pain of war. While there, she spoke with a veteran who coordinated the air strike on her village, and she forgave him.

In recognition of Kim’s struggle, a foundation has been established to further heal the wounds of war. The Kim Foundation is a nonprofit organization that is committed to funding programs to heal children in war-torn areas of the world.

In 1997 UNESCO named her a Good-will Ambassador for Culture of Peace. Back to top

Glenda Humphreys named vice president for HR
President Roseann Runte announced on Monday, April 7, the appointment of Glenda Humphreys as vice president for human resources.

Humphreys has worked at Old Dominion for more than 23 years, including the last 12 as director of human resources. She joined the university in 1984 as employee relations manager and was promoted to associate director of human resources in 1991. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of William and Mary and an M.B.A. from Old Dominion.

“This appointment represents both a promotion, recognizing the excellence of her service, and an expansion of her duties to include hiring across the campus,” Runte said in a campus-wide e-mail. “This will enable us to standardize some procedures and to attain a greater level of efficiency.”

Also in her letter, Runte announced that Geneva Walker-Johnson’s title will change to dean of students and chief student affairs officer. “Her position description will remain the same. The title more appropriately reflects her responsibilities,” said Runte. Walker-Johnson previously held the title of interim vice president for student affairs.

In addition, Runte announced that the athletic department will now report to John R. Broderick, vice president for institutional advancement and chief of staff. The department previously reported to the president. “This follows the reporting line adopted by many universities and assures continuity as a new president arrives,” she said.

“I am making these adjustments to assure the continued good functioning of the university and the ongoing amelioration of our academic and professional status and reputation.” Back to top

Faculty, staff invited to Runte farewell event
Faculty and staff are invited to attend a “Bon Voyage!” farewell party for President Roseann Runte from 4-6 p.m. Monday, May 5, in the Big Blue Room of the Ted Constant Convocation Center. The event will begin with a reception from 4-5 p.m., followed by a farewell program.

RSVPs are requested by April 24 and should be made at 683-3116 or (code PRF08). Back to top

Faculty, visiting lecturers to sign books at Village store
Communication and theatre arts faculty Gary Edgerton and Jeff Jones, co-editors of “The Essential HBO Reader” (University Press of Kentucky), will sign copies of their new book at noon Tuesday, April 15, in the University Village Bookstore.

Also at the bookstore on Thursday, April 24, faculty co-authors Lawrence Weinstein (physics) and John Adam (mathematics) will sign copies of their newly published book, “Guesstimation: Solving the World’s Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin,” from noon to 2 p.m.

In addition, the bookstore will host book signings by two visiting lecturers this month. Kim Phuc whose photograph as a young girl helped change the way the world looked at the Vietnam War, will sign copies of her book, “The Girl in the Picture,” following her Marc and Connie Jacobson Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian lecture, which she will give at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, in the Mills Godwin Jr. Building auditorium.

Also on April 22, David Wagner, the author off “Caterpillars of Eastern North America: A Guide to Identification and Natural History,” will sign copies of his book following his lecture, scheduled for
6 p.m. in room 208 of Spong Hall.
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Tuition assistance program deadline May 1 for summer
Completed applications, including proof of registration, for the summer 2008 tuition assistance program must be in the Department of Human Resources by 5 p.m., Thursday, May 1, for the summer session and 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1, for the fall semester.

Eligible classified employees may receive assistance for up to 15 credit hours per year: six credit hours for the fall semester, six for the spring semester and three for the summer sessions at the in-state rate. Eligible part-time classified employees and hourly employees are eligible to receive 75 percent of the benefit or less (prorated upon the hours worked per 40-hour week).

Eligible faculty and faculty administrators will be awarded tuition support, not to exceed three credit hours per semester and three for the summer sessions at the in-state rate.

The tuition assistance program for dependents and spouses of employees is not available in the summer. Spouses and dependents of full-time faculty, full-time faculty administrators and full-time classified employees are eligible for tuition assistance for six credit hours in the fall semester (Aug. 1 deadline) and six in the spring semester (Dec. 1 deadline).

The benefit for the dependents and spouses of part-time classified and hourly employees will be prorated upon the hours worked per average 40-hour week, not to exceed 75 percent of the benefit.
The policies are available on the Web at:
For general information and application forms go to:

For questions or more information call Natalie Watson at 683-4237. Back to top

Lady Monarchs are tops in GPA among field hockey teams
The Lady Monarchs field hockey team was named a 2007 ZAG/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I National Academic Team Award winner after compiling a 3.68 cumulative grade point average as a squad, the highest GPA among all Division I field hockey programs.

Additionally, 18 members of the ODU team were named to the 2007 ZAG/NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad, also the most of any Division I field hockey program. It is the most Lady Monarchs named to an NFHCA All-Academic team in school history.

Five Lady Monarchs are making their second appearance on the all-academic team: Jo Ann Van Aswegen, a speech/language pathology major; Alyschia Conn, a chemistry major; Titia Beek, an international business major; Courtney Seiders, a speech pathology and audiology major; and Katelyn Smither, a health and physical education major.

