ODU becomes first university in Virginia to launch YouTube channel

Old Dominion has taken the next step in educational outreach with the creation of an ODU YouTube channel. The channel hosts videos featuring various aspects of the university, including academics and faculty, campus life, distance learning and athletics. Among the current videos featured are faculty spotlights, an ONFilm Festival promo, virtual tours of forthcoming athletic facilities and even a helicopter tour of the campus.

Old Dominion is the first college or university in the state to launch an official YouTube channel, one that is recognized by the governor’s office and confirmed by Google/YouTube. ODU created the channel in partnership with the commonwealth of Virginia and in keeping with Gov. Timothy Kaine’s technology initiative. YouTube is providing the channel and technical assistance free of charge, and there will be no advertising on the ODU channel. The “enhanced” channel will allow for unlimited content as part of the university’s relationship with YouTube.

The educational opportunities made possible by the accessibility of the YouTube platform are as yet unquantifiable. But the ability of ODU to reach out to Internet users throughout the state and beyond is an exciting prospect, according to Nancy Cooley, vice provost for distance learning. Cooley is spearheading the development of the YouTube channel and sees great opportunities for outreach.

“We are pleased to work with the Office of the Governor and YouTube to make ODU’s video-based resources available at no cost to the citizens of the commonwealth and the world,” Cooley said. “This is an excellent way for prospective students and faculty to learn about our outstanding faculty and vibrant campus life. Additionally, it is an important resource for self-directed learners to access university content for lifelong learning and enjoyment.”

Cooley acknowledges that the ever-growing and evolving impact of the Internet has become a crucial part of developing and highlighting an institution’s public profile. “Clearly, one benefit to creating a YouTube channel is to help us stay current with the ways in which students acquire information these days,” she said. “And it’s a great opportunity to showcase ODU.”

Most university students today are technologically savvy and have memberships in multiple social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, as well as file- and video-sharing Web sites such as YouTube. Many of these students gather much of their information via these sites. Consequently, universities wishing to reach potential students via the Internet are compelled to go beyond the traditional institutional homepage or Web site.

Arguably, establishing a presence on YouTube could have a significant impact on the decision-making process of potential students. Alice McAdory, executive director of admissions, believes YouTube cannot be discounted when considering different influences on admission trends. “Absolutely, I do think YouTube has an impact on admissions,” she said. “From what I see in this office, our students are on YouTube and they know everything that’s on it.”

According to YouTube’s online press room, “YouTube is the leader in online video, and the premier destination to watch and share original videos worldwide through a Web experience. YouTube allows people to easily upload and share video clips on www.YouTube.com and across the Internet through websites, mobile devices, blogs, and e-mail. YouTube has quickly become the leading destination on the Internet for video entertainment.” Back to top

Research Expo features expert on climate change

Richard Alley, a Penn State University climate-change researcher who shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. vice president Al Gore, will be the keynote speaker for Research Expo 2008 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center on Wednesday, April 9.

The all-day event is sponsored by Old Dominion, Norfolk State University, Eastern Virginia Medical School and the Tidewater Consortium for Higher Education.

Alley, the Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State, served on the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that won the Nobel Prize with Gore “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.” His research interests include glaciology and ice coring to reveal paleoclimates.

His keynote address will be at 3 p.m.

The entire 5th annual Research Expo, which runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., is free and open to the public.

ODU launched the daylong event in 2004. NSU has participated since 2005, and EVMS joined a year later. Other institutions affiliated with the Virginia Tidewater Consortium participated in 2007 and will again this year. Consortium members include the William and Mary, Christopher Newport, Hampton University and the Joint Forces Staff College.

About 1,500 people attended last year’s Expo and even more are expected this year, said Kaethe Ferguson, director of research development in ODU’s Office of Research and the chair of the Expo steering committee. “We invite alumni and friends of our participating institutions to attend, as well as anyone else in our communities who would like to know more about the best work of our faculties and students.”

At least 400 posters, exhibits and demonstrations in fields ranging from nuclear physics to fine arts will make up the basic program. Musical performances and an art show will be included in the event, as well as demonstrations of research accomplishments in areas such as biofuel production and medical modeling and simulation.

New this year will be a Corporate Connection session, bringing together businessmen, entrepreneurs and academic researchers to explore partnerships. That session is from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

In addition, there will be three panel discussions, featuring experts from the participating institutions and from outside industries and agencies. Their titles and times are: “Fostering an Ethical Research Environment” (9-10:30 a.m.); “Global Climate Change” (11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) and “Democracy and Research Worldwide” (1-2:30 p.m.).

Mohammad Karim, ODU’s vice president for research, said, “This forum promotes collaborations between researchers from various disciplines and different schools, and it allows people from business, industry and government to begin dialogues with us about cooperative ventures. Our goal is to find applications for our academic research that will be valuable to our region and state.” Back to top

Film festival brings “Reel Politics” into focus this month

“Reel Politics” is the theme of the second annual Old Dominion University/city of Norfolk ONFilm Festival, coming to the campus and city venues March 29 through April 5.

The festival offers a full week of free daily screenings and social events, along with panels, lectures and discussion with directors, actors and Virginia political leaders. It will conclude with the presentation of the ONFilm Festival Lifetime Achievement Award to actor, director, producer and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover.

