news

  • Koch is co-author of book that concludes entrepreneurs are born, not made
  • Swift receives Community Service Award
  • Joan Gifford, ardent ODU supporter, dies
  • Northern Virginia Center to close in June 2009
  • Gov. Kaine, Kathleen Parker are commencement speakers
  • DOD awards funding for casualty care to center, lab
  • Second patent of year awarded to Asari
  • Diehn Concert features countertenor Brian Asawa
  • Dance Theatre presents fall concert Nov. 20-22
  • Education prof’s new DVD set offers instruction for working with range of diverse clients
  • “Innocents Abroad Too:” Pearson’s latest book takes readers on journey around the world
  • Janet Peery wins Library of Virginia Literary Award
  • Noor reviews robotics field in engineering journal story
  • Dune buggy showcases progress of algae-to-biodiesel project
  • Wallops spaceport due to launch satellite in 2010
  • Noffke has cover story in Geological Society journal
  • Whittecar taking part in mitigation wetlands study
  • Cardboard, chicken wire a winning combination
  • “Dumbest Generation” author to speak here Nov. 20
  • Newsmakers


  • VMASC contract with JFCOM worth $35 million over six years
    BY JIM RAPER

    Old Dominion’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) has been awarded a contract worth up to $35.6 million to provide engineering and technical services, as well as faculty-student services, to the Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) of the U.S. military.

    For most of its 11-year existence, VMASC has provided these services to JFCOM, but the work was done under two different contractual arrangements. The work was rebid this year as one contract and VMASC, via the ODU Research Foundation, was awarded the overall job, effective Oct. 1.

    “This is a very positive indication of the continued strong relationship between ODU/VMASC and JFCOM,” said Michael McGinnis, the executive director of VMASC. “This contract, combined with the ‘sole source’ battlelab contract of $15.6 million over six years, awarded to VMASC earlier this year, puts us in a very good position to collaborate with JFCOM on a wide range of modeling and simulation initiatives for the years ahead.”

    The latest contract provides a ceiling of just over $11 million for services over the next two years, and includes dual, two-year options that, if exercised, could mean up to $35.6 million in work for VMASC over the next six years.

    Much of the sophisticated modeling, simulation and visualization work and training that JFCOM requests under the contract will be done at VMASC’s year-old, $12 million facility at the border of northern Suffolk and western Portsmouth. Some of the work also will be done at JFCOM’s Joint Warfighting Center in northern Suffolk.

    JFCOM employs numerous modeling, simulation and visualization technologies to accomplish its joint force trainer and experimentation missions. Among other uses, the command relies upon realistic computer-generated battlefield models and other types of simulation to support joint forces training. It uses these models to practice the movement or coordination of forces, to provide an operational background to a staff training event, and to augment live forces to simulate a larger operational environment.

    Modeling, simulation and visualization are the bases for one of the fastest-growing high technology sectors in Virginia. In southeastern Virginia, where VMASC has been providing training, research and business incubation for more than a decade, the sector now supports a workforce of more than 4,500 with an average annual salary of about $83,000.

    In addition to its military applications, this field provides training and technologies for use in areas such as medicine, homeland security and public safety, transportation, serious gaming, product design and manufacturing strategies, and business planning. Back to top


    ODU kicks off holidays with “Amahl,” Illumination and Madrigal Banquets
    Two traditional Old Dominion events, Illumination and the Madrigal Banquets, and a one-act Christmas-themed opera presented by the ODU Opera Theatre, “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” will help usher in the holiday season on campus.

    “Amahl,” by Gian Carlo Menotti, is “a perfect family outing for both opera lovers and those not familiar with the art form,” says Charles Stanton, lecturer of music, who directs the production. Performances are 3 p.m.

    Sunday, Nov. 23, and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 25, in Chandler Recital Hall of the Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center. The cost is $10 for faculty and staff and $5 for students. For tickets, call 683-5305.

    The eighth annual holiday Illumination will begin at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3, with a cookie decorating contest – for the young and young at heart – in the North Mall of Webb Center. The candle lighting ceremony and wreath illumination are scheduled for 5:15 p.m. outside the entrance to Webb Center. The program will feature music by the Larchmont Elementary School Chorus and ODU marching band. Refreshments and snacks will be provided.

    Registration is requested for the cookie decorating contest: 683-3116 or rsvp@odu.edu. Participants are asked to bring a canned good, which will be donated to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.

    The Madrigal Banquets, featuring the Madrigal Singers and Collegium Musicum, this year offer the music and cuisine of South America. The meal will be served in the candlelit Diehn Center atrium.

    The banquets, a longtime ODU tradition, will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5 and 6. Tickets, which are $30 for faculty and staff, and $20 for students, may be purchased by calling 683-5305. Back to top


    Library features exhibit, “School Desegregation in Norfolk, Virginia”
    To celebrate the 50th anniversary of school desegregation in Norfolk Public Schools, the Old Dominion University Libraries is featuring an exhibit, “School Desegregation in Norfolk, Virginia.” It will be on display in the main lobby of the Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library through February 2009.