Beek, Kelly Driscoll, Smither and van Aswegen were also standouts on the field, as well as the classroom, earning First Team All-CAA honors. Amanda Bieber and Loran Hatch, who were named to their first NFHCA All-Academic Team in their first season with the Lady Monarchs, also earned post-season honors. Both were named to the CAA’s All-Rookie team, with Hatch earning CAA Rookie of the Year honors.

Field hockey teams from American University and Indiana University tied for second place on the GPA list at 3.51. Back to top

International Festival set for April 12 on Kaufman Mall
A world of cultures will converge on the campus Saturday, April 12, when the Office of Multicultural Student Services hosts the first International Festival. Approximately 30 nations will be represented, with exhibits featuring cuisine, music, dance, folklore and other cultural traditions.

The festival is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Kaufman Mall. Visitors can take part in activities such as belly dancing from Egypt, for example, have a discussion over Thai cuisine, learn Polish folk dancing and hear a Filipino string band. Many local and national organizations, including the Tidewater Scottish Society, Peace Corps, Swedish Women’s Educational Association and Sons of Italy, will be represented.

An International Children’s Village, for ages 5-12, will feature an afternoon of cultural performances, face painting, temporary tattoos, a petting zoo, inflatables and obstacle course, dance, music, folk stories, puppets, origami, Bhangra danceing and much more.

The activities are free and open to the public; ethnic foods and other items will be on sale at the International Marketplace.

For more information call the Office of Multicultural Student Services at 683-4406 or go to In the event of rain, the festival will be moved inside the Big Blue Room at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Back to top

University Women’s Caucus honors President Runte
The University Women’s Caucus issued a proclamation making March 26 President Roseann Runte Appreciation Day.

The proclamation recognized Runte for her contributions to the advancement of women, and noted her record of serving diverse constituencies at Old Dominion; her collaboration in support of gender equity in salary, promotion and opportunity; and her actions to expand child care services and scholarships for women students.

As part of its expression of appreciation, the caucus contributed $500 in Runte’s name to the ODU Anita Clair Fellman Service Learning Scholarship Fund. Back to top

Coach Wilder is guest speaker for HACE luncheon May 14
Football head coach Bobby Wilder will be the guest speaker for the Hourly and Classified Employees Association annual luncheon on Wednesday, May 14.

The program will also include the installation of HACE officers for 2008-09.

The cost of the luncheon, which is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Hampton/Newport News Room of Webb Center, is $20. Invitations, including a registration form, were scheduled to be mailed earlier this week to all classified and hourly employees. Reservations are due by May 9.

For more information call Judy Smith, HACE president, at 683-3269. Back to top

Celebrate Earth Day April 22 on Kaufman Mall
Old Dominion’s celebration of Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22, will highlight the university’s on-campus environmental projects, research and initiatives that are aimed at creating a more sustainable environment.

Tables will be set up under a tent on Kaufman Mall from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (rain site is Webb Center’s North Mall).

Campus community groups that are interested in being a part of Earth Day may call 683-4495. Also, faculty, staff and students are invited to participate in Adopt-A-Stream cleanups along the Elizabeth and Lafayette rivers on Monday, April 21. To register call 683-4495. Back to top

New doctorate in engineering approved
Old Dominion will offer classes leading to a new practice-oriented doctoral degree in engineering, the first of its kind in Virginia, at the start of the fall 2008 semester. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia approved the program during its meeting at Longwood University on March 12.

The new degree program is aimed not at attracting teachers or researchers, but rather meeting the educational needs of practicing engineers who are seeking terminal degrees to prepare themselves for high-level engineering and leadership positions.

During the approval process, ODU officials said growing global demand for such expertise, and a future potential of shortages in the United States, spurred the proposed program.

“This program is designed for practicing engineers to gain further depth of knowledge and discipline with broader management skills for leadership positions,” said Oktay Baysal, dean of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology. “It is in line with the recommendations of the National Academies for the American competitiveness initiative.”

The degree requires a minimum of 48 credit hours of coursework beyond the graduate level. Specialization is available in four areas: aerospace engineering, civil and environmental engineering, engineering management and systems engineering, and mechanical engineering.

The eligibility requirements for regular admission to the new Doctor of Engineering program are: a minimum two years of engineering experience within the last five years and a master’s degree with a 3.5 or higher grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) in an appropriate field from an accredited institution of higher education.

The new program increases to 37 the number of doctoral programs ODU offers. Back to top

Largest optical solar telescope is subject of talk
Dave Dooling, who served as science editor of the Mace & Crown from 1971-73, will be back on campus Tuesday, April 15, to give a talk on “Building the World's Largest Optical Solar Telescope.”
Dooling, who is the education and public outreach officer at the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, N.M., will speak at 12:20 p.m. in room 100 of the Oceanography and Physics Building.