Each day of the festival will feature the screening of films that fall into a particular category, from Cold War politics to the politics of gender, with nationally recognized actors, directors, producers and scholars engaging in discussion with audience members.

State Sen. John Miller will join panelists Bert Schmidt of WHRO, Tom Robotham of Port Folio Weekly and Fred Schecker of Hampton Roads.com to kick things off Tuesday, March 25, with a pre-festival discussion of “Film/Media, Power and Change: Film and Video’s Role in Enabling an Engaged Citizenry.” Jeff Jones, associate professor of communication and theatre arts, will serve as moderator.

Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim and members of the Norfolk City Council will host the Saturday, March 29, opening of the 2008 ONFilmFest with a screening of “All the President’s Men.” Actor Robert Walden, who played Donald Segretti, will be on hand to discuss the film.

Former congressman G. William Whitehurst, Kaufman Lecturer in Public Affairs, will host a screening of the Jimmy Stewart film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” on Monday, March 31, at the first ONFilm Classics Night.

ODU students will have an opportunity to speak their political peace and register to vote at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, as part of the first “Open Mic Patriot’s Protest.” Paul Shugrue, the host of “Out of the Box” on WHRV-FM, will provide music for the event, which will take place on the steps of Webb Center.

Danny Glover will accept the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award during the closing gala at the Granby Theater on Saturday, April 5.

For tickets and more information about the 2008 ONFilm Festival, call 683-3114 or visit www.odu.edu/ONFilmFest. Back to top

Actress Mia Farrow to discuss Darfur crisis
Acclaimed actress and youth advocate Mia Farrow will speak on campus Thursday, March 27, for the President’s Lecture Series. Her talk, “With Knowledge Comes Responsibility: The Darfur Crisis,” begins at 7:30 p.m. in the North Cafeteria of Webb Center.

Artistic and critical success, as well as money and fame, came to Farrow at an early age. Following her young life in 1940s Hollywood as the daughter of Hollywood royalty, she gained national attention through her role in the television classic “Peyton Place.” Farrow went on to star in more than 40 movies, including “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Great Gatsby” and “Hannah and Her Sisters.”

As successful as her professional life was, her personal life was marked with many struggles, leading her to begin a journey toward a significant life.

As the mother of 14 children, 10 of whom are adopted, Farrow currently devotes her life to humanitarian efforts and the care of her family. She has been a high-profile advocate for children’s rights, working to raise funds and awareness for children in conflict-affected regions, predominantly Africa. She is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and has worked extensively to draw attention to the fight to eradicate polio, which she survived as a child.

Her latest humanitarian effort raises awareness of the genocide occurring in Darfur, Chad and Central African Republic. At the podium, Farrow shares photos from her trips to Darfur in 2004, 2006 and 2007, bearing witness to the desperation of the people of the region.

Farrow reflected on her life journey in a candid bestseller, “What Falls Away.” Back to top

Faculty and staff invited to share views on ODU with search committee
The Presidential Search Committee will host an open forum for faculty and staff from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Monday, March 17, in the River Rooms of Webb Center.

The forum will provide employees an opportunity to share with the committee their views of the current state of Old Dominion, their ambitions for the university, and the qualities, skills and experiences that they would like to see in the next president.

Shelly Storbeck and Steve Leo of Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, the search consultants retained by the Board of Visitors, will serve as facilitators. Back to top

Kids Fair and Parenting Expo coming to campus April 5
In Support of Children, the Old Dominion student group that works to combat violence in the lives of children, will sponsor a Kids Fair and Parenting Expo from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 5, on Kaufman Mall.

There will be dancing, music, crafts and games for children of all ages, as well as information about positive parenting strategies and what parents can do to protect their children from abuse.
For more information contact Lucien Lombardo, co-faculty adviser, at 683-3800 or llombard@odu.edu.
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Mapp’s Jefferson biography reprinted in paperback
Alf J. Mapp Jr.’s ground-breaking biography, “Thomas Jefferson: A Strange Case of Mistaken Identity,” has now been reprinted in paperback under the title “Thomas Jefferson: America’s Paradoxical Patriot,” by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. The edition includes a new foreword, by Kenneth W. Thompson, director emeritus, Miller Center of Public Affairs, and professor emeritus, University of Virginia.

An Old Dominion graduate and eminent scholar emeritus of English, Mapp first published his Jefferson biography in 1987. It has been universally acclaimed as a landmark work on Jefferson’s early and mature years. In the book, Mapp follows Jefferson from his birth in 1743 through the years of the American Revolution and up until his inauguration as president in 1801. Back to top

ODU honored for service
The Corporation for National and Community Service has named Old Dominion to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to disadvantaged youth. It is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement.

ODU was chosen based on its successful service projects, including: Community Care Day; providing nursing students to offer clinics for diabetes and blood pressure testing in seniors’ homes; participation in the annual Relay for Life; sorority and fraternity charitable activities; adoption of a local school by the ROTC units, which involves assisting teachers and mentoring disadvantaged students; providing free tuition for economically disadvantaged children to attend an oceanography summer camp; working with the Achievable Dream School; and sponsoring the annual Lambert’s Point Summer Program.
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CLT hosting summer institute, “Making the Magic Happen”
The Center for Learning Technologies is accepting registrations from faculty for its Summer Institute, “Making the Magic Happen,” to be held May 19-21 in Webb Center. The program is designed for faculty members to share, reflect, analyze and learn from one another on the subject of technology in teaching. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the institute.