    The exhibit features a variety of materials from the libraries’ Special Collections relating to school desegregation from 1951 to 1993, and the “massive resistance” campaign. These materials include letters, school board resolutions, news clippings, reports and legal documents that trace some of the events and attitudes of Virginians following the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954.

    The materials also include the reactions of the Norfolk School Board, city officials and citizen groups to the closing and eventual reopening of six of Norfolk’s public schools, and the fate of the 10,000 displaced students.

    “Photographs in the exhibit graphically illustrate the isolation that the first African American students to enter white schools faced after the schools were opened,” said Sonia Yaco, Special Collections librarian and university archivist. “As we approach the 50th anniversary of the end of state-mandated school desegregation, this exhibit shows us the failures and successes of the past, an important part of education.”

    The materials are available online at www.lib.odu.edu/special/schooldesegregation.
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    Homecoming week kicks off Nov. 14; parade on 22nd
    “Lights, Camera, Action” is the theme for Homecoming 2008, which kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, with a “Cultural Explosion” at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. This event offers an opportunity to learn about and celebrate the cultures that make up the campus community.

    A full week of events will conclude on Saturday, Nov. 22, with a homecoming parade at noon, followed by a football scrimmage (1:30 p.m.), tailgate party (2:30 p.m.) and men’s basketball game (4 p.m.), and homecoming ball (8 p.m.). The best viewing area for the parade will be in the University Village on Monarch Way.

    For details about these and other homecoming activities and events, visit
    studentaffairs.odu.edu/homecoming/events.
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    Spring tuition assistance deadline is Dec. 1
    Completed applications for the 2009 spring semester tuition assistance programs administered by the Department of Human Resources are due by 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 1. The salary cap for all tuition assistance programs is $89,000.

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

    Requests to complete degrees at other Virginia four-year institutions must meet the following requirements:

    • Degree must not be available at ODU;
    • Degree must be job-related;
    • Recipient must sign agreement stating that after completion, he/she will remain employed at ODU for one year.

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

    Spouses and dependents of full-time faculty, faculty administrators and classified employees are eligible for tuition assistance for six credit hours each in the fall and spring semesters. The benefit for dependents and spouses of part-time classified and hourly employees is prorated upon the hours worked per average 40-hour week, not to exceed 75 percent of the benefit.

    Policies may be found on the Web at www.odu.edu/af/humanresources/benefits. Information and application forms are at http://forms.odu.edu/browse.php?cat=4.

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


    Tennis center receives USTA/VA award
    The Folkes-Stevens Indoor Tennis Center recently received the USTA/VA Tennis Facility of the Year Award. The USTA Virginia district encompasses the entire state and is the largest of the four districts which comprise the USTA/Mid-Atlantic Section.

    The $7 million, 74,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility was constructed by Pepperdine Corp. of Suffolk and opened last fall. It has eight climate-controlled indoor courts and 12 outdoor courts. The center features two elevated mezzanines for spectators, a conference room, offices for the tennis staff, locker rooms and private lounge areas for the men’s and women’s teams, plus a separate locker room for member use.

    There is wireless computer connectivity, and flat screen televisions throughout the facility display campus-based programs, tennis center events and the Tennis Channel. The facility also has a large scoreboard that displays text, pictures and videos, and Court 1 has a radar gun display for serves.

    Built in large part thanks to a $1 million contribution from Grey Folkes and Ricky Stevens, the tennis center is home to the men’s and women’s teams, and is available for use by the student body, faculty and staff, and the Hampton Roads community. Back to top


    Broderick receives award for service from CCA
    Acting President John R. Broderick received the Distinguished Service Award from the College Communicators Association of Virginia and the District of Columbia at the group’s fall conference Nov. 7.

    The annual award honors college and university professionals who have made particularly meritorious contributions in the area of communications. Broderick is the second ODU administrator to be honored since the award’s creation in 1993. Kay Kemper, a former vice president for institutional advancement, received it in 1996. Back to top


      Ellin Gordon to discuss 2nd installation at gallery
      Ellin Gordon’s monthly “Gallery Talk for the Self-Taught Art Collection” at the Gordon Art Galleries has been rescheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18.

      She will discuss, with curator Ramona Austin, the second installation from the 367 pieces that she and her husband bequeathed to the university, titled “Uncommon Power: The Eye of the Self-Taught Artist.”
      This second installation takes a further look at the contextual themes that these works suggest and the artistic sensibilities that the artists bring to their creations.
      Back to top


      ODU honored for hiring workers with disabilities
      Old Dominion was honored recently with a Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services Champions award for hiring employees with disabilities. The university was formally nominated for the award on Oct. 2 as part of National Disability Awareness Month.

      ODU was selected because of the efforts of Cynthia Pollock, a personnel technician in the Office of Facilities Management. Through her work, three individuals with disabilities were hired. From May to August, they performed housekeeping duties and rearranged furniture to help get residence halls ready for students in the fall.

