Freshman class is largest in history of university
Old Dominion welcomed a record-breaking freshman class of approximately 2,500 students this fall, the largest first-year class in university history.

The class surpasses the previous high of 2,107 students in 2006 by nearly 400. The students represent 25 states and more than 20 countries.

“The excellence of Old Dominion’s faculty, along with new programs, fine facilities, dedicated staff and incredible school spirit are all factors in the increase in the number and quality of our applicants,” said President Roseann Runte. “I am certainly proud of each new student and look forward to celebrating his or her successful academic experience.”

The university received more than 18,000 total applications for undergraduate and graduate admission, an increase of nearly 7,000 applications in the past three years. ODU also experienced a 16 percent increase in the number of applications from students with distinction – those with a minimum 3.4 high school grade point average and an SAT score of 1200 or higher.

In addition to first-year students, the university saw a 14 percent increase in transfer student enrollments and a 21 percent increase in graduate student enrollments.

“The university’s continued upward climb in enrollment and distinguished students is a testament to the exceptional efforts of the admissions staff under the direction of Alice McAdory,” said John R. Broderick, vice president for institutional advancement and admissions. “At Old Dominion, students know they will find nationally recognized faculty, cutting-edge research and innovative teaching in a profoundly multicultural atmosphere where individuality is valued.”

Official fall enrollment numbers will be released in late October. Back to top

Wallenberg Humanitarian Lecture will address issue of corporal punishment
Jaap E. Doek, deputy justice in the Court of Appeal of Amsterdam, Netherlands, and former chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, will deliver the Marc and Connie Jacobson Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Lecture Sept. 18.

The lecture, “Reducing Global Violence: The Role of Protecting Children from Corporal Punishment,” is free and open to the public and will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the North Cafeteria of Webb Center.

The Wallenberg Lecture, part of the President’s Lecture Series, is sponsored by the Marc and Connie Jacobson Philanthropic Foundation. Speakers are chosen by the university for their humanitarian efforts – those who are “making the world a better place” by their actions – in honor of the memory of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish businessman and diplomat who dared to defy the perpetrators of the Holocaust during World War II.

Doek is a founding member of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. He helped establish the African Network for Prevention and Protection of Child Abuse and Neglect. He also was involved in the creation of the Defence for Children International and was a board member of the International Association of Juvenile and Family Court Magistrates. He is an emeritus professor of family and juvenile law at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Doek has published numerous books and articles on various topics in the area of children’s rights and family law in both national (Dutch) and international (English) journals.

Climatologist Tim Flannery will give the next President’s Lecture Series address on Oct. 16. Back to top

Renowned writers here Oct. 1-4 for Literary Festival
Tradition and the Individual Voice” is the theme for Old Dominion’s 30th annual Literary Festival, which will bring 11 writers – and a blues trio – to campus Oct. 1-4.

The premier literary gathering of its kind among Virginia colleges and universities, the ODU Literary Festival is free and open to the public.

Janet Peery, University Professor of English and Creative Writing, is the festival director. Commenting on the theme for the festival, she said, “Joyce Carol Oates wrote, ‘The individual voice is the collective voice.’ I liked this idea and I chose this year’s theme because it seems to me that the power in literary works of art comes from the individual voice speaking out of a tradition.”

This year’s visiting writers include a PEN/Faulkner Award winner, Sabina Murray, and finalist, William Henry Lewis; a Whiting Writers’ Award winner, Sherwin Bitsui; and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, David Wojahn.

The 2007 Literary Festival authors “are among the writers who are creating the best in works written in contemporary times,” Peery said. “They are probably not household names, or among the authors you see in airport bookstores or drugstore racks; I purposefully avoided ‘big names’ in the belief that the words and the depth of ideas within their books are more important than star power. Anyone who comes to any of the events will find something of value to take away.”

The festival also includes a performance by M.S.G., an acoustic blues trio that plays traditional Piedmont blues. “Some of their numbers are standards hundreds of years old, but to these samplings of work songs, gospel songs and traditional ballads, the trio adds their own interpretation and contemporary songwriting abilities in a mixture of old and new that speaks perfectly for what I hope the festival will reveal about tradition in story and song,” Peery said.

For more information about the authors, go to The schedule is as follows:

  • MONDAY, OCT. 1
    Michael Blumenthal – 2 p.m., Chandler Recital Hall
  • M.S.G. – 4 p.m., Stables Theatre
  • Author reception – 7 p.m., Diehn Composers Room
  • Rick Bass – 8 p.m., Chandler Recital Hall


  • Janine Latus – 1 p.m., River Rooms, Webb Center
  • Sabrina Murray – 4 p.m., Hampton/Newport News Room, Webb Center
  • Author reception – 7 p.m., Diehn Composers Room
  • William Henry Lewis – 8 p.m., Chandler Recital Hall


  • Alan Shapiro – 2 p.m., River Rooms, Webb Center
  • Sherwin Bitsui – 4 p.m., Hampton/Newport News Room, Webb Center
  • Author reception – 7 p.m., Diehn Composers Room
  • Jill McCorkle – 8 p.m., Chandler Recital Hall


  • David Wojahn – 2 p.m., River Rooms, Webb Center
  • Honorée Fanonne Jeffers – 12:30 p.m., 244A Virginia Beach Center; 4 p.m., Hampton/Newport News Room, Webb Center
  • Author reception – 7 p.m., Diehn Composers Room
  • Ethan Canin – 8 p.m., Chandler Recital Hall.
    Back to top

Volunteers sought for Community Care Day
The importance of giving back to the community will be the emphasis during Old Dominion’s fifth annual Community Care Day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 12.