The solar physics community is preparing to build the 4-meter Advanced Technology Solar Telescope to dissect the origins and mechanisms of solar magnetic activity. First light is planned for 2016 when the telescope is completed at Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii. Back to top

Senate recommends change to policy on grade forgiveness
The Faculty Senate, at its March 18 meeting, voted on resolutions ranging from grade forgiveness to intellectual diversity.

The senate voted to recommend that a limit be placed on the current grade forgiveness policy, which allows students to repeat any number of courses in order to improve their overall grade point average. The senate has proposed that the policy be changed so that no more than five courses may be retaken in which a student has received a grade of C- or lower.

The rationale statement reads in part: “Some limitation on the number of hours available for grade forgiveness is necessary to preserve the academic integrity and reputation of ODU. Allowing wholesale grade forgiveness sends the wrong message to our students, encouraging them not to take all courses seriously the first time around.”

The senate also voted to recommend several changes to course policies, including:

  • Having faculty provide all students with evaluation of their progress in a course prior to midsemester (or the equivalent in a nonsemester course) so that students receive the information before the withdrawal deadline, which is the end of the 10th week of classes.
  • Moving the date for withdrawal from classes from the eighth week to the 10th week, which would give students more time to receive graded work in order to make decisions on whether to withdraw from a course, and university officials additional time to contact students for counseling or assistance.

In other action, the senate voted to recommend a resolution supporting intellectual freedom and opposing any administrative or legislative attempts to place restrictions on it.

The issue refers to a bill that was introduced during the 2006 Virginia General Assembly session, and which the Faculty Senate’s Committee G believes could be reintroduced.

The senate’s rationale statement says in part: “The concern is that the bill, while called intellectual diversity, actually discourages it. It does not solve any problem identified in the state though by its existence it suggests a problem exists. It does not define ‘intellectual diversity’ or ‘intellectual freedom.’ Since we do not know if the bill will come back or in what form, Committee G proposes a resolution that supports intellectual freedom and opposes any administrative or legislative attempts to place restrictions on it.”

For additional information about action taken at the March 18 meeting, visit The senate’s next meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, in the Portsmouth/Chesapeake Room of Webb Center. Back to top

ODU Libraries acquires papers on integration
The Old Dominion University Libraries announces the recent acquisition of a collection of materials from Norfolk Public Schools related to school integration from 1951 to 1993.

The papers include correspondence, court cases, school board resolutions, inter-district memoranda, press releases, reports, news clippings and district maps. The materials cover the 1958 school closings to prevent integration, integration progress in the 1960s, busing to achieve integration in the 1970s and the end of busing in the mid-1980s.

Among the most important historical materials is correspondence between Gov. Lindsay Almond and the school administration, beginning with the letter ordering the closing of six Norfolk schools as mandated by the state’s “Massive Resistance” law. Other letters from this time period discuss allowing groups to meet in those schools as long as the schools would not be used for educational purposes.

The donated material also includes school directories from 1922-23 and 1956-88 as well as school calendars from 1952-93.

For more information about the collection, contact Sonia Yaco, Special Collections librarian and university archivist, at 683-4483 or Back to top

Credit union celebrates 50 years of service
The Old Dominion University Credit Union celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. It was established as a state-chartered credit union in April 1958 when the university was known as the Norfolk Division of William and Mary. Robert St. Clair and Albert Teich Jr. were the individuals responsible for obtaining the charter.

Mr. St. Clair served as the first president while Mr. Teich served as vice president. When Mr. St. Clair left the college, Albert Teich became the credit union’s second president and served for 25 years. John Ramsey became the third president and served from 1985 to August 2004. I was elected as the fourth president in 2005.

The credit union was located at several places on campus until 1993 when it moved to its present location in the 2700 block of Hampton Boulevard. A branch office opened in Webb Center in November 2005.

The ODU Credit Union serves faculty, staff, students, alumni and members of their families. It also offers membership to several other institutions of higher education in the area. As a small credit union, it has served more than 9,000 individuals and presently has over 3,000 active members. It emphasizes personal service and meeting the needs of our members.

– Wayne Edwards
President, ODU Credit Union
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“Taste of India” festival returns April 20
The Asian Indian community in Hampton Roads will celebrate and share its heritage and culture from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, April 20, at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

The second annual “Taste of India” festival, which is free and open to the public, will highlight the culture, politics and history of India through live musical and dance performances, video displays, ethnic foods and a wide variety of exhibits and booths.

According to Vinod Agarwal, professor of economics and organizer of the event, “Taste of India” is one of the largest Asian Indian festivals in Virginia. “We had more than 7,000 attendees last year and we expect more than 10,000 this year,” he said.

The Asian Indian community plays an important role in the Hampton Roads region, Agarwal added, contributing $140 million annually to the local economy. “This community is represented by over 140 physicians, 50 Ph.D. scientists and engineers, many hotel and small-business owners and numerous software and IT professionals,” he said. “ODU alone has 28 professors of Asian Indian descent.”

This year’s festival will include a raffle for a new 2008 Mercedes E350 sedan. Proceeds from the sale of the $100 raffle tickets will go toward establishing two scholarships at ODU.