The 2008 institute begins with a technology fair at which faculty can see demonstrations of a variety of available technologies, followed by two days of informational sessions and panel discussions. Aneesh P. Chopra, Virginia secretary of technology, will give the keynote address.

Participants in the institute will enjoy luncheons and door prizes. Questions about the program may be sent via e-mail to clt@odu.edu. To register, visit http://clt.odu.edu/facdev, and for more information, go to http://clt.odu.edu. Back to top

Coaches for football and rowing to address AUA
The head coaches for Old Dominion’s newest sports, Bobby Wilder, football, and Heather Weisel, rowing, will be guest speakers for the Wednesday, March 19, meeting of the Association of University Administrators. It will begin at noon in Webb Center’s York/Potomac River Room.

Football, which was last played on campus in 1940 when ODU was a two-year division of William and Mary, returns as an intercollegiate sport in fall 2009. Women’s rowing will become the university’s 17th intercollegiate sport in fall 2008. It has existed as a club program since 1979. Back to top

Book traces history of ODU men’s basketball program
Fans of Old Dominion basketball and history buffs can satisfy their combined passions in a new book by ODU alumni Thomas Garrett and Clay Shampoe: “Images of Sports: Old Dominion University Men’s Basketball” (Arcadia Publishing).

Through classic images, the book traces the rise of the basketball program from a school born during the Depression to today’s vibrant university with a multimillion-dollar sports venue. Readers will encounter great Monarch teams that thrived under coaches Tommy Scott, Bud Metheny, Sonny Allen, Paul Webb, Tom Young, Oliver Purnell, Jeff Capel and Blaine Taylor, and meet the Monarch All-Americans, including Leo Anthony, Dave Twardzik, Joel Copeland, Wilson Washington, Mark West and Kenny Gattison.

Also relived in pictures are ODU’s NCAA Division II national championship, bids to eight NCAA Division I tournaments and 19 games in the National Invitation Tournament.

The book sells for $19.99 and may be purchased by calling the Big Blue Club at 683-6963. Back to top

Move It to Music! event on March 15 free to kids, parents
Move It to Music!, a free event scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at the Ted Constant Convocation Center, will have kids and parents walking, running, cheering, skating, jumping and hopping. Designed to promote positive lifestyle choices for kids, the event will include exhibitors offering products of interest geared toward youth.

Several interactive displays and demonstrations will be located along the arena floor and main stage, including inflatables, face painting, a climbing wall and a skating ramp with professional Billabong skateboarders. Back to top

Entries sought for March 22 Monarch 5K, Adventure Race
Entries are still being accepted for the Monarch 5K and Monarch Adventure Race on Saturday, March 22.

The 5K event will begin at 8 a.m., followed by the adventure race, which features biking, rock climbing and kayaking, at 9 a.m. Proceeds will benefit the Southside Boys & Girls Club. All registered participants will receive a race shirt.

The cost for the 5K is $20 for students and $30 for all other racers. The cost for the adventure race is $60 per team (all team members must be current faculty, staff or students).

To register or for more information call the recreational sports office at 683-3384. Back to top

Nominations due soon for HACE employee awards
The Hourly and Classified Employees Association is accepting nominations through Friday, March 21, for the HACE Staff Member and Rookie Staff Member of the Year awards.

To nominate an employee, download and complete the nomination form found at www.odu.edu/hace. For more information contact Jenny Caja at jcaja@odu.edu or 683-5023. Back to top

Va. Beach Center to show Scorsese film, “Kundun”

“Kundun,” directed by Martin Scorsese, will be screened at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, March 20, at the Virginia Beach Higher Education Center. It’s the second movie in the center’s spring film festival, “Peacemaking & Community.”

The movie depicts the early life of the 14th Dalai Lama. Members of the Southside SGI Buddhist organization will introduce the film, which is free and open to the public.

Door prizes will be raffled and popcorn and drinks will be provided. Back to top

Redshirt T-shirts on sale
In support of Old Dominion’s first class of football players, who will be required to redshirt next fall, the Office of Events is selling special ODU Redshirt T-shirts.

To order a shirt ($12 for S, M, L and XL, and $15 for XXL), call 683-5759 or go to www.odu.edu/ao/licensing. Back to top

International Festival offers cultural treats
Celebration of music, dance, folklore and food set for April 12 on mall

A world of cultures will converge on the campus next month when the Office of Multicultural Student Services hosts the Spring 2008 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. Saturday, April 12, on Kaufman Mall. “Kaufman Mall will be transformed into a global village,” said Lesa Clark, director of Multicultural Student Services. “Performances, music, dance, traditional costumes and crafts from Brazil, Ghana, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Poland, France, Panama, England, Scotland, Greece, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Latin America, Japan, Egypt and many other countries will provide an international experience that will educate and entertain.”

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.

The International Festival is sponsored by the Multicultural Alliance of Virginia and the World Affairs Council. For more information call the Office of Multicultural Student Services at 683-4406 or go to www.odu.edu/mss.