“More than 750 student, faculty and staff volunteered in the community during our event last year,” said Cecelia Tucker, director of community relations, who is hoping for an even larger turnout this year.
The project will focus on outreach, with students, faculty and staff volunteering at several locations in the Norfolk community.

Volunteers will be involved in a variety of projects, including picking up trash in the Larchmont, Edgewater, Lambert’s Point and Highland Park neighborhoods near the campus, as well as helping clean up along the Elizabeth and Lafayette rivers.

Additionally, volunteers will read to children at James Monroe Elementary; plant flowers and serve lunch at Harbour Point Medical and Rehabilitation Center; clean a resident’s home for Hope House; and play games with children at the Hunton YMCA.

As a prelude Community Care Day, the university will sponsor a food drive for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia Oct. 1.

To volunteer or for more information, visit or call 683-3159.

The following organizations and institutions are in need of volunteers this year:

  • Adopt-A-Stream (Elizabeth River)
  • Adopt-A-Stream (Lafayette River)
  • American Diabetes Association
  • Blessed Sacrament Church/Campus Catholic Ministries
  • Colonial Place Civic League
  • Dwelling Place
  • Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia
  • Foodbank of the Virginia Peninsula
  • ForKids Inc.
  • Harbour Point Medical & Rehabilitation Center
  • Hope House Foundation
  • International Black Women's Congress
  • James Monroe Elementary
  • Larchmont Elementary
  • Larchmont Library
  • Life in the State of Poverty
  • Lost Boys & Girls of Sudan
  • Madison Career Center
  • Meadowbrook School
  • Norfolk Senior Center
  • Park Place Center
  • Peninsula Higher Education Center
  • Salvation Army
  • Southside Boys & Girls Club
  • Storm Drain Stenciling Program
  • Suited for Success
  • Union Mission
  • Village Pointe Apartments
  • Virginia Beach Higher Education Center (Boys & Girls Club)
  • Virginia Social Ventures
  • YWCA. Back to top

“Rights of the Accused” is topic for Constitution Day
Old Dominion will observe Constitution and Citizenship Day on Sept. 20 with panel presentations on “The Constitution and the Rights of the Accused.” The program is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters, the event will begin at 7 p.m., preceded by a reception at 6:30, in the Mills Godwin Jr. Building auditorium. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentations.

Elizabeth Esinhart, director of interdisciplinary studies/teacher preparation programs, will serve as moderator.

The panelists and their topics are:

  • Kara Hoofnagle, doctoral candidate in criminology and criminal justice, “The Reality of the Exclusionary Rule”;
  • James Mathews, judge, Norfolk General District Court, “Search and Seizure”;
  • Donald Smith, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice, “The American Jury and the Constitution”; and
  • Megan Zwisohn, senior assistant commonwealth’s attorney, city of Norfolk, “The Right to Counsel: Miranda Today.” Back to top

Old Dominion athletes excel on and off the field
Old Dominion’s athletic teams captured the Virginia Sports Information Directors trophy this summer as the winningest Division I program in the state last season, but its student-athletes also enjoyed excellence in the classroom.

Eight of the university’s 16 intercollegiate teams posted an overall team grade point average of 3.0 or higher, while 127 (48 percent) of the 267 student-athletes posted a 3.0 GPA or higher and 22 achieved a 3.75 or higher GPA. ODU currently graduates 90 percent of its student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility.

“The athletic department takes great pride in the outstanding performance of Monarch student-athletes on and off the playing fields,” said athletic director Jim Jarrett. “Dean’s list students, conference and national scholar-athletes, and quality grade point averages have been the norm for Old Dominion teams. This past year was exceptional and I congratulate the student-athletes, our academic support staff, our faculty and coaches for their role in this academic success story.”

Overall, 96 student-athletes earned dean’s list honors last year with grade point averages of 3.4 or higher. Female student-athletes posted a 3.09 GPA, while males posted a 2.82. The cumulative GPA for all 267 student athletes was 2.95.

Field Hockey ranked first among ODU’s 16 teams, with a 3.51 GPA, which also ranked them third in the nation among Division I field hockey programs for academic performance. Back to top

Kasparov and wife release new CD on Albany Records
Pianists Andrey Kasparov, associate professor of music, and his wife, Oksana Lutsyshyn, have released a new CD, “Hommages Musicaux,” on Albany Records.
The disk’s two collections of compositions, “Tombeau de Claude Debussy” and “Hommage á Gabriel Fauré,” honor the memories of the French composers Debussy (1862-1918) and Fauré (1845-1924).
Kasparov and Lutsyshyn have performed together since 2003 under the name Invencia Piano Duo. Both are active outside the duo as well, touring the world as recitalists, soloists with orchestras and chamber musicians.

Kasparov also directs Creo, the ODU contemporary-music group, of which his wife is a member. In addition, he works as an organist at Freemason Street Baptist Church in Norfolk. Lutsyshyn serves as coach for the Virginia Opera and music director for the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Virginia Beach. The duo is listed in the 2007-08 Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Directory.