For more information about the festival visit or contact Agarwal at Back to top

Prof’s earliest-life research reviewed in journal Nature

The journal Nature published on March 6 a review highlighting the latest research on Earth's earliest life by Old Dominion geobiologist Nora Noffke. The article, which appears in the magazine’s News & Views section, is titled “Modern life in ancient mats” and is accompanied by photos of 3 billion-year-old rocks that Noffke discovered in eastern South Africa.

Noffke, an associate professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences, found the sandstones close to the village of Nhlazatse, South Africa. They contain spectacularly preserved geological structures that hold clues about the microbes believed to have been the planet’s first life forms.

Her research shows that microbially induced sedimentary structures (MISS), a term that her research has helped to coin, are very reliable biosignatures, contributing significantly to the information provided by other geobiological evidence in dating earliest life.

The Nature article, written by Michael M. Tice of Texas A&M University, focuses on three structures among Noffke’s find that “seem to point particularly conclusively to an overlying microbial mat” that existed nearly 3 billion years ago. “(The) find significantly augments the record of such structures from the Archaean eon,” the author states.

Revelations about the Nhlazatse discoveries were published originally in a special January 2008 issue of the journal Geobiology, providing some of the sturdiest evidence yet that life forms had colonized sandy coasts of Earth by the time of the Archean Age, which ended 2.5 billion years ago.

Noffke’s discoveries over the past decade have helped to answer questions scientists have long grappled with: Which microbes were the earliest living organisms, and where in the geological record can we possibly find irrefutable evidence of the existence of such tiny life forms? She says most likely cyanobacteria-photoautotrophic and oxygen-producing microbes-had colonized some sandy coasts by 3 billion years ago and, amazingly, that they still can be found on coastal shorelines today.

The latest research on rocks in South Africa has turned up a virtual treasure trove of geological samples supporting her case that the microbial mats we see today covering tidal flats also were present as life was beginning on Earth. The mats, which are woven of cyanobacteria, can cause unusual sedimentary structures in the sand beneath them. Along today’s beaches near ODU in Virginia and North Carolina, Noffke has identified two dozen such structures caused by present-day microbial mats, and she has found corresponding formations in rocks dating back through the ages. The latest findings are the oldest known-and the best preserved-examples.

Two co-authors of the Geobiology article are ODU graduate student Dina Bower and Don Swift, Slover Professor in the Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Other authors are Nic Beukes, a geology professor at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, and Robert Hazen, renowned mineralogist at the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

Noffke’s research has opened a new window in the understanding of the rise of life. Although it seems certain that early life on Earth involved microbes, scientists have found it difficult to turn up evidence of organisms that lived many millions of years ago and were only a few millionths of a meter long. Until now, only the filigrane fossils of smallest bacteria found in glass-like flintstone or the “stromatolites,” which are domes formed by early photoautotrophic microorganisms, seemed to constitute an archive for the investigation of early life.

However, a new group of fossils, the MISS, are now helping to decipher life during the Archean time period (2.5 - 3.9 billion years BP).

The work of geochemists and paleobiologists has produced evidence suggesting that life was present on Earth perhaps as early as 3.8 billion years ago. Nevertheless, the evidence can be disputed – and often is both by scientists and creationists – particularly because fossil evidence can be mimicked by purely physical processes. For example, carbon believed to have organic origins can in fact be inorganic.

Noffke argues in her latest article that her MISS samples, which she says definitely contain traces of organic material in the 3 billion-years-old rocks, are more reliable than stromatolites in establishing when life started. She also predicts that geobiological methods may someday help decide whether there has been life on other planets.

The Nature article, which expands upon discoveries by Noffke that also were noted in the May 5, 2006, edition of Science magazine, can be found on the Web at The author, Tice, suggests more research to identify conclusively the microbes that produced the MISS.

“Noffke and colleagues’ observations help fill in the geological record of microbial communities and ecosystems at a potentially critical stage in their evolution,” he writes. “They tell us that microbes were constructing cohesive mats in early tidal environments much as they do today. But what this means in detail for the physiology and behavior of the organisms involved is an open question, and one that awaits future studies of the mechanisms of mat construction in both aerobic and anaerobic environments.” Back to top

Seminar on “Higher Ed After Va. Tech” is April 15
The Office of Student Affairs will host an online seminar, “What We’ve Learned: Higher Education After Virginia Tech,” from 1-2 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, in the Board Room of Webb Center. To register, call 683-3443 by Friday, April 11.

Presented by Magna Publications, the seminar will include brief formal presentations by five panelists, followed by a time for audience questions and comments.

Panelists will address the following questions:

  • What’s the right balance between student privacy and intervention?
  • How did the Virginia Tech crisis change faculty work and roles in the classroom?
  • What technological innovations can help us avert or respond to threats?
  • How have the roles of campus security or police officers changed?
  • How do we communicate with the community in times of crisis?

ODU, NATO co-host symposium on hurricane preparedness April 15
With the Hampton Roads region sitting only a few feet above sea level and a potential for hurricanes and flooding, the 2008 Azalea Festival Symposium will take a critical look at all aspects of disaster preparation, likelihood and response.