      Pollock said she is passionate about helping people who want to work. “A lot of people are eager to learn and get their foot in the door,” she said. Back to top


      Public Safety station opens at Powhatan Apartments
      The Office of Public Safety opened its Powhatan Satellite Station Oct. 7 in the center of the Powhatan I apartment complex. It serves as a secondary resource for a quick response to criminal activity and all other services provided by the campus police department. The station is open from 8 a.m. to midnight, five days a week. Back to top


      Men’s and women’s basketball tickets on sale
      Single-game tickets and mini plans for men’s and women’s basketball are now on sale. The discount rates for faculty and staff are $9 and $7, respectively, for men’s and women’s single-game tickets.

      Season tickets are $140 for the men’s home games and $97 for women’s home games. The Monarchs’ first regular-season home game will be at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, against Alabama-Birmingham. The Lady Monarchs open their home season at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21, against Virginia.

      To purchase tickets call 683-4444. Back to top


      Imtiaz Habib is winner of first Hixon Fellowship
      Imtiaz Habib, professor of literature, has been named as the first recipient of the Robin L. Hixon Faculty Research Fellowship. He will use the award to expand his research from his most recent book, “Black Lives in the English Archives, 1500-1677: Imprints of the Invisible” (Ashgate, 2007), by examining black voices in each of the five political periods from the early Tudor period forward.

      The fellowship, established earlier this year by Board of Visitors member and former rector James Hixon, is a memorial gift to honor his wife and her love of reading. It was created to reduce the teaching load and offset the costs of research for a faculty member of the English department engaged in writing a book-length manuscript or compiling a substantial body of research. Habib will use the fellowship next spring to continue his research project on “Black Voices in the English Archives.”

      Habib, who joined Old Dominion in 1995, has been researching race in the early modern period for nearly a decade. His recent work uncovered and collected, for the first time, anecdotal references to black people, whether from Africa, India or America, in 16th- and 17th-century England. Back to top


      “The Entrepreneurial Personality:" Koch is co-author of book that concludes entrepreneurs are born, not made
      BY LISA SNOWDY

      Books, magazine articles and educational programs on entrepreneurship are all based on the idea that anyone can be an entrepreneur – that entrepreneurs are made, not born. Well, maybe not.

      In a new book titled “Born Not Made: The Entrepreneurial Personality” (Praeger Publishers), Old Dominion President Emeritus and Board of Visitors Professor of economics James V. Koch and co-author James L. Fisher came up with a surprising conclusion: Some individuals are simply more naturally fitted to become entrepreneurs than others. They are pre-wired. Because of heredity, some people are much more likely to become successful entrepreneurs or pursue entrepreneurial strategies within a corporate setting profitably.

      Among other things, Koch and Fisher show that true entrepreneurs not only see the world differently – they act differently. Compared with corporate managers, for example, they are more confident, more decisive, more likely to upset the apple cart and more energetic. They love to compete but are notable for the partnerships they are able to fashion with friend and foe alike.

      Such conclusions are remarkable because they are based on the only empirical comparison study yet conducted on entrepreneurship. The insights are not based on personal opinion or case studies but on valid and reliable personality indicators.

      Koch and Fisher arrived at their surprising conclusion after a comprehensive study of 234 CEOs. “We developed two tests that proved to be highly accurate in predicting and explaining which CEOs in our sample of 230-plus were entrepreneurs and which were not,” said Koch.

      In addition to the empirical data, the book provides practical methods for discerning between potential entrepreneurs and those who are better suited to other management positions.

      “The single best predictor of entrepreneurial behavior is past performance. If one has been an entrepreneurial risk-taker in the past, then one is more likely to be one. Those who were risk-averters in the past are likely to be so in the future,” said Koch.

      Because the book shows that certain kinds of people will find it much easier to start successful companies than others, it has many practical applications. It will help organizations fit the right people into jobs requiring an entrepreneurial bent. It will challenge corporations to hire entrepreneurial CEOs who will transform businesses rather than maintain the status quo. And it will speak directly to entrepreneurs and those contemplating starting a business.

      It will also help readers to discern whether they have the right stuff to start and sustain a business. In short, the book provides insights into the entrepreneurial soul that can change the fortunes of individuals and companies for the better.

      Fisher, who is lead author of the book, is the most published writer on leadership and organization in higher education today. He and Koch co-wrote “The Entrepreneurial College President” in 2007.
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        Joan Gifford, ardent ODU supporter, dies
        Former Board of Visitors member Joan D. Gifford, 85, of Norfolk, died Oct. 16, 2008, after a long battle with cancer.

        A long-time supporter of Old Dominion, Gifford received an honorary doctorate of humane letters for her contributions to the university during a special ceremony last November. She was owner and chairman of the board of Gifford Management Group.

        “Joan Gifford may have been Old Dominion’s most ardent supporter ever,” acting President John R. Broderick said at her funeral service. “She was involved in nearly every aspect of the institution, ranging from her interest in the College of Business to her leadership roles in everything from the Annual Fund to the Capital Campaign.”