To hear a sound file from their CD and for more information, go to Product_Code=TROY922&Category_Code=CMN. Back to top

Sen. Warner to deliver lecture here Oct. 23
U.S. Sen. John W. Warner Jr. will be on campus Oct. 23 for the Waldo Family Lecture Series in International Relations. His talk, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

For more information call 683-5759. Back to top

Board meets Sept. 21
The Board of Visitors will meet Sept. 21 in Webb Center. Following committee meetings, the full board will meet from 1:30-3:30 p.m. in the Board Room.

The following committee meetings are scheduled:

  • Audit – 8 a.m., James/Lynnhaven River Room;
  • Institutional Advancement – 9:15 a.m., Board Room;
  • Student Advancement – 9:15 a.m., Rectors’ Room;
  • Academic and Research Advancement – 10:30 a.m., Rectors’ Room; and
  • Administration and Finance – 10:30 a.m., Board Room. Back to top

Teaching with technology on menu at Sept. 19 forum
Nancy Cooley, vice provost for distance learning, and Rusty Waterfield, assistant vice president for computing and communication services, will sponsor the Fall Faculty Open Forum discussion on
Sept. 19.

They invite faculty, department chairs, program coordinators and other administrators to a noon luncheon in the Cape Charles/ Isle of Wight Room in Webb Center on Tuesday, September 19. In addition to a variety of comestibles, a discussion of teaching with technology is on the menu.

Faculty are encouraged to propose discussion topics, share tips for teaching with technology and offer feedback on ways to sustain ODU’s position as the premier distance learning university in Virginia.

Participants will also hear updates on last year’s open forum discussion items, including faculty workload for teaching at a distance, a TELETECHNET laptop initiative, podcasting, iTunes U, and a new process for online course and program development.

In addition, participants will learn the results of a recent Distance Learning Advisory Board meeting, as well as hear plans to address issues that arise in the Sept. 19 forum.

To attend, visit and enter your CLT password. For more information contact Lucia Ball at or 683-3726. Back to top

Memorial fund established for Demetria Powell
A memorial fund has been established for Demetria S. Powell, the senior who was killed last month in an automobile accident at the intersection of 27th Street and Llewellyn Avenue in Norfolk.

Donations may be made to the Demetria S. Powell Memorial Fund at any BB&T branch bank.

Powell was enrolled in the interdisciplinary studies/teacher preparation program in the College of Arts and Letters. Here concentration was elementary education. Last year, she served as an America Reads tutor at Tidewater Park Elementary School. 

Memorial services for Powell were held at her home church, East End Apostolic Church in Franklin, on Aug. 25. Back to top

Golf tourney set for Oct. 4 at Lambert’s Point course
The recreational sports department will sponsor a fall golf tournament Oct. 4 at the Lambert’s Point Golf Course, with a 3 p.m. shotgun start.

The entry fee is $10 for students, $25 for faculty and staff, and $30 for the general public. The cost includes nine holes of golf, awards and a post-tournament cookout.

To register go to or call 683-3384 for more information. The deadline is Sept. 27. Back to top

New program to reward doctoral mentoring
A Doctoral Mentoring Awards program will be launched this fall by the Office of Graduate Studies. The four professors who will be announced in May as the first winners of the award will each receive a $3,000 cash prize.

Philip Langlais, vice provost for graduate studies and research, will coordinate the program and chair the selection committee. Nomination letters, which can be submitted by graduate students or faculty, should be sent no later than Nov. 5 to

The awards program encourages and rewards excellence, innovation and effectiveness in mentoring doctoral and Master of Fine Arts students through their dissertation or fine arts thesis project.

There will be one award winner from each of these academic clusters: (1) life and physical sciences; (2) engineering; (3) humanities and fine arts, education and health sciences; and (4) social and behavioral sciences, and business and public administration.

Winners will be announced at the annual Faculty Recognition and Awards ceremony in early May.

The following is a list of eligibility and nomination criteria:

  • Only currently active graduate faculty, tenured or tenure-track, who supervise doctoral dissertations or Master of Fine Arts theses are eligible.
  • The nominee must have a current record of supporting graduate education through teaching, service on graduate committees and sponsorship of student research.
  • The nominee must have graduated (served as chair or co-chair) at least one doctoral or M.F.A. student during the preceding academic year (FA, SP, SU) and must have graduated (chaired or co-chaired) at least two additional students with dissertations or M.F.A. degrees in the past five years.
  • Nominations will be accepted from graduate students, former graduate students, faculty members, department chairs, graduate program directors, advisers and administrators. Individual faculty members may not nominate themselves.

Individuals who receive a Doctoral Mentoring Award during the previous five years are not eligible.

The application packet must include a letter of support from the department chair and college dean. Back to top

Princeton Review names Old Dominion one of Southeast’s top institutions
For the third consecutive year, Old Dominion University has been named one of “The Best Southeastern Colleges” by The Princeton Review in its annual guide.

The ranking, which was based on student surveys, constitutes a portion of the publisher’s best regional guidebooks that feature profiles of more than 600 schools. The Southeastern section showcases the top schools in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee.

Institutions featured in the annual review met criteria for academic excellence in their regions and students were interviewed anonymously, either through the Princeton Review Web site or a paper survey. The survey asked students questions about their school’s academics, campus life and student body.