“Katrina Over Hampton Roads: Are We Ready?” is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

Headquarters, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (ACT) and Old Dominion will co-host the symposium, which brings together military, academic and industry leaders from home and abroad to discuss disaster preparedness in Hampton Roads. In addition to analyses from policy makers and panel discussions with key executives, the conference will feature workshops in key areas such as water and consequence management, protecting critical infrastructure and emergency response.

Conference speakers include Jay M. Cohen, undersecretary for science and technology, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security; Robert P. Crouch, assistant to the governor for commonwealth preparedness; Eelco H. Dykstra, M.D., visiting professor of international emergency management, George Washington University; Jan Franssen, queen’s commissioner for South-Holland and chairman of the Netherlands Flooding Management Task Force; and retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honore, former commander, Joint Task Force Katrina.

The Hampton Roads area is home to the second largest port on the east coast of the United States and the largest naval base in the world. The Netherlands, meanwhile, is one of the most low-lying countries in Europe and home to the port of Rotterdam, the largest in Europe. There is a long-standing common interest in this issue between the two regions, and both have experience, expertise and knowledge that can be shared to mutual benefit.

“Combining what we do here as a university with what ACT has in place with concentrations on international policy and operations makes for a perfect match to bring these forces together to study something as complex as emergency management,” said Dick Whalen, director of military activities for ODU.

The symposium is by invitation only, but free and open to media. Back to top

Education college among Top 100 in national survey
Old Dominion University's Darden College of Education has been ranked as a Top 100 graduate school of education by the latest U.S. News & World Report guide to university graduate programs.

The college moved onto the list for the first time, ranking at 96. "This is good news for our college," said Dean William Graves. "We will now aim for the Top 50."

The U.S. News rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinion about program quality and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school's faculty, research and students.

These data come from surveys of more than 1,200 programs and some 14,000 academics and professionals that were conducted in fall 2007. Back to top

Kersey releases 2nd edition of “101’s” guide

The second edition of the award-winning “The 101’s: A Guide to Positive Discipline,” a multimedia/interactive program produced by Katharine Kersey and Old Dominion’s Office of Academic Technology Services, has been released.

Based on research by Kersey, professor of early childhood education and chair of ODU’s Department of Early Childhood, Speech Language Pathology and Special Education, the guide is a user-friendly training tool offering solutions to child care providers, teachers and parents to help children become happier, better equipped to settle differences peaceably and more self-directed.

The original CD-ROM set, which showed the “101’s” used with children 8 weeks to 6 years of age, came out in 2004 and has since had a wide distribution. The winner of a 2005 Videographer Award, a Bronze Telly Award and the Aegis Video & Film Production Award (Training and Education), it has been translated into Chinese and a Spanish language version is forthcoming. The new guide focuses on children ages 5 to 12.

Available in CD-ROM for individual use, and DVD and VHS formats for groups, the second edition of the “101’s” costs $40, compared to the $250 price tag for other training programs offered to schools to help train teachers in classroom management. The sets can be purchased online at

The new edition is an easy-to-use training tool that provides teachers, parents and caregivers with techniques to help children believe in themselves and to turn them on to learning, Kersey says. It is designed for use by small groups of teachers, parents and virtually anyone interested in making positives strides in their interactions with students and others. Each video offers an activity list for implementation of the principles, including a new “Facilitator’s Guide” for teachers.

As opposed to those programs that are usually filmed lectures, Kersey’s videos feature real-life examples from live classrooms as teachers implement each of the 101 techniques. Filmed over two years (2006-07) in nine classrooms, the new videos show the 101 principles being used with children in a Title I inner-city school, Newsome Park Elementary in Newport News.

“We were anxious to show that the ‘101’s’ work with all children and circumstances – not just the controlled conditions of a university child study center,” said Kersey. The teachers were trained to use the techniques and principles in order to support optimal pro-social skills and academic development, and the new guide features video of real and compelling K-5 classroom scenarios that illustrate the techniques in action.

Newsome Park Elementary offers evidence of the guide’s success. In 2004, the school did not make the grade in what the state terms “Adequate Yearly Progress” in academic areas. That evaluation changed in the years of implementation (2005-06) of the “101’s” to “Made AYP.”

“Children in classrooms that use the ‘101’s’ assume accountability for themselves and act responsibly toward others. They have developed skills, hobbies, talents and interests and feel a genuine sense of control over what happens in their lives,” writes Kersey in discussing resources that help children develop important characteristics, including confidence in their ability to overcome challenges and frustrations.

Among the critical factors she highlights are the positive influence of caring, committed adults, children’s emotional, mental, spiritual and physical inner resources, and supportive environments that are welcoming, encouraging, safe, and provide a sense of belonging: “Positive teacher behaviors that show compassion and respect involve knowing all children by name, encouraging the participation of those who may not easily join in, making extra efforts to connect and bond with every child, and helping children learn how to problem solve when they are having difficulties.” Back to top

Jazz woodwind specialist in concert April 27 and 28
Jazz woodwind specialist Scott Robinson will be in residence at Old Dominion April 24-28, a visit that will culminate in two concerts.