        He added, “But as great a volunteer, fundraiser and advocate as Joan was for ODU, it was her genuine interest and concern for so many of us that we will all miss most.”

        Gifford was appointed to the Board of Visitors in 1995. She was vice rector in 1997-98, and served on the Institutional Advancement Committee and as vice chair of the Administration and Finance Committee. In 2001, she received the Albert B. “Buck” Gornto Jr. Regional Service Award from Old Dominion. She most recently served as a member of ODU’s Economics Club of Hampton Roads and the university’s Real Estate Foundation.

        Active in the Tidewater Association of Realtors since 1953, Gifford was the first woman to receive the Realtor of the Year Award for the commonwealth of Virginia. She served locally on numerous boards and committees, including as president of the Norfolk/Chesapeake Board of Realtors.

        Gifford also served as president of the Women’s Council of Realtors for both local and state associations, and was elected for three terms as a director of the National Association of Realtors. She was honored as Professional Woman of the Year for Hampton Roads in 1984.

        Survivors include her husband, Charles S. Gifford; her son, Thomas (Tim) C. Gifford; her daughter, Francine G. Deir; and nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

        Memorial donations may be made to Lee’s Friends. Condolences may be offered to the family at www.hollomon-brown.com. Back to top


        Swift receives Community Service Award

        Donald Swift, an eminent professor and the Slover Chair of oceanography, was honored at the Founders’ Day luncheon Oct. 10 with the ODU Community Service Award.

        Swift was inspired to become a community service activist when he worked with a handyman, David Hoover, on fixing up Swift’s home in the Riverview section of Norfolk. When Hoover failed to come to work one day, Swift learned that it was because he was in prison.

        Since Hoover had no family, Swift kept in contact with him. The first thing that Hoover requested was a subscription to The Virginian-Pilot so that he could teach other inmates to read; Swift obliged. What started as a small program gained the approval of the authorities, and expanded in scope as The Sondra Ford Swift Self-Improvement Program. The name was Hoover’s idea, after he learned about the death of Swift’s wife.

        Swift credits Hoover’s vigorous letter-writing for making this program successful.

        A professor at Old Dominion on two different occasions, for a total of 25 years, Swift is currently in the Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. In between teaching at ODU, he was a NOAA scientist, worked in a research laboratory for an oil company and taught at other universities. He enjoys research and teaching and has no immediate plans for retirement. He has been awarded the F.P. Shepard Medal for excellence in marine geology. Back to top


        Northern Virginia Center to close in June 2009
        As part of budget reduction plans, Old Dominion will close its Northern Virginia Center in Sterling in June 2009, acting President John R. Broderick announced in a letter to the campus community on Oct. 9.

        “We will support the students’ degree completion plans through alternatives to site-based instruction in Northern Virginia, including video stream and online course connectivity. I am grateful to those faculty members who will play a key role in extending degree completion opportunities to the students impacted by the closure,” Broderick said.

        Currently, more than 400 students take classes at the center, which opened in the summer of 2000.
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        Gov. Kaine, Kathleen Parker are commencement speakers
        Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine and nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker will be the speakers for Old Dominion’s two commencement programs on Saturday, Dec. 13.

        Kaine will speak to graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters, Business and Public Administration and Health Sciences at the 9 a.m. ceremony. Parker will address graduates from the colleges of Education, Engineering and Technology and Sciences at the 2 p.m. ceremony. Back to top


        DOD awards funding for casualty care to center, lab
        BY JIM RAPER

        Two research and development arms of Old Dominion, the Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics and the Computational Intelligence and Machine Vision Laboratory, will receive $1.6 million under the Department of Defense’s 2009 fiscal year budget appropriation to study new ways for the U.S. military to minimize casualties and deal with them more successfully when they do occur.

        The money from the DOD appropriation measure will allow ODU researchers to expand their work in areas such as 1) the treatment of wounds using ultrashort electric pulses, 2) bioelectric disinfectant and decontamination methods and 3) computer analysis of facial features and body movements of people in a crowd to identify known terrorists or others who may intend to perform terrorist acts.

        “This funding is further evidence that our faculty members are conducting groundbreaking research and with remarkable results,” said acting President John R. Broderick. He added that the university is grateful for the assistance it received from 3rd District Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott and Virginia’s two U.S. senators, John Warner and James Webb, in securing the appropriation titled “Bioelectrics Research for Casualty Care and Management.”

        “This is a great stride forward for us,” said Karl Schoenbach, Batten Endowed Chair of bioelectric engineering, who founded the Reidy Center five years ago. He is known internationally as one of the fathers of bioelectrics, which involves exploring and utilizing the effects of ultrashort electrical pulses and of cold plasma on biological cells and tissue. One of the medical applications in which both electric pulses and plasma can be used involves wound healing.

        Richard Heller, the specialist in electrogenetherapy who became director of the Reidy Center this summer, and his wife, Loree, who is also now a researcher at the center, have contributed their expertise to a comprehensive wound-healing program.