Old Dominion also ranked in the third tier of U.S. News and World Report’s top national universities section of the recently released America’s Best Colleges 2008. Other Virginia schools in the third tier include George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth universities. Back to top

Chemists to study link between
saltwater molecules, climate change

Four Old Dominion chemists lead a research team that has been awarded $465,000 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a sophisticated new study of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in seawater. The researchers propose to investigate the connections between DOM and the carbon cycle, which influences climate change.

Aron Stubbins, an assistant research professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is principal investigator for the three-year grant. Other investigators from ODU are Patrick Hatcher, Batten Endowed Chair in Physical Sciences; Jingdong Mao, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and Kenneth Mopper, professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

The researchers’ goal of providing the most in-depth analysis ever of DOM in seawater is made possible by instruments in ODU’s 18-month-old College of Sciences Major Instrumentation Cluster (COSMIC), which Hatcher directs. Those instruments include a $1.3 million, ultra-high-resolution 12-Tesla Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometer.

Michael Perdue, a chemist and professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Georgia Tech, is also an investigator on the NSF collaborative research grant.

The title of the grant, “Comprehensive Chemical Characterization of Marine Dissolved Organic Matter Using Efficient Isolation Coupled to Advanced Analytical Techniques,” reflects a two-pronged effort.

First, the researchers will isolate DOM molecules using a new, highly efficient reverse osmosis and electrodialysis technique capable of isolating as much as 95 percent of DOM from a seawater sample. This is a major improvement over other current procedures, which can only collect 10-40 percent of DOM.

The second prong is the actual analysis of DOM. The proposal predicts that the “unparalleled power” of the ultra-high-resolution FT-ICR mass spectrometer and an advanced nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy instrument in Hatcher’s COSMIC lab will allow the researchers to read the “molecular messages” of marine DOM.

Those messages are important to our understanding of how DOM and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) arrives and is processed in seawater. DOM comes from decomposed plant and animal matter, both on land and from within the sea itself.

As river water is carried to the sea, and then mixes through the oceans, it carries the molecular signals of all the environments it has passed through and all the life that has occurred within it. The DOM pool consists of millions of different molecules, each carrying information about its source, how it has been processed and, therefore, also about the journey of the water that carries it.

The variety and multitude of DOM molecules bestows great information richness to these molecules and makes them extremely useful for scientists exploring the cycling of carbon and the mixing of waters in the oceans.

DOM accounts for almost all of the organic carbon in the oceans, making it a storehouse containing about the same amount of carbon as is present in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). The amount of atmospheric CO2 is already rising at an alarming rate, and any change in DOM dynamics that results in more carbon being released into the atmosphere could hasten global warming. A thorough understanding of the Earth’s carbon cycle is therefore required so that we can best predict and react to future climate disruption.

For their various tests, the researchers have chosen seawater sample collection sites in the North Pacific near Hawaii and off the west coast of Africa.

Stubbins, who is a first-time NSF investigator, has been at ODU since 2005. His doctorate in marine biogeochemistry is from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in Great Britain. Since joining ODU, he has worked with Mopper and Hatcher, both of whom have participated in numerous NSF-supported research projects.

As manager of the project, Stubbins will take the leading role in fieldwork and coordinating laboratory analyses and data interpretation. Hatcher will oversee all FT-ICR mass spectrometer and NMR analyses. Mao will lead the NMR analyses. Mopper will help integrate the project goals and results, and oversee wet chemical DOM characterization.

Perdue at Georgia Tech will develop and build the reverse osmosis-electrodialysis system for the project and assist in chemical data interpretation. Back to top

EVMS, ODU license virtual stethoscope to Texas manufacturer
A Virtual Pathology Stethoscope invented by a team of researchers from Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) and Old Dominion’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) has been licensed to a Texas-based company, Cardionics Inc., that manufactures medical diagnostic and teaching equipment.

The agreement was announced in August.

The Virtual Pathology Stethoscope, or VPS, is a training device that can simulate the sounds of a human body’s circulatory and respiratory systems. It will be an important addition to the products offered by Cardionics, according to Keith Johnson, president of the company. Cardionics specializes in technologies related to auscultation, which is the art of listening for sounds made by the body's internal organs.

The invention is the first licensed product to emerge from the National Center for Collaboration in Medical Modeling and Simulation, which is a joint venture of EVMS and ODU.

Thomas W. Hubbard, M.D., professor of pediatrics and director of the EVMS Office of Professional Development, leads the team of inventors. His top collaborator at VMASC is Frederic McKenzie, an ODU associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The VPS is designed to be used in tandem with a standardized patient (SP). Medical schools increasingly train doctors-to-be by using SPs, who are actors skilled at pretending to be sick. Working with SPs, medical students improve their interviewing skills and gain the medical judgment they need to diagnose ailments.

But when a medical student puts a conventional stethoscope to the body of the SP, the typically healthy sounds heard don't match the illness the SP is portraying. The VPS substitutes abnormal sounds for healthy sounds, so that when the student puts the augmented stethoscope to the SP’s body, the sounds provide evidence that can support the diagnosis. The sounds the teaching stethoscope plays are recorded from actual patients who have a variety of diseases.

ODU and EVMS joined forces in 2001 to form the national medical modeling and simulation center, which has attracted funding from several sources across the nation including the Stemmler Medical Research Fund of the National Board of Medicine, which funded the research that resulted in the stethoscope patent license.