In the event of rain, the festival will be moved inside the Big Blue Room at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Back to top

Fund drive kicks off this month
Volunteers with the Campus Community Campaign, a facet of the Dominion Fund, will soon circulate throughout the campus to thank employees for their gifts last year and to encourage old and new donors to make a pledge to the 2008 “I Believe in ODU!” campaign. The fund drive kicks off Tuesday, March 25, and runs through May 1.

The goals this year are $232,650 in donations and 1,046 donors. Last year, 985 donors contributed $225,192.

Gifts may be made via payroll deduction or credit card, and designated for academics, athletics or “other.” Contributions may be targeted further, for example, to a college or department, the library, specific sports programs (including football), academic or athletic scholarships, or the Alumni Associa-tion. Unrestricted gifts will be applied to university priorities.

Employees who contribute $100 or more will automatically be entered in a contest to win a reserved parking space for one year.

Also at the end of the campaign, a doughnut party will be awarded to the two offices or areas with the highest participation rates.

Judy Bowman, assistant vice president for academic affairs, and Mike Frizzell, assistant director of parking services, are serving as co-chairs of the 2008 fund drive.

“It’s an honor and a pleasure for me to serve as co-chair for the campaign,” Bowman said. “I appreciate the generosity of so many faculty and staff members who contribute. Old Dominion is a special place to work, and the money we raise helps to make it even better.”

The volunteer coordinators are: John Adam, Jemima Addico-Filson, Debra Bell, Delores Bright, Rudy Burwell, Ann Campbell, Katrina Davenport, Mark Flanagan, Rick Fisher, Chuck Gray, Bill Heffelfinger, Kwanza Hood, Karen Kendall, Donna Meeks, Carlisa Merritt, John Nunnery, Bill Quinn, Dawn Richardson, Angela Rioux, Ken Saal, Elizabeth “Lisa” Sisson, Bill Smith, Anita Wiggins-Bailey, Kathy Williamson and Robert Wojtowicz. Back to top

Senate recommends changes to student opinion surveys
The Faculty Senate on Feb. 19 approved a recommendation that the provost be requested to implement a series of changes to the student opinion survey system.

The proposed changes include calling attention to the “Not Applicable” option to questions so that students don’t assign a numbered answer to those questions that don’t pertain to their particular circumstance, and recommending that the provost make orientation sessions available to chairs and deans regarding the special issues in evaluating Teletechnet courses.

The senate further recommended that as the university moves to a new student opinion survey system and platform over the next two years, an ad hoc senate committee be charged with developing a “global solution” to resolve issues “such as a uniform test system for all classes, or some common and some different test questions for courses, or wholly different questions for different types of classes.”

Further, the senate agreed that student focus groups on Teletechnet and faculty members who teach via Teletechnet be fully utilized in the development of the new testing instruments. Back to top

Orchid conservatory opens April 3
A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, April 3, will officially open the Arthur and Phyllis Kaplan Orchid Conservatory.

The ceremony will take place at 5 p.m., followed by a reception and tours. Ken Cameron, a world-renowned expert on the systematics and conservation of the orchid family, will give a Natural History Lecture at 6:30 p.m. in the Mills Godwin Jr. Life Sciences Building auditorium.

Those who plan to attend the opening are asked to RSVP by phone at 683-3116 or online at www.odu.edu/ao/univevents.

The new facility features a conservatory for public display of plants and flowers, a growing area and research laboratories. The conservatory was made possible by a $1 million gift and a nearly 1,000-plant collection of orchids. Retired businessman Leonard Kaplan and his wife, Tobee, of Greensboro, N.C., donated the money, and Dr. Arthur S. Kaplan, a retired Norfolk physician, and his wife, Phyllis, donated the prolific orchid collection and made a monetary contribution for an endowment for the care and maintenance of the greenhouse.

“There are always special spots on campuses where students go at special moments – when their parents come to visit or when they pledge their eternal love,” President Roseann Runte said. “This greenhouse will be one of those places at Old Dominion. We thank the Kaplans for sharing a most wonderful gift.”
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Al-Hazza, Lucking win Hamilton Essay Award

Tami Al-Hazza and Bob Lucking from the Darden College of Education have been selected as winners of the 2008 Virginia Hamilton Essay Award. The award recognizes an article published in a given year that makes a significant contribution to the professional literature concerning multicultural literary experiences for youth.

Al-Hazza and Lucking, faculty members in the educational curriculum and instruction department, were selected for their superior scholarship in “Celebrating Diversity Through Explorations of Arab Children’s Literature,” an article published in the spring 2007 issue of Childhood Education. The award will be announced April 11 at Kent State University, site of the 24th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth.

“The Hamilton Award is an important national award,” said William Graves, dean of the education college. “It recognizes the pioneering work that Dr. Al-Hazza and Dr. Lucking have conducted in Middle Eastern children’s literature. I am delighted that their scholarly contribution is receiving critical acknowledgment.”

“The article’s publication is particularly timely, given the suspicion of Americans and American media toward people from the Middle East at this point in our history,” Lucking noted. “Stories, myths, fiction and narratives of all kinds light the imagination, and among children they kindle an early interest in reading and all of the other language arts. Most often kids learn to write and to read broadly because they have discovered stories that capture their interest.