        “We are pleased to have this opportunity to further develop this new technology,” Heller said of the DOD funding. “We have established a multidisciplinary effort that will be focused on three approaches that complement each other to reduce wound-related infections and accelerate wound healing.”

        The three approaches that will be part of this study for the DOD include use of a device that emits cold plasma to disinfect wounds and reduce wound-related infections. The second area involves the use of nanosecond pulsed electric fields that can activate the platelets in blood. These activated platelets have been demonstrated to have antibacterial and analgesic properties that accelerate wound healing.

        The final area focuses on a research specialty of the Hellers – delivering plasmid DNA encoding angiogenic factors by means of in vivo electroporation, which can significantly enhance wound healing as well as enhance the viability of a large flap or skin graft. This electrogenetherapy uses the ultrashort pulses to create entry ways for genetic material into cells.

        Heller said the three approaches will be tested as single agents or as combinations to find the best treatment approach to reduce or eliminate infection and to accelerate wound healing. “The appropriate treatment of wounds and the reduction or elimination of infections related to wounds is of critical importance to our troops,” he added.

        Mohammad Karim, vice president for research, said the DOD funding will foster more collaboration between the Reidy Center and the Vision Lab.

        The director and leading researcher of the Vision Lab, Vijayan Asari, said his facility’s expertise with robotic arms and imaging techniques can be put to use by Reidy Center researchers who need to accomplish pinpoint deliveries of electric pulses to specific cells. Previous DOD contracts and grants have helped the Vision Lab become a leader in the development of automated facial recognition technologies, and the facility also has created an electronic nose for a robotic, bomb-sniffing dog.

        “ODU Vision Lab will develop advanced image analysis techniques under this collaborative effort to automatically locate the cell regions in bioelectric images for the application of ultrashort pulses,” Asari said. “We will also develop advanced algorithms for human behavior recognition employing human face features movements and facial actions for crowd control to help keep our soldiers safer from potential threats by terrorists.”

        The Reidy Center’s work with cold plasma for disinfecting wounds also extends to the decontamination of food and drinking water, and this is expected to be included in the projects undertaken with the DOD funding. Another component will be studies of pain management using pulsed voltages, which Schoenbach said have just gotten under way. “However, the initial results have indicated that there is a good chance that we will be able to achieve our goal of developing a non-chemical method of managing pain,” he added.

        Schoenbach noted that the center’s research with an antenna-based delivery system for electrical pulses, which would allow doctors to diagnose and treat tissues, such as tumors, without physical contact, should get a boost from the latest DOD appropriation. The cancer research continues to be the main thrust at the center. Back to top


        Second patent of year awarded to Asari
        The U.S. Patent Office has awarded another patent to Vijayan Asari, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Vision Lab, for a video-enhancement technology that helps to define images in low-lighting conditions and can be used in numerous security and military applications.

        The patented technology, titled “Visibility Improvement in Color Video Stream,” is the outcome of one of the research activities by Asari and Li Tao, who was an ODU graduate student at the Vision Lab when the application was filed in 2005. Tao graduated in 2006 with a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering and currently is a senior scientist at Samsung Technologies in Irvine, Calif.

        This latest patent, which was awarded on Sept. 23, comes just five months after Asari was awarded a patent titled “Color Image Characterization, Enhancement and Balancing” together with Ming-Jung Seow, a former graduate student at the Vision Lab. Seow graduated in 2006 with a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering and works as a senior scientist at Behavioral Recognition Systems (BRS) Labs in Houston.

        The visibility improvement in a color video stream technology is based on an integrated, neighborhood-dependent, nonlinear approach for the enhancement of color images captured in various environments, such as extremely low lighting, fog or locations that are underwater.

        “This is an enhancement technique which can produce clear visibility in video streams,” Asari said. “The most important factor is that this enhancement process is faster when compared to other state-of-the-art technologies, and the enhancement can be performed in real time.”

        Innovations produced by the Vision Lab can be useful for defense and homeland security applications, such as night-time surveillance and object recognition in low-lighting conditions.

        In addition to image- and video-enhancement technologies, Vision Lab is currently conducting homeland security and defense-related research projects involving robotics and other technologies. Brief descriptions of the research projects are at the laboratory Web site: http://eng.odu.edu/visionlab.
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        Diehn Concert features countertenor Brian Asawa
        At the forefront of the current generation of countertenors, Brian Asawa will make his next appearance at Old Dominion for the Diehn Concert Series.

        The concert begins at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17, in Chandler Recital Hall of the Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center.

        Asawa has appeared with most of the world’s leading baroque conductors, and has performed at the Royal Opera House and Covent Garden, and with the San Francisco, Metropolitan, Cologne and Netherlands operas.

        Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students. For tickets, call 683-5305. Back to top


        Dance Theatre presents fall concert Nov. 20-22
        The ODU Dance Theatre’s annual fall concert, which opens Thursday, Nov. 20, at the University Theatre, will include a wide variety of dance forms, ranging from ballet to jazz to modern.

        The program features exciting, entertaining and thought-provoking works choreographed by ODU dance faculty, guest artists and selected students, and performed by ODU students.

        Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. Nov. 20, 21 and 22; a matinee performance, at 2 p.m., will also take place on Nov. 22.

        Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for students. For tickets, call 683-5305. Back to top


        “Culturally Alert Counseling:” Education prof’s new DVD set offers instruction for working with range of diverse clients
        BY STEVE DANIEL

        Infusing culture into counseling work is the goal of a new, comprehensive set of DVDs on working with diverse clients that was produced by Garrett McAuliffe, University Professor of counseling.

        “Culturally Alert Counseling: Demonstrations of Key Practices with African American, Asian, Latino/Latina, Conservative Religious, and Lesbian/Gay Clients” is now available in a boxed set, which also includes resource guides and a book, “Culturally Alert Counseling: A Comprehensive Introduction.”

        The six-DVD set, guides and book are published by Sage Publications.

        “The DVDs are guided, explicit demonstrations of how to seamlessly infuse culture into counseling sessions. This is a first-of-its-kind product, one that will be needed as the counseling field embraces all clients from all groups in our society,” McAuliffe explained.

        “Above all fields, counseling requires modeling of sessions and skills in realistic settings. Here, eight sessions are conducted with counselors narrating introductions to the central issues for working with each group.”

        McAuliffe notes that two of the DVDs are groundbreaking. One is the video on counseling for youth who are questioning their sexual identity, or coming out to themselves or others. The other is on working with religious conservatives.

        The video on gay affirmative counseling “is especially important for all counselors, including those in schools, agencies, private practice and colleges, as the knowledge gained from the video can save clients’ lives,” McAuliffe said.

        The first video in the set is also unique. It is the first demonstration of a complete set of multicultural counseling skills, founded on the best current research, that can be applied to infusing gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, race and/or social class into counseling.

        Each session in the DVD set was scripted to highlight common topics. Subtitles teach viewers the counseling skills being used as well as the cultural issues that clients are exhibiting. The vignettes were created in consultation with national experts in each area.

        The DVD set received funding from ODU Faculty Innovator and Faculty Development grants. The university’s Office of Distance Learning produced the videos, led by video project director and editor Kirby Broyles from the video production unit.

        Playing counselor roles in the videos are Old Dominion faculty members Tim Grothaus and Tammi Milliken from the counseling and human services programs in the Darden College of Education. University academic advisers Arminda Israel and Jose Ramos, faculty member Gwen Lee-Thomas and counseling students play the roles of clients.

        A promotional segment from the DVD set can be viewed on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SlXGgcbQJg. Back to top


        “Innocents Abroad Too:” Pearson’s latest book takes readers on journey around the world
        BY MICHELLE M. FALCK

        Japan. China. India. Turkey. Cuba. Countries we’ve read about in news headlines and history books, but places that few of us have visited. The very names can conjure romantic fantasies of adventure and stir a yearning to travel.

        Professional realities and the constraints of one’s pocketbook, however, or complacency and the relative security of staying put, often keep such fantasies from coming to fruition. But armchair travelers and lovers of travel narratives now have a new vehicle for exercising their imaginations.

        Michael Pearson, professor of creative writing, has written a new book titled “Innocents Abroad Too,” chronicling his experiences of traveling, twice, as a faculty member in the Semester at Sea program. Pearson’s book, published by Syracuse University Press, uses rich imagery, humorous anecdotes and literary references to detail his experiences visiting new places in the company of young students and, often, novice travelers.

        “Conflict makes good stories,” Pearson observed, “and this book explores the depths and profundity of students engaging in the world, and the mishaps also.”

        During his first Semester at Sea assignment in 2002, Pearson visited Canada, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Kenya, South Africa, Brazil and Cuba. On his second venture, in 2006, he traveled to Mexico, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Egypt, Turkey, Croatia and Spain.

        In the prelude to his book, Pearson explains how the title, an appropriation of Mark Twain’s 1872 book, “The Innocents Abroad,” reflects the idea that a traveler can never fully comprehend the culture or people of places visited.

        “The traveler must always recognize the limits of his or her vision,” Pearson writes. “The first step in a journey may always start with some degree of arrogance, but for it to continue and become a true journey, there must be humility.”

        Despite this inherent obstacle facing travelers, Pearson acknowledged the value in venturing beyond one’s sphere of comfort to experience first-hand the world of the other.

        “We tend to accept the conventional wisdom about other cultures, but it is hard to accept it when you’re at ground level and you experience the most profound sense of the individual character of people in the world,” he said. “You need to rip yourself out of the bubble and see people as they are.”

        The beauty and novelty of new countries and cultures were not the only impressions Pearson took away from his travels. He also experienced an increased awareness of the fortunate circumstances in which Americans live, and often take for granted.

        “I was crushed to see children as young as 4 or 5, living on the streets and hustling tourists, selling postcards to survive,” he recalled. “When you see how difficult the lives are of so many people in other parts of the world, you realize that even those living in difficult situations here in the United States are comparatively better off than so many living in Asia or Africa.”