“The VPS is one example of the potential of medical simulation to improve the training of medical and health professionals and, ultimately, to improve patient safety,” said C. Donald Combs, who leads the medical modeling initiative at EVMS. Combs and Mark Scerbo, professor of human factors psychology at ODU, are co-directors of the national center.

The project team also includes John Ullian, Gayle Gliva-McConvey and Robert Alpino of EVMS, and Hector Garcia, Reynel Castelino and Bo Sun from ODU/VMASC. Back to top

Project will look at correlation among food prices, obesity and food assistance programs

Do low prices for soft drinks and cookies versus higher prices for healthier foods such as fresh tomatoes and avocados contribute to obesity among America’s poor? Is there a correlation among food prices, obesity and national food assistance programs?

These and other related questions will be the focus of a new research project headquartered at Old Dominion and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Qi Zhang, assistant professor of community and environmental health, leads the research team. Other members are from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago.

The two-year, $135,555 grant, titled “Price Effect on Diet and Obesity Risk of Food Assistance Program Recipients,” will link data from three national surveys to study the effects of local food prices on food assistance program (FAP) participation, on FAP participants’ dietary intakes and on FAP participants’ body mass index.

In hypotheses advanced by their grant proposal, the researchers suggest that participation in the federal food stamp program and other food assistance programs will be found to be higher in regions where the cost of living is higher. They also believe their research will show that these FAP participants face an increased risk of obesity because the healthiest foods cost more than unhealthy foods.

“The proposed research is significant because identification of price effect on FAP participants’ diet and health outcomes will have important policy implications,” said Zhang, a health economist who joined the ODU faculty in 2005. “If, for example, FAP participants consume more unhealthy foods because of their lower price relative to healthy foods, the government should promote health education for FAP participants and provide subsidies to healthy foods to increase their consumption of healthy foods.”

As a long-term goal of the project, the researchers hope to identify the economic mechanisms that promote weight gains among low-income Americans.

Collaborators on the project are Dr. Youfa Wang, a physician and assistant professor of human nutrition at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health whose research focus is childhood eating behaviors and obesity, and Harold Pollack, associate professor and faculty chair of the Center for Health Administration Studies at the University of Chicago whose research focus is poverty and public health policy.

Zhang, who has researched socioeconomic disparities and prevalence of obesity in the United States, has collaborated on other projects with Dr. Wang.

The study will use existing data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers’ Association price data set and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Expert critiques of the proposal note that the association of obesity and socioeconomic status, including ties between obesity and food assistance programs, has been the focus of many researchers. But Zhang and his team are given credit for innovative thinking that will allow them to exploit existing data sets. “The implications of their findings may change the way food assistance programs are structured and identify other preventive measures to address the obesity epidemic,” wrote one reviewer of the proposal.

Zhang conducted a related pilot study with research support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service and Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University. The pilot study found that the cost of food – including many popular unhealthy foods – is generally less in the South. Coca-Cola, according to the research, costs 7 percent less by average in the South than in the country as a whole.

The preliminary work in the South indicates that lower costs of living do promote unhealthy weight gain. “This suggests that the cost of living could be an important factor that affects low-income populations’ food choices and other health behaviors that affect body weight,” the proposal to NIH asserts. Back to top

Applications are due Oct. 1 for interdisciplinary team grants
A new round of interdisciplinary, multi-investigator grants will be awarded by the Office of Research to nurture promising startup research projects of faculty members and their collaborators.

Mohammad Karim, vice president for research, said his office will fund several projects proposed by multidisciplinary teams of ODU faculty members or by teams from ODU and other institutions. Awards will be up to $100,000 for the grant period of Jan. 1 through June 30 of 2008. The deadline for applications is Oct. 1.

In an effort to support and promote the growth of multidisciplinary, multi-investigator sponsored programs, the Office of Research invites faculty to submit proposals detailing their ideas for such research. The goal of this initiative is to provide seed funding for projects that (a) will involve areas relevant to institutional research priority; (b) are multidisciplinary and can produce immediate impact; and (c) build thematic teams with serious prospects to attract additional and new research dollars.

Those who have been funded by previous multidisciplinary awards from the research office may not serve as investigators on subsequent proposals; however, they may serve as unpaid consultants.

The proposal should consist of a narrative plan (not to exceed five pages) including:

  • Description of the multidisciplinary problem.
  • Targets that will be accomplished during this phase and subsequently.
  • A statement as to how this project could help the proposing team attract new or additional research dollars.
  • The target agency and program, or other funder. The rationale for choosing this funding mechanism for the proposed project. A justification of why it is appropriate to apply for intramural seed funding rather than apply to the target agency now.
  • Description of any interactions with the target agency or other funder to date, either through previously funded projects or discussions about the project at hand. Prior to discussing potential intellectual property with any company, please talk with Zohir Handy (
  • How this project will bring together investigators from multiple units, departments, and/or centers and additional resources.
  • A time line for this seed project to be completed by June 30, 2008.
  • A tentative six-month budget that does not exceed $100,000. Include budget justifications. Principal investigators are encouraged to discuss the budget with chairs and deans. If department and/or college will provide some support, this should be stated.