“Like all humans, children enjoy reading about their own cultures or about people with whom they identify, but Arab American children often find little in their school experiences that allow them that opportunity.

“Most American teachers have little understanding of Arab cultures and are familiar with few examples of children’s literature that highlight Arab cultures or people,” Lucking added. “Accordingly, we wrote our article pointing out this lack of attention in schools, addressing what scant knowledge teachers have of these regions. We also provided lots of examples of literature that teachers can use in their classrooms and guidelines for selecting bias-free works of children’s literature.”

ODU’s Kaavonia Hinton-Johnson, who serves on the NCTE’s (National Council of Teachers of English) Racism and Bias Committee, and whose research focuses on multicultural literature for children and young adults, commented that the Lucking/Al-Hazza article is an important contribution: “They focus on an area that has been overlooked in the field of children’s literature, and their expertise in texts and guidelines for selecting Arab children’s literature is noteworthy, to say the least,” she said.

Citing the current stereotyping of Arabs in popular American culture that is akin to the days of the “cowboys and Indians,” the article breaks new ground and offers guidance for teachers. The following excerpt underscores the urgency of the issues:

“Incidents of terrorism and other forms of heinous violence around the world are so dramatic and painfully wrenching that they often dictate change: in politics, in social convention, in battle, and in the classroom. The five years since the 9/11 attacks, in particular, have brought about huge shifts in the collective global view of Arabs, and it is certainly timely to examine how educators treat the literature of the people in that part of the world.

“While language arts teachers may feel like throwing up their arms in frustration at being asked to learn about yet another body of children’s literature, it has never been more important to represent a clear-headed and balanced view of a people, their culture, and their literature. In the United States, Arabs and Arab Americans have become a minority of suspicion, and enormous misconceptions and biases exist about these people and their culture.

“Mindful of all teachers’ efforts to establish cultural pluralism in their classrooms, the authors offer some guidance in defining these issues relative to children’s literature that accurately reflects some of the cultural norms of the Arab world.” Back to top

NASA contract supports development of space station supply project at Wallops
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at Wallops Island, which is operated by a partnership that includes Old Dominion, could become a global hub of space cargo transport as the result of a $171 million contract awarded Feb. 20 to a Virginia company.

Orbital Sciences Corp., which is based in Dulles, was chosen by NASA to develop an expendable rocket and delivery modules that can transport food, equipment and other essential items to personnel in the International Space Station (ISS). The company said it would use a MARS launch pad on a site leased from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore for the initial flight-testing and demonstration missions that are to begin in 2010.

The MARS partnership includes ODU, NASA and the states of Virginia and Maryland. The spaceport is operated by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA) and its fiscal agent is the ODU Research Foundation. The Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology offers technology and aerospace engineering support for MARS.

Billie Reed, the ODU assistant professor of engineering management and executive director of the VCSFA, said the selection of Orbital Sciences reflects many months of hard work by the company in collaboration with the staffs of MARS and NASA Wallops.

“It represents a major opportunity for sustaining a business ultimately to provide cargo services” in space, Reed said. “To do that here in Virginia is quite an achievement.”

Oktay Baysal, dean of the engineering college, as well as an aerospace engineer, said this step toward MARS becoming a major launch site validates decisions made at the university a decade or more ago. “We dreamed, conceptualized and convinced the state to put together the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, and we appointed one of our professors to be the director. We have been waiting for activities to pick up for eight to 10 years now.”

Baysal said new activity at the spaceport also will present academic opportunities. “There are several layers of educational and research possibilities, and we try to exploit them.”

The MARS pad that Orbital Sciences will use must be expanded to accommodate the company’s Taurus II rocket. Lower payload Minotaur I rockets have been launched previously from the pad under contracts with the Air Force.

Orbital Sciences and one other California corporation will be groomed by NASA as part of the agency’s $500 million Commercial Orbital Transport Services (COTS) program to take over transport missions upon the retirement in 2010 of the space shuttle fleet. The COTS program is aimed at finding lower price-per-flight alternatives through privately owned ventures.

After the refitting of the MARS launch pad, Orbital Science’s first launch of its Taurus II rocket is scheduled for late 2010. If all goes well with the preliminary testing and demonstrations, MARS could become a primary launch facility for ISS resupply, hosting several launches per year. The project could mean 75 new jobs for the Eastern Shore, according to Reed.

– Jim Raper
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Research projects use motivational method for gait therapy
Tests employ virtual reality to help adult stroke victims, children with cerebral palsy

The School of Physical Therapy is teaming with the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) and Center for Learning Technologies to give walking-impaired patients a helpful dose of virtual reality.

Researchers are using virtual-reality Parisian scenery and a dragon-and-princess fantasy game to encourage therapy patients to extend their workouts on a treadmill.

One team, led by Martha Walker, chair of physical therapy, has recorded an impressive success rate through the first 18 months of a project for adults who are recovering from strokes.

Another project started in mid-2007 and led by Karen Kott, associate professor of physical therapy, and Gianluca De Leo, assistant professor of medical laboratory and radiation sciences, shows promise for improving ambulation in children with cerebral palsy.