        Pearson is scheduled to give readings and book signings of “Innocents Abroad Too” at area bookstores and around the country. He will be at Prince Books, downtown Norfolk, at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14; Barnes and Noble, MacArthur Center, at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec 6.; and the University Village Bookstore at noon Tuesday, Feb. 10. Back to top


        Janet Peery wins Library of Virginia Literary Award
        Janet Peery, University Professor of creative writing, has won the Library of Virginia Literary Award for Fiction for her novel “What the Thunder Said.”

        “In ‘What the Thunder Said,’ the language and structure of the novel appear effortless,” the contest judges state in a Library of Virginia press release. “The narrative voice is authentic and evocative of the

        Depression during the dust bowl years and Peery’s prose is beautifully lyrical.”

        For the first time since the inception of the Library of Virginia Literary Awards, two authors were selected as winners in the best works of fiction category. Peery shared the honor with Helon Habila, the author of “Measuring Time” and a creative writing professor at George Mason University.

        Described as a novella and stories set in the Dust Bowl of 1930s Oklahoma, Peery’s book tracks the wayward progress of two sisters who leave home to forge their own separate paths, each setting off in search of a new life, and each finding a fate different than expected.

        Published by St. Martin’s Press, “What the Thunder Said” also recently received the 2008 WILLA Literary Award for Contemporary Fiction. Back to top


        Noor reviews robotics field in engineering journal story
        BY JIM RAPER

        Ahmed Noor reviews the field of robotics in the November cover story for the magazine Mechanical Engineering, and concludes that the United States has some catching up to do.

        Noor is the eminent scholar and William E. Lobeck Professor of aerospace engineering as well as the director of Old Dominion’s Center for Advanced Engineering Environments (CAEE) in Hampton.

        Robots are beginning to live up to their promise – dating back to the early 20th century – to relieve humans of some of their most difficult chores, Noor writes in the article. “Contemporary robots are used for jobs that are boring, dirty or dangerous; or for tasks that require more speed, precision or endurance than a human can provide.”

        He cites current uses of robotics for welding and painting on assembly lines, in space landing crafts and rovers, and for instruments used in medicine and precise surgical procedures. But he strikes a cautionary note, pointing out that the United States has lost its pre-eminence in industrial robotics and that today nearly all of the country’s robots for welding, painting and assembly are imported from Japan and Europe. Overall, Noor writes, Japan and South Korea have become leaders in technology for human-like robots, Australia is the top producer of robots for field work in areas such as mining, and Europe leads in structured-environment robotics for purposes such as care of the elderly.

        The United States’ primary focus in recent years has been on robotics for defense-related applications, according to Noor’s article. To expand the nation’s work in the field, U.S. leaders in robotics participated in a recent series of workshops and launched an initiative in January to formulate a research and development road map for nonmilitary applications, he writes.

        Noor reviews new categories of autonomous and mobile robots that have expanded the applications of robotics. Cognitive robots are endowed with artificial reasoning skills to achieve complex goals in complex environments. Neurorobotics combines neuroscience with robotics, and is coming up with devices with control systems that mimic the nervous system. Evolutionary robotics aims to produce devices that acquire skills through close interaction with the environment.

        So what has new-fangled robotics already given us? Noor describes in the article: a four-legged robot that can climb on rough terrains or other places where accessibility is difficult and carry heavy loads; a snake-like robot that can maneuver underwater or in tight terrestrial spots to search for earthquake victims and do other chores; and a big, bug-like robot that fights forest fires.

        In an interview, Noor said, “Intelligent, autonomous and network robotic systems are expected to become the next disruptive transformative technology, and to have a profound impact on many aspects of our personal and professional lives.”

        He believes, for example, that mobile robotic displays will provide flexibility in the workplace and living areas. “Robotic self-assembling, self-reconfiguring and self-repairing modules, along with the connectors between the modules, will enable the creation of arbitrary and changing smart office and home furniture. A stool can become a chair, and a set of chairs can become a sofa.”

        Publication of the November issue of Mechanical Engineering with the Noor story coincided with the professor’s opportunity to showcase the work at CAEE for more than 100 engineers and manufacturing representatives who were in Hampton for the 2008 North American Regional Summit of NAFEMS, the international arbiter of standards in computer-assisted engineering.

        The visitors toured CAEE to get Noor’s take on how the engineering simulation industry will evolve between now and 2020, and a significant portion of his presentation focused on robotics. Among the technologies being developed and tested at CAEE are those that allow people to communicate orally with computers. Unlike clumsy voice-activation systems of the past, these new interfaces are much more like person-to-person communications and have valuable uses in robotics.

        Noor delivered the opening keynote address for the NAFEMS summit. Back to top


        Wallops spaceport due to launch satellite in 2010
        The Pentagon has ordered a new, low-cost optical reconnaissance satellite that is expected to be launched within two years from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at Wallops Island, which is operated by a partnership that includes Old Dominion.