Although not a requirement for submission, the Office of Research is interested in exploring collaboration opportunities in partnership with Eastern Virginia Medical School. If the proposed project includes a collaboration with any institution other than ODU, the project team must consult Zohir Handy ( in order to develop an intellectual property agreement. A copy of this agreement should be included in the proposal if possible. The agreement must be in place prior to beginning the project.

Applicants should send an electronic version of their proposal to The research office may ask for additional information as well as seek budget adjustments before making final decisions by Nov. 15. For more information contact Kate Ferguson, director of research development, at 683-3707 or Back to top

Cincinnati Opera to premiere Hailstork’s “Rise for Freedom” in mid-October
The Cincinnati Opera will present the world premiere of Adolphus Hailstork’s new family opera, “Rise for Freedom: The John P. Parker Story,” Oct. 13-21 at the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater in Cincinnati.

This is the third opera by Hailstork, eminent scholar of music and award-winning composer who is recognized for his range of compositional styles. The Cincinnati Opera’s newest commission marks the first-time collaboration between Hailstork and librettist David Gonzalez.

John P. Parker is considered one of the leading Cincinnati-area conductors on the Underground Railroad. Born into slavery in 1827, he was enslaved in Virginia and Alabama before he purchased his freedom in 1845 at the age of 18.

He moved to Cincinnati, ultimately settling in the thriving abolitionist river community of Ripley, Ohio, where he worked as the owner of an iron foundry and inventor by day and a conductor on the Underground Railroad by night. For nearly 15 years, Parker risked his life again and again to help hundreds of fugitive slaves escape to freedom.

Like so many narratives of those who were enslaved, Parker’s story was not widely known until his autobiography, “His Promised Land,” was discovered and published by W.W. Norton in 1996.

Kentucky Symphony Orchestra’s James R. Cassidy will conduct the six public performances of the 45-minute, fully staged opera, and Sheila Ramsey will direct.

Hailstork’s symphonic, chamber and choral works have been performed by major orchestras all over the country, including Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and New York, and have been led by leading conductors such as Lorin Maazel, Daniel Barenboim and Kurt Masur. Back to top

New study to examine Hampton Roads evacuation plans

ASeveral plans exist for the emergency evacuation of Hampton Roads, but how adequate are they? The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) has awarded $300,000 to Old Dominion engineers to get an up-to-date answer to the question.

The 11-month study, administered by ODU’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC), will focus on evacuations ordered when hurricanes are threatening Hampton Roads. It will address the complicating incidents – wrecks, vehicles running out of fuel, debris in the road, lapses in emergency response coordination and irrational behavior of motorists – that have reduced the efficiency of hurricane evacuations elsewhere.

Standstill traffic and blocked roads, for example, are what many Americans remember about evacuations, such as those in Texas for Hurricane Rita. The bridges and tunnels in Hampton Roads are notorious bottlenecks and present special problems for evacuation planners.

John Sokolowski, research professor and director of research at VMASC, is the principal investigator of this study. He has led several of VMASC’s transportation modeling projects and was responsible for working with the state Office of Domestic Preparedness to bring this research to fruition.

“Simulation provides a valuable addition to this study that will allow for the exploration of many scenarios not possible with more traditional analysis,” Sokolowski explained. “It will provide policymakers with a better understanding of the breadth of possible outcomes under varying conditions.”

Asad Khattak, ODU’s Batten Endowed Chair in Transportation Engineering, is the leading transportation specialist on the research team. He joined the university last year after serving for more than a decade on the transportation faculty of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he developed the Carolina Transportation Program.

The project’s “statement of work” acknowledges the existence of a state evacuation plan that will be implemented if a natural or man-made disaster should force Hampton Roads residents to leave the region. Portions of the plan were developed by a private civil engineering firm and others are the work of public agencies.

“Work accomplished under this (project) expands upon the efforts of the other organizations,” according to the statement of work summary. “It complements rather than duplicates other results and findings of those studies and on-going activities, including the Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Study and evacuation transportation analysis by the Virginia Transportation Research Council.”

“A lot of evacuation plans do not really account for unanticipated incidents, the crashes, et cetera, that cause half of the everyday roadway congestion,” said Khattak. The other half of congestion happens at peak traffic flow periods such as workday rush hours and is called recurrent congestion. Because it can be anticipated, recurrent congestion is easier– but by no means simple – for planners to address.

If a high-category hurricane were headed for Hampton Roads and mandatory evacuation was ordered, the potential for congestion will probably develop in patterns we have seen before, Khattak said. “In a sense you are creating a recurrent congestion situation compounded by incidents,” he explained. In other words, an evacuation nightmare will be something like a tractor-trailer getting wedged in a tunnel just at the start of evening rush hour.

But in an emergency evacuation, the congestion problems often are made worse than rush-hour tie-ups by motorists’ fears, indecision and plain old bad decisions. Khattak tells of evacuees who hitch their boats to their vehicles and throw as many of their belongings as possible into the boat. (Decisions such as this can put unnecessary vehicles, as well as debris, on the roads.) One example from a Florida evacuation was of a single family that insisted on fleeing in a caravan of several passenger vehicles and an RV towing a boat.

The work of Khattak and VMASC researchers will include an evaluation of baseline evacuation models, one of which is a general model that is widely used in the United States and another of which was prepared by the civil engineering firm that has done evacuation studies specifically for Virginia.