The rehabilitation strategy being employed by Walker’s team was illustrated by a visit to a lab in the Health Sciences Building early in February by a 62-year-old Portsmouth man who has hardly walked at all since he was disabled by a stroke in 2007. He does not have confidence in his balance, but he has told the researchers that he knows he must rise from his wheelchair and practice getting around on his own two feet if he is to get his balance back.

He is the seventh patient – hence the moniker of Patient 007 that he claimed for himself – to participate in the research project.

Toward the end of the 90-minute visit, Patient 007 will take a treadmill walk in a make-believe environment displayed on a large-screen television and driven by computer software.

“It’s more like you’re out for a stroll than on a treadmill,” Walker says. But it’s not a routine stroll. The virtual environment follows a sidewalk along a busy boulevard, and as patients walk they see on the horizon the Arc de Triomphe. Could this be the Champs Elysees? Are we in Paris? A virtual walking mate named Chris urges patients to keep going so they can get a close-up look at the celebrated Arc.

The visual stimulation works for Patient 007. He surprises everyone in the lab, including himself, by walking five full minutes during his first therapy session.

In the virtual-reality program developed by Kott and De Leo for children with cerebral palsy, three youngsters have been tested in a video-game environment to encourage their workouts on the treadmill. The better they perform, the quicker they can help conquer a dragon and rescue a princess. Each of the three young patients has shown improvements in various phases of ambulation measurements after three weeks of the workouts.

Virtual reality has long been used for military and pilot training. More recently, researchers have been looking at ways to adapt the technology for rehabilitation uses. Some groups have developed programs to enhance hand function or ankle function. Walker and her team decided to work on the whole-body task of walking. The combination of rehabilitation professionals and techno-wizards, such as engineers at VMASC, made Old Dominion the perfect place to carry out research in virtual-reality-assisted therapies.

For startup funds, both projects turned to seed-grant programs sponsored by the ODU Office of Research. The grants are designed to support collaborative research projects until they can compete for external funding.

Walker’s team of investigators won a $75,000 multidisciplinary grant in 2006 for their project, “Virtual Reality in Gait Rehabilitation.” Members of her team include De Leo and another faculty member from the College of Health Sciences, George Maihafer, associate professor of physical therapy. Stacie Ringleb, a biomechanical engineer and VMASC researcher, and Jessica Crouch, assistant professor of computer science, signed on as well, and so did Bonnie Van Lunen, assistant professor of exercise science, sport, physical education and recreation.

From outside ODU, Walker recruited Jean Shelton, chair of the physical medicine and rehabilitation department at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), as well as Dr. Robert Walker, attending physician for the stroke rehabilitation unit at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

With the seed funding, the researchers began assembling their hardware – a personal computer, a 50-inch flat-screen television, a professional-grade treadmill and a harness-and-hoist device that can steady patients and, if necessary, support a little of their weight while they are gaining strength. Next came the software phase. Some of the simulation software could be purchased, but it had to be integrated into an overall program.

Early in 2007, Walker and Maihafer began to see patients. When Walker made the progress report that the Office of Research required in the summer of 2007, she told her audience that four patients had been seen, and that all four had made significant progress. These patients were recovering stroke victims who for one reason or another had stopped making progress in their physical therapy and were not walking as well as they wanted to. But put them on the Champs Elysees and, Voila! They walked and walked and walked, gaining strength with every visit to the lab.

Similar success was recorded for patients five and six in the second half of 2007. Patient 007 is off to a good start, and with each visit to the lab over the late winter and early spring, he will be encouraged to exercise for longer stretches of time on the treadmill.

Walker said this is just the start of the research project. She believes the research will be sustained by additional funding, which will allow the team to conduct more tests of the concept. She wants to tweak the concept, too. What if there were a selection of virtual environments from which the patients could choose? “We could say, ‘Where would you like to go today?’ My favorite is a zoo,” she confesses. “The patient could make a virtual visit to a zoo.” Also, she would like to present graphics on the screen that are more lifelike.

But she steadfastly maintains that she wants neither the hardware nor the software to get too sophisticated or expensive. “The idea is for this to be inexpensive enough so every clinic can afford to have one of these systems,” she explains. Right now, the system in use, which is producing excellent results, can be had for under $10,000 if used with an existing treadmill and harness. A fancier set-up with three-dimensional imagery or holographs could cost many times that, putting it out of reach for the average clinic to buy.

“Our goal,” says Walker, “is to create a gait rehabilitation system that is effective and affordable so that all patients who need it can get the benefits.”

Kott and De Leo, who received a $17,000 summer project grant from the Office of Research, are using the same television-and-treadmill system. Most of that team’s effort has gone into the development of nine hours of virtual-reality software. The title of the project is “Virtual Reality for Treadmill Training: Improving Functional Ambulation in Children with Cerebral Palsy.”

Assisting with the project are Dr. Katrina Lester from the physical medicine and rehabilitation department at EVMS; physical therapy students Valerie Southerland, Nicole Ellis, Sherita Wilson and Shawn Rosengrant; and multimedia production staffers Brian Williamson, Stuart Gordon and Jacky Edwards from the ODU Center for Learning Technologies.