The first concert, at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 27, in the Diehn Center’s Chandler Recital Hall, will feature Robinson with the ODU Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Choir, and is free and open to the public.

For the second concert, he will join the John Toomey Trio for a Diehn Concert Series performance at 8 p.m. Monday, April 28, also in the recital hall. Tickets are $15 ($10 for students) and may be purchased in advance or at the door.

Robinson will present several free clinics during his visit. For information about the clinics call 683-4061; for tickets to the Diehn Concert, call 683-5305.

One of today’s most wide-ranging instrumentalists, Robinson has been heard on tenor sax with Buck Clayton’s band, on trumpet with Lionel Hampton’s quintet, on alto clarinet with Paquito D’Rivera’s clarinet quartet and on bass sax with the New York City Opera. On these and other instruments, he has been heard with a cross-section of jazz’s greats representing nearly every imaginable style of the music, from Braff to Braxton.

His discography includes more than 165 recordings. His four releases as a leader have garnered five-star reviews from Leonard Feather, Down Beat Magazine and other sources worldwide. The newest, “Melody from the Sky” (featuring the seldom-heard C-Melody saxophone), was the subject of a Wall Street Journal article by Nat Hentoff. Back to top

Engineering prof leads memorable spring break tour of his native Egypt
Moustafa R. Moustafa has always been eager to share the cultural richness of his native Egypt. And there is no better way than to experience it firsthand, he says.

An associate professor of mechanical engineering technology, Moustafa led a group of 10 Old Dominion faculty, administrators, students, alumni and friends on a 10-day trip to Egypt during spring break, in what has become an annual event. Moustafa said ODU’s spring break is the ideal time to go because the weather is a much milder mid-70s in Egypt. On the tour, he and his wife, Julie, who works in the Center for Learning Technologies, gave the group as much sightseeing, culture and activities as they could absorb – even camel rides.

“I think Egyptian history has no comparison,” Moustafa said. “It is the start of civilization, and is full of historical sites – monuments, temples, statues, most of them 3,000 to 5,000 years old.”

Taking the trip were Nancy Cooley, vice provost for distance learning, and her husband, Jeff; Heather Brown, a doctoral candidate; Eileen Abrahamsen, associate professor of speech-language pathology; Phill Pulido an ODU alumnus and his wife, Charlotte; Ayah Wali, an ODU student and her mother; and Katherine Whitson, a former employee in the Department of Human Resources.

“Dr. Moustafa helped me realize a lifetime dream of visiting ancient ruins and learning how people who lived thousands of years ago could design and build such incredible and enduring structures,” Cooley marveled.

“I am very excited about the possibility of developing 3-D virtual tours of ancient Egyptian temples and tombs, so that people can experience a bit of Egypt on the Internet to spark their interest in traveling there. Clearly, the opportunity to travel with someone like Dr. Moustafa, who knows the language and culture, is an added bonus and a wonderful perk of working at a multicultural institution with such outstanding faculty.”

Moustafa’s knowledge of the customs, language and tour route ensured things went smoothly. During the trip, the group experienced the Great Pyramids of Giza in Cairo, the Cairo Museum with its 300,000 artifacts and a Nile River cruise. The sightseers later flew to Luxor to view the temples of Karnak, Luxor Valley of the Kings and Queens, and the temples of Edfu, Komombo. Then it was another quick trip to Abu Simbel to visit the temple of Ramses II, and back to Cairo.

“Everyone we take with us over the years says it is the trip of a lifetime,” Moustafa noted. His wife, Julie, added, “I’ve gone seven times, and each time I learn something new. And I get to experience my friends’ reaction to their first time.”

While in Egypt, some members of this year’s group also explored the possibility of establishing distance learning co-op exchanges between ODU and Egyptian universities. For all of them, the memories of their special spring break will last a lifetime.

“I have wanted to visit Egypt ever since I was a little girl and experienced the Metropolitan Museum's Egyptian Collection in New York, which I still visit occasionally,” Abrahamsen said. “I can still remember studying a little ancient history in the sixth grade. I took my mother to the King Tut exhibit when it came to the states in the ’70s, but on this trip I was able not only to see many more of the treasures found there, but actually saw his mummy in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings.”

Brown added, “This was my first time in Egypt and it was very surreal. Here you are actually ‘touching’ the Great Pyramids that were built over 4,500 years ago! It was just insane. It is hard to put into words the feeling Egypt gives you.” Back to top

Bayse receives NSF grant for research on selenium

Craig Bayse, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has received a $240,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study how the trace element selenium affects biochemical signaling in the human body. The research relates to the potential use of selenium to fight cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Bayse’s theoretical studies in recent years have shed light on the biological activity of selenium, which is found in high concentrations in onions and garlic, as well as in Brazil nuts. Antioxidant properties of the trace element have been shown to protect against diseases such as prostate and lung cancer and the sides-effects of stroke.