Then the work will bore in on Hampton Roads. A primary area of investigation revolves around the Safety Service Patrols (SSPs), the vehicles with yellow emergency lights that come to the aid of motorists who have run out of gas, had a flat tire or been involved in a fender-bender. SSP operations and their incident reports over recent years will be scrutinized in order to identify patterns of interruptions in traffic flow. Questions to be answered might include: How do heavy rain or high winds impact Hampton Roads traffic? How quickly can SSPs clear up incidents and what is the relative advantage of having extra SSPs in certain corridors?

Emergency managers in all Hampton Roads localities will be interviewed to collect data about recent traffic experiences during hurricane threats. The evacuation plans of these localities, including strategies for communicating with the populace, and channels of emergency response coordination between localities and agencies, will be evaluated.

In addition, existing research will be mined for information not only about traffic, but also about the socio-economic factors and behavioral tendencies that might affect evacuation decisions.

Evacuation incident scenarios will be worked into models, and computer simulations will be run to frame overall evacuation planning and to identify the best responses emergency managers can employ to mitigate the effects of unanticipated incidents.

Khattak, who is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems, sees potential in the application of information technology to transportation systems. As such, he predicts that the ability of emergency managers to provide real-time information to evacuees just before they leave home and during their travel will be a critical element of a successful plan.

“Information is key, and especially given that we have greater and greater access to information,” he said. “Communication through the Internet, cell phones and other electronic media has been a very effective strategy in difficult situations.”

Contra traffic flow – for example, the use of all lanes of major arteries to handle westbound evacuees – is planned already if a Category 3 or higher hurricane is predicted to make landfall. But also important to any evacuation of Hampton Roads, Khattak believes, is the ability of the region to keep the roads open. This can be done by increasing the number of SSP incident response vehicles on major evacuation routes, possibly by drawing in emergency help from other cities in Virginia. He said incidents are sure to happen, but if a typical incident can be cleared up in 15 minutes rather than 30, then the benefit to traffic flow will be significant.

VMASC has several other ongoing projects requiring transportation modeling, including the Hampton Roads Cargo Project and the Critical Infrastructure Modeling Project.

The cargo project was requested by the state legislature. It is assessing the impact of increased container ship traffic to the region as a result of the new Maersk terminal being built in West Norfolk. The critical infrastructure research is examining the effect of disaster events on the region’s infrastructure including energy, water and wastewater, communication and transportation. Back to top

Treviño anxious to strike up the band

The prospect of an Old Dominion football team in the fall of 2009 is already stirring much excitement around campus, but for some, equally exciting is the news of a marching band. In preparation for this ODU musical tradition, a new staff member has joined the music department faculty.

Alex Treviño, who comes to Norfolk from the University of Washington in Seattle, joins ODU as the director of athletic bands and associate director of bands. While in Washington, he served as assistant director of the Husky Marching Band and Husky basketball bands from 2004-07. He also was the director of the Husky volleyball band that accompanied the volleyball team to the NCAA finals in 2005.

Current students can audition for the ODU Marching Monarchs in the spring, and recruitment of prospective students will begin soon. According to Treviño, auditions are necessary to guarantee the level of performance of the band; prior marching band experience is required. He anticipates that scholarships will be available to all accepted members.

“A marching band is an educational ensemble, not just a spirit group,” notes Treviño. “It does not exist solely to provide spirit and entertainment.”

In addition to playing their instruments and performing on the field, band members will handle logistical tasks related to the management of a marching band, such as care and distribution of uniforms and equipment. Eventually the band will include a graduate assistant who will learn how to manage and direct a marching band.

The instrumentation for the marching band will include: piccolo, clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, mellophone, trumpet, trombone, baritone, sousaphone, marching snare, marching bass drum, marching tenors and marching cymbals. There will be no pit percussion, as is found in competition bands, but plans call for a color guard and drum major.

Although game performances are still a ways off, the band will begin practices and participate in public performances, including parades and exhibitions, as of fall 2008.

Of great interest, Treviño says, will be the unveiling of the ODU Marching Monarchs’ “signature move.” While working as a graduate assistant for the University of Tennessee “Pride of the Southland” marching band, Treviño introduced the “Zipper-T” maneuver, now a highlight of Volunteer football team’s pregame show. He currently is working on a number of creative ideas for the ODU team, but the final maneuver will depend upon the number of members. His goal is to have close to 240 members.

“You have to have something that the crowd looks forward to,” remarked Treviño, “that’s where traditions start.” Back to top

ODU announces radio talent for men’s and women’s basketball games
Football call-in show debuts this month

Ted Alexander, news and sports reporter for WTKR-TV, and Tony Mercurio, the sports director at ESPN Radio 1310, will lead the radio announcer teams for the Old Dominion men’s and women’s basketball game broadcasts, respectively, on 94.1 FM and coaches shows on ESPN Radio 1310, the ODU athletic department announced Sept. 6.

In addition, the “ODU Football Update” show, featuring head coach Bobby Wilder, began airing Sept. 12 on ESPN Radio 1310 and will continue for nine successive Wednesdays from 6-7 p.m. The call-in show is anchored by Mercurio and will include discussions on ODU’s emerging football program as well as CAA football and the national college football scene.

“We are delighted that Ted has joined our radio team,” said athletic director Jim Jarrett. “He will bring a wealth of local experience and knowledge of our program to the broadcasts that I know our fans will enjoy.”