        The Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) office is finalizing a contract with Goodrich ISR Systems of Danbury, Conn., to build a satellite dubbed ORS-Sat-1. It is being developed in response to an unspecified and urgent need from U.S. Central Command, according to Peter Wegner, director of the ORS office. ORS satellite development efforts to date have been limited to experimental craft. The ORS-Sat-1 will be the first of its type procured by the ORS office for operational use.

        Goodrich will provide a fully integrated space system that will be launched by the U.S. Air Force. The company will develop the electro-optical imaging payload, and Alliant Techsystems (ATK) of Minneapolis will provide the spacecraft platform. The satellite is planned for launch in late 2010 aboard a Minotaur 1 rocket from Wallops Island.

        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. Back to top


        Whittecar taking part in mitigation wetlands study
        When a permit is issued to allow wetlands to be filled for a construction project, the developer is often required by the permitting agency, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to create elsewhere a comparable tract called mitigation wetlands. But questions exist about the efficacy of these tradeoffs, and Old Dominion geologist Richard Whittecar has received a grant to examine reasons why mitigation wetlands sometimes produce disappointing results.

        Whittecar is part of a team, which also includes researchers from Virginia Tech, that received $600,000 from the Peterson Family Foundation for a 36-month study on behalf of the Piedmont Wetlands Research Program. ODU’s portion of the funding is almost $250,000.

        The researchers will assess existing procedures and models for their effectiveness in predicting groundwater and surface water flows in mitigation wetland sites typically constructed in the Virginia Piedmont. The models that prove to be most effective will be packaged as modules and incorporated into a software package that will be easy for wetland developers to use. In addition, the researchers will develop training materials and offer workshops to teach others to use the new software product.
        Back to top


        Noffke has cover story in Geological Society journal
        Geobiologist Nora Noffke is the author of the cover article in the October issue of the Geological Society of America journal, GSA Today: “Turbulent Lifestyle: Microbial Mats on Earth’s Sandy Beaches – Today and 3 Billion Years Ago.”

        Noffke, who is an associate professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences, was invited to write the article. It describes research she has pioneered showing that microbial mats that cover tidal flats today also existed 3 billion years ago. She has found evidence of Earth’s earliest life in the geological record in South Africa.

        Her work has helped to coin the term “microbially induced sedimentary structures,” also called MISS.
        Back to top


        Cardboard, chicken wire a winning combination
        A pumpkin catcher made of cardboard boxes and chicken wire springs won the award for most innovative design in the 10th annual Pumpkin Drop, sponsored by the ODU Society of Physics Students on Oct. 30 at the Batten Arts and Letters Building.

        The winning catcher, which successfully cushioned the fall of a pumpkin dropped from the top of the nine-story building, was designed and built by Autumn Compton and Caitlin Toler. They are students in the Physics 101 class of Sebastian Kuhn, eminent scholar of physics.

        Another successful catcher, a compact pile of bubble wrap and cardboard sheets, won the prize for the shortest catcher. It was entered by a team of Portsmouth Christian School students led by their teacher, Aaron Karavias, who holds a degree in physics from ODU. Back to top


        Dune buggy showcases progress of algae-to-biodiesel project
        The dune buggy that was zipping around campus on Monday, Oct. 20, represented one more victory for the university’s pilot project for converting algae into biodiesel fuel.

        Patrick Hatcher (pictured right), the Batten Endowed Chair in physical sciences and executive director of the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium (VCERC), got one of the first rides in the new, white buggy that was built by Jes Sprouse (pictured left), the Prince George County entrepreneur who has partnered with Old Dominion to begin building Algal Farms Inc. about 70 miles west of Norfolk.

        Sprouse ordered an Italian-made, 10-horsepower diesel engine and a transmission from a Web site, and then designed and built the buggy to showcase the biodiesel fuel being produced with the first harvests of algae grown at Algal Farms.

        There is currently a one-acre pond producing algae, and another pond is under construction. More ponds are planned at the 240-acre site as the pilot project matures.

        Hatcher and Sprouse told WAVY-TV that the buggy is running in the early going on a mixture of 15 percent biodiesel fuel made at the farm from algae and 85 percent commercial biodiesel fuel made from soybeans. The percentage of algae-based fuel will be increased as more algae is produced at the farm. The dune buggy can travel about 100 miles on one gallon of biodiesel fuel.

        Next on the agenda, Hatcher said, will be tests of algae-based biodiesel in a full-sized, diesel-engine automobile.

        The state-funded VCERC, which is headquartered at ODU, is spearheading the algae-to-biodiesel project, as well as studies of other alternative energy possibilities, such as electricity production by offshore wind turbines. Back to top


        “Dumbest Generation” author to speak here Nov. 20
        BY BRYONEY HAYES

        Mark Bauerlein, author of “The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes our Future,” will speak as part of the National Education Association’s American Education Week at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20.

        His talk, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Mills Godwin Jr. Life Sciences Building auditorium. Sponsored by the Darden College of Education, the NEA Education Week celebration will also include a lecture by Milton Chen, executive director of the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF), at 3 p.m. Nov. 20 in the MGB auditorium