But the use of selenium has been limited by its potential disruption of normal biochemical signaling pathways, especially those that are zinc-mediated and lead to such beneficial outcomes as DNA repair. During the three-year grant period, Bayse will use molecular modeling to determine the mechanisms of both the beneficial and harmful effects of selenium.

“With this large grant for a computational chemistry study, Professor Bayse is addressing a very important area of medically related biochemistry,” said Richard Gregory, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The work ahead for Bayse requires that he overcome complications caused by the involvement of solvent in aqueous-phase proton transfer reactions. According to NSF’s award abstract, this ODU research will use a computational technique for solvent-assisted proton exchange, which allows for realistic modeling of proton transfer through an aqueous medium.

“The computational models also provide a molecular view on how aqueous-phase reactions work, and thereby will generate results applicable beyond selenium chemistry,” according to the NSF document. “The long-term, broader impacts of this award relate to the potential role selenium may have in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease; the results in the long term may guide the development of chemotherapeutic agents.”

Bayse, who joined the ODU faculty in 2001, graduate program director for the chemistry department.
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ODU/March of Dimes conference to review lessons learned from Katrina
Old Dominion and the March of Dimes are teaming up to help Virginia localities avoid the mix-ups and lapses that marred relief efforts for pregnant women and infants following Hurricane Katrina.

The Virginia chapter of the March of Dimes is providing funds for a one-day conference that ODU will host May 3 on maternity-related disaster planning.

Dr. William Gill, chief of the neonatology section and medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit of Tulane Hospital for Children in New Orleans, will be the keynote speaker. Gill was widely praised for his service during the Katrina crisis.

Also taking part in the conference will be Dr. Lisa Kaplowitz, deputy commissioner of emergency preparedness and response for the Virginia Department of Health.

Christopher Osgood, associate professor of biological sciences, is leading the conference planning with assistance from Kaethe Ferguson, the university’s director of research development. Both are longtime March of Dimes volunteer advisers.

“Most people think that in a hurricane evacuation, you simply get in your car and go to a safe place,” said Osgood. “But for whatever reasons that didn’t happen in New Orleans with Katrina.” He said the disaster exposed gaps in emergency response that led the March of Dimes to make maternity-related relief planning a national priority.

Ferguson pointed to reports of parents not being notified when babies in hospitals were evacuated ahead of floodwaters. “It was horrendous. Think about parents having no idea where their babies were,” she said. “Also, many of the relief centers were not adequately equipped, such as with formula or diapers.”

The national March of Dimes organization has developed six key elements for maternity-related disaster relief planning that will serve as an outline for the conference program. The $2,270 conference grant from the Virginia chapter could spur research and planning that leads to a larger grant to improve emergency preparedness, said Ferguson. Back to top

ODU/March of Dimes conference to review lessons learned from Katrina
Old Dominion and the March of Dimes are teaming up to help Virginia localities avoid the mix-ups and lapses that marred relief efforts for pregnant women and infants following Hurricane Katrina.

The Virginia chapter of the March of Dimes is providing funds for a one-day conference that ODU will host May 3 on maternity-related disaster planning.

Dr. William Gill, chief of the neonatology section and medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit of Tulane Hospital for Children in New Orleans, will be the keynote speaker. Gill was widely praised for his service during the Katrina crisis.

Also taking part in the conference will be Dr. Lisa Kaplowitz, deputy commissioner of emergency preparedness and response for the Virginia Department of Health.

Christopher Osgood, associate professor of biological sciences, is leading the conference planning with assistance from Kaethe Ferguson, the university’s director of research development. Both are longtime March of Dimes volunteer advisers.

“Most people think that in a hurricane evacuation, you simply get in your car and go to a safe place,” said Osgood. “But for whatever reasons that didn’t happen in New Orleans with Katrina.” He said the disaster exposed gaps in emergency response that led the March of Dimes to make maternity-related relief planning a national priority.

Ferguson pointed to reports of parents not being notified when babies in hospitals were evacuated ahead of floodwaters. “It was horrendous. Think about parents having no idea where their babies were,” she said. “Also, many of the relief centers were not adequately equipped, such as with formula or diapers.”

The national March of Dimes organization has developed six key elements for maternity-related disaster relief planning that will serve as an outline for the conference program. The $2,270 conference grant from the Virginia chapter could spur research and planning that leads to a larger grant to improve emergency preparedness, said Ferguson. Back to top


Edward R. Estes Jr.
Edward R. Estes Jr., of Norfolk, professor emeritus of civil engineering technology, died March 30, 2008. He was 83.

Born in Richmond, he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Tulane University and a master’s in applied mechanics from Virginia Tech. Following his service as a Civil Engineer Corps officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve, Estes taught at the University of Virginia. He then pursued a career in the private sector, from 1955 to 1978. He founded his own engineering consulting firm, Estes & Associates, in 1972.

Estes joined ODU’s civil engineering technology department in 1978 with the rank of professor. He was recruited to chair the CET department, and following this service he was designated associate dean of the College of Engineering.