Alexander served as sports director at WTKR from 1998-2000, and 2001-05. After a stint as morning host at WWDE Radio, he returned to News Channel 3 in April. He will continue his television reporting in addition to broadcasting the ODU games and coaches’ shows. He will be joined by long-time color analysts Billy Mann, former ODU basketball great, and Rick Kiefner on the game broadcasts.

“This is a dream come true, “Alexander said. “I’ve followed ODU basketball for years and to be part of the broadcast team is incredible. I appreciate the opportunity from ODU and the flexibility with my schedule from the new management team at News Channel 3 to do the games and shows.”

The men’s basketball show, featuring head coach Blaine Taylor, will air on ESPN Radio 1310 Mondays from 6-7 p.m., beginning Nov. 12.

Mercurio will begin his 17th year as the voice of the Lady Monarch basketball program. A 13-time Virginia Sportscaster of the Year, he will also anchor the women’s basketball coaches’ show, featuring head coach Wendy Larry, on Tuesdays from 6-7 p.m., beginning Nov. 13. He will be joined by color analyst Susan Montgomery, a former Lady Monarch assistant coach, on the game broadcasts. Back to top

Beta Alpha Psi awarded superior chapter honor
The Zeta Pi chapter of Beta Alpha Psi in the College of Business and Public Adminis-tration achieved superior status for the 2006-07 academic year.

Beta Alpha Psi is an international honors organization that enhances the university educational experience by providing interaction with finance, information systems and accounting professionals; conducting technical and personal development programs through campus, regional and international meetings; and promoting and encouraging community service.

Superior chapters receive a financial award contributed by the KPMG Foundation. All chapters earning this status were recognized at the Beta Alpha Psi annual meeting held Aug. 2-4 in Chicago. Tara Clarke-Brooks, chapter president-elect; Randall Spurrier, senior lecturer of accounting and chapter adviser; and Smruti (Ruthie) Desai, outgoing chapter president, attended the event and accepted the award. Back to top

Latin American Studies Film Series opens this month
The 4th Annual Latin American Studies Film Series, “Border Crossings: On the Margins and of the Marginal,” opened Sept. 7 and continues through Nov. 9.

All of the films will be screened from 4-6 p.m. in room 1012 of the Batten Arts and Letters Building. Admission is free.

The following films are scheduled through Oct. 12:

  • Sept. 14 – “El velo de Berta,” Chile, 2004, Spanish with English subtitles;
  • Sept. 21 – “Virtuosos,” Venezuela, 2000, Spanish with English subtitles; and
  • Oct. 12 – “Quilombo Country,” Brazil, 2006, Portuguese with English subtitles.

For more information call 683-3988. Back to top

“The big advantage there is we are able to alert our community in about 30 seconds as opposed to a campus-wide email which takes anywhere from about 20 to 30 minutes.” (John Broderick, vice president for institutional advancement)

– “College campuses improve security, emergency information systems”
WVEC-TV, Aug. 13

“We want some opponents fans will be excited about. But I want people to come to watch Old Dominion football, first and foremost. I want them to fall in love with us before they become overly concerned with who we are playing.” (Bobby Wilder, head football coach)

– “Wanted: Teams interested in a game at Foreman Field”
The Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 16

“I’ve had employers tell me, nine times out of 10, they’ll take the student with a 3.0 GPA and some experience over a student with a 3.5 and no experience.” (Beverly Forbes, director of experiential education)

– “Summer internships: Real world or real dull?”
The Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 24

“We condemn the boycott of Israeli universities by Britain’s University and College Union. This boycott for what the union termed ‘the complicity of Israeli academia’ in the Palestinian occupation puts into question the liberty of academic discourse. Universities must promote reasonable, rational thinking as well as the passionate expression of ideas and beliefs. By boycotting Israeli universities, British universities have fabricated an intellectual iron curtain.” (Roseann Runte, president, in a letter to the editor)

– “An intellectual iron curtain”
The Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 27

“This is a perfect opportunity for organizations like PETA and the Humane Society to enhance their images.” (John Ford, professor of marketing)

– “Making the most from the worst: Animal-rights groups find members, money in wake of Vick case”
Richmond Times-Dispatch, Aug. 26

“The future holds no ‘date certain’ for withdrawal, although, and without a doubt, the earlier the better. But the past offers even less of a date certain for redemption, and going back to Vietnam as an alibi for explaining a delayed withdrawal from Iraq only serves to obfuscate further a war that the administration failed to explain when it was launched, and now fails to understand after it has failed.” (Simon Serfaty, eminent scholar of political science, in a commentary)

– “Which past war is Iraq?”
The Washington Post, Aug. 29

“In brief, though I hate to say it: the poem is truly awful. No, I wouldn’t call it a poem.” (Michael Blumenthal, visiting associate professor of English)

– “Cho poem was entry in 2006 Virginia Tech event”
The Roanoke Times, Aug. 29

“It seems pretty huge. I haven’t seen something like this down here.” (Margaret Mulholland, associate professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences)

– “Putrid algae blooms are back in force in Hampton Roads’ waters”
The Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 30

“It’s become a problem. This is a national phenomenon we’re dealing with.” (James Koch, president emeritus)

– “ODU report says affordable housing scarce”
The Virginian-Pilot, Aug. 30
Back to top