Rosengrant presented a winning paper at the VMASC national Capstone Conference in April 2007 outlining the project objectives. “Incorporating game-based, virtual-reality treadmill training into the treatment of children with cerebral palsy is proposed to improve their ability to develop to their highest ability and may prove to have benefits that last throughout their lifetime,” the paper stated.

Kott and De Leo said they are working with the Office of Research to find sources of funding to keep the project going. Back to top

Two Diehn Concerts on cultural calendar this month
The F. Ludwig Diehn Concert Series will feature two programs this month, one a collaboration of dance, music and the visual arts, and the other a performance by a well-known fortepianist.

Creo, Old Dominion’s contemporary-music ensemble, will be joined by Buffalo Contemporary Dance and Second Wind Dance Company for two performances on Monday and Tuesday, March 17 and 18, at the University Theatre.

A pre-concert talk at 7:30 p.m. will precede both performances, which begin at 8 p.m.

Both programs will open with a performance of Steve Reich’s “Sextet,” featuring Buffalo (N.Y.) Contemporary Dance and Creo, followed by the world premiere of “Tsitsernakabert,” a composition by Creo conductor and artistic director Andrey Kasparov that is dedicated to the Armenian Genocide of 1915. It will feature Second Wind Dance Company and Creo.

Reich, the composer of “Sextet,” is recognized as one of the leading American minimalists. “Sextet” (1984), a work in five movements played without pause, is for four percussionists and two keyboard players. Creo will be conducted by Lucy Manning, ODU visiting assistant professor of music.

“Tsitsernakabert” (2007-2008) was inspired by the memorial of the same name, located in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Atrocities committed against the Armenian people of the Ottoman Empire during World War II are referred to as the Armenian Genocide. Kasparov, an award-winning composer and musician, was born in the city of Baku, Azerbaijan, to a family of Armenian descent.

For the performance, Second Wind Dance Company will be joined by Creo, under the director of Kasparov. Peter Eudenbach, ODU assistant professor of art, collaborated with Kasparov on a visual component for the piece.

Creo, an ensemble in-residence at ODU, was founded in 1998 by Kasparov, associate professor of music. The group’s name – a Latin root for “create,” “creative,” etc. – reflects Creo’s aesthetics toward innovation and creativity. The core of the ensemble’s repertoire consists mainly of the works composed after 1945 as well as earlier 20th-century compositions.

Fortepianist Bart van Oort will perform in concert at 8 p.m. Monday, March 31, in Chandler Recital Hall of the Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center. He is a prolific recording artist, as well as recitalist, with roughly 40 recordings to date.

His repertoire runs from Haydn, whose complete piano trios he has recorded, to the romantic era, with recordings of Chopin, Field and their lesser-known contemporaries. He recently completed an eight-year project producing the complete keyboard works of Mozart, a collection which includes many pieces previously unrecorded.

Van Oort will also judge the Harold Protsman Classical Period Piano Competition on March 29 and give a master class for the winners the following day.

Tickets for the March 17, 18 and 31 concerts are $15 for general admission and $10 for students, and may be purchased by calling 683-5305. The Diehn Concert Series is funded by a grant from the F. Ludwig Diehn Fund of The Norfolk Foundation and by the Virginia Commission for the Arts.
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Students get historical, firsthand look at bay
As part of an upper-level history course, eight Old Dominion students and their instructor joined the crew of the schooner Virginia March 6-13 to sail up the Chesapeake Bay and learn about its culture and history.

The course, Shifting Sands, Tidal Waters: Exploring the Chesapeake Bay’s Culture and Environment, 1850s to Present, examines the people, culture and environment of the Chesapeake Bay region. The onboard portion of the course provided students with the unique perspective of the life of a mariner, especially the harsh realities of sailing the bay in March. While underway, students participated fully in the operation, upkeep and activities of the vessel to the best of their ability.

“Students got a real sense of the life of a mariner as well as a sense of the geography of the bay,” explained Jonathan Phillips, assistant professor of history, who teaches the course. “The schooner actually enabled students to live the past, to gain that perspective.”

The Virginia is a two-mast gaff-topsail knockabout schooner with a 12-foot draft, owned and operated by the Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation. Almost entirely handmade, she is a re-creation of her namesake vessel, the Virginia, which was the last pure sailing vessel used by the Virginia Pilot Association, in service from 1917-26 in the Chesapeake Bay.

The Virginia was scheduled to make several stops as it sailed up the Chesapeake to provide additional opportunities for students to learn about the bay’s history and culture. Locations were selected for their significance to the bay’s history and the schooner’s ability to put in to port.

The itinerary included:

  • March 7 – Yorktown, Va., to visit the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Waterman’s Museum;
  • March 9 – Reedville, Va., for a look at the local oyster harvesting operations and visits to the Reedville Marine Railway and the Fisherman’s Museum;
  • March 10 – Baltimore, to tour historic vessels, visit the Knoll Lighthouse, Douglas Myers Maritime Museum and Fell’s Point historic district; and
  • March 12 – Cambridge, Md., to tour the Dorchester County Historical Society.

The Virginia was scheduled to return to Norfolk on Thursday, March 13.

– Michelle M. Falck
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New curator joins Gordon Galleries
Chandra de Silva, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, recently announced the appointment of Ramona Austin as curator of the Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries.