Estes taught a variety of courses and received a teaching award from the civil engineering technology students. After retiring from ODU in 1993, Estes reactivated his consulting business and served as technical consultant for the National Association of Architectural Metal Manufacturers.

Estes, who was predeceased by his wife of 55 years, Betty Lee Estes, is survived by three daughters, Virginia Lee Zimmerman of Roanoke, Ind.; Susan Page Estes of Chicago; and Elizabeth Anne Estes of Skaneateles, N.Y.; and two sons, Edward Richard Estes III and William Thomas Estes, both of Norfolk.

Memorial contributions may be made, in his memory in honor of his wife Betty Lee Estes, to the Southeastern Virginia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, 6315 North Center Drive, Norfolk, VA 23502. Condolences may be offered to the family through Back to top

Lewis S. Keyes.
Lewis S. “Lew” Keyes, associate professor emeritus of chemistry and biochemistry, died in his home Jan. 31, 2008. A Norfolk resident, he was 71.

Born in Hartford, Conn., Keyes received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry from Trinity College and did further doctoral study at Princeton University. He joined the Old Dominion faculty in 1964 as an associate professor. He served as assistant chair of the chemistry and biochemistry department from 1972-80 and as chief departmental adviser from 1972-83. He retired in 1999.

Keyes played a significant role in modernizing the Physical Chemistry Laboratory, and was asked by the College of Engineering and Technology to develop and teach an accelerated chemistry course. He was an adviser to Alpha Epsilon Pi national fraternity for many years while at ODU.

Among his friends, Keyes will be remembered as the guy who knew everything about any musician that ever played in a jazz session from the 1920s to present day.

His other passions were his attention to his daily wardrobe, his extensive collection of glass paperweights and his exotic succulent plants from all over the world. He will be remembered as a class-act guy, a gentleman, scholar and good friend. Back to top

CLT offers “pedagogical podcasts for professors”
Students are using their iPods all over campus, not only for listening to music, but also for reviewing lectures that have been podcast by their professors.

Now, the Center for Learning Technologies is providing something for faculty members’ iPods, as well: a series of “pedagogical podcasts for professors.” CLT, which offers a variety of services related to faculty support, is now offering a series of “Teachable Moments,” available on iTunesU.

Each week, Loreta Ulmer, instructional designer at CLT, presents a CLT “Teachable Moment.” These interviews with faculty members describe their: “Success in Research” (covering the challenges and discoveries of their research) or “Success in the Classroom” (spotlighting the strategies that have brought them success in teaching).

To access the CLT “Teachable Moment,” visit and click on Launch Public iTunes U. (Faculty must have downloaded iTunes onto their PC, which can be done from the ODU applications launcher.)

Faculty who are interested in sharing their success stories in a “Teachable Moment” may e-mail the Center for Learning Technologies at Back to top

“Reel Politics” film festival entertains and educates
More than 40 movies and events were screened and held on campus and at various locations in town during the second annual ONFilm Festival, a partnership between Old Dominion and the city of Norfolk. The festival attracted well over 1,000 members of the campus community and the general public, who had an opportunity to watch some important films and to join with actors, directors and academics in discussing the movies’ merits. At the closing gala on April 5, the OnFilm Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Danny Glover, acclaimed actor, director, producer and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador. Back to top

“It will bring a lot more international students here, because YouTube is a phenomenon that is understood by everybody.” (Aseem Rastogi, sport management major)

– “Universities go beyond Web pages to reach students”
The Chief Engineer, April 3

“There’s a great number of opportunities in inventing the things people will need because the climate is changing.” (Rich Whittecar, associate professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences)

– “Some see opportunity in rising oil prices”
Inside Business, March 31

“I don’t know of any other film festival that is so chock-a-block with films and talks, nonstop, day and night. We’re trying to promote cultural literacy of film.” (Peter Schulman, associate professor of foreign languages and literatures)

– “Lights, camera, activism”
Port Folio Weekly, March 25

“Women’s clubs have run the gambit from abolitionists to suffragettes. Some were based on racial or class lines. These organizations gave women a public voice and a public forum to create their own space. The wealthier clubs contributed to the growth of American philanthropy.” (Maureen Elgersman Lee, visiting associate professor of women’s studies)

– “Book relates 102 years of woman’s club history”
The Virginian-Pilot, March 23

“It kind of evolved from the requests of students ... and to try and reinforce the president’s initiative that we try to become more residential and fill our halls with the more academically successful and involved.” (Sue Mitchell, interim assistant vice president for auxiliary services)

– “As ODU evolves, dorm space gets tighter”
The Virginian-Pilot, March 21

“Affirmative action is not a form of discrimination; rather, it is a means to remedy it. Contrary to what critics would have us believe, affirmative action does not prevent non-targeted individuals from competing for any position. Instead, it seeks to increase the pool of qualified applicants by using focused recruitment, monitoring and outreach techniques.” (ReNeé Dunman, director of equal opportunity/affirmative action)

– “Minority report: Is diversity a new name for affirmative action?”
Atlanta Life Magazine, February
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