Austin will be responsible for the accessioning, care and interpretation of the university’s recently acquired Gordon Self-Taught Art Collection; planning and installing exhibitions in an adjoining changing gallery that focuses on contemporary artists; and overseeing the documentation and registration of the university’s general art collection of more than 300 works dispersed around the campus. Housed in a dedicated gallery, the Gordon Self-Taught Art Collection is a donation of approximately 350 works in all media by many of America’s leading self-taught artists.

Austin was selected following a nationwide search. Robert Wojtowicz, associate dean of the college and chair of the search committee, said that three of the more than 20 applicants were invited to interview on campus and present papers on their scholarly research.

Austin comes to ODU with considerable curatorial and directorial experience. She has been the director of the Hampton University Museum and Archives; the Margaret McDermott Associate Curator for African Art at the Dallas Museum of Art; and associate curator for African art, Department of Africa, Oceania and Americas, at the Art Institute of Chicago. She also has 18 years of experience working on independent curatorial projects, programs and museum consultation.

Currently finishing her dissertation for a doctorate in the history of art at Yale University, Austin holds Master of Philosophy and Master of Art in the history of art degrees from Yale, a bachelor’s in English from Simpson College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theater from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Goodman Memorial Theatre School of Drama, now the Theatre School at DePaul University. Back to top

School of Physical Therapy sponsors conference aimed at helping amputees
The College of Health Sciences will host a two-day workshop conference, “Improving Functional Outcomes for Amputees: A Collaborative Approach,” Friday and Saturday, April 11-12, at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel in Norfolk.

This unique two-day conference will bring together physicians, prosthetists, physical therapists, nurses and case managers to discuss current best practices in the rehabilitation of amputees from pre-surgery through advanced rehabilitation, with special emphasis on how collaboration can improve outcomes.

A series of breakout sessions on April 12 will include amputee patients. These sessions will engage health professionals in multidisciplinary teams along with the patients to progress patient-centered treatment plans.

Dr. Paul Pasquina, medical director of the Amputee Program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center; John Fergason, chief prosthetist at the Brooke Army Medical Center’s Amputee Care Center; Dr. Michael Pinzur, an orthopedic surgeon who serves as medical consultant at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago; and Robert Gailey, a health sciences researcher at the Miami (Fla.) Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, are among the experts who will speak at the conference.

The conference brochure, including speaker biographies and registration information, is available on the conference Web site at www.odu.edu/amputeeconference08. The conference is sponsored by the School of Physical Therapy and supported by a grant from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. Back to top

“If years of reading Hemingway had taught me anything, it had dramatized that man should expect defeat. And I was well aware that Cuba had a capacity for manufacturing illusions. At least Castro did. He had been doing just that for years. When we arrived, he was trying to make a crumbling infrastructure appear to have the contours of paradise.” (Michael Pearson, professor of English, in a piece about his Semester at Sea in 2002)

– “Land of illusion”
Port Folio Weekly, Feb. 26

“People attach a risk to oil.” The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries “is talking about cutting production. Oil has also gone up in India and China because they have a growing economy. As they grow, the demand for fuel and energy increases.” (Vinod Agarwal, professor of economics)

– “Why you’re paying more at the pump”
The Virginian-Pilot, Feb. 22

“Raúl Castro is viewed as more of a technocrat, more pragmatic, somebody who is interested in promoting change, but on a very gradual basis.” (Francis Adams, associate professor of political science and geography)

– “Castro’s resignation gives local Cubans hope”
WVEC-TV, Feb. 19

“I do think the word is getting out. Most businesses have started to acknowledge the importance of it.” (James Bliss, associate professor of psychology)

– “Remember when we all talked about ergonomics?”
The Virginian-Pilot, Feb. 17

Engineering is “a good, lucrative field. There’s a lot of demand for our graduates.” (Linda Vahala, associate dean, Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology)

– “Event at ODU introduces engineering to girls”
The Virginian-Pilot, Feb. 17

“As far as we know, this particular species in the genus only lives in these pools in Luray Caverns. It’s rather unique.” (John Holsinger, professor of biological sciences, who first described the Luray Caverns amphipod in 1978)

– “Relics from an ancient world”
The Daily News Record, Feb. 16

“As we were walking away, one of the students said, ‘Wow, I really can do that.’ This really gives them a spark of hope.” (Sharon Davis, lecturer of occupational and technical studies)

– “Fashion teachers, students glean concepts at Vegas trade show”
The Virginian-Pilot, Feb. 15

“If we don’t make the team, we’ll cheer, that’s what we’ll do. We’re Monarchs, baby.” (Robert Lewis, freshman)

– “Playing for the Monarchs is their football fantasy”
The Virginian-Pilot, Feb. 8

“The fast-food industry should hear our message and seek better solutions.” (Laura Ray, graduate student)

– “‘Cut trash, not trees’ is rallying cry at ODU event”
The Virginian-Pilot, Feb. 6

“We’re hoping to sign a team. Eleven on offense, 11 on defense, punter, kicker. That's the goal.” (Bobby Wilder, football coach)

– “At Old Dominion, it’s being built to sell”
The Washington Post, Feb. 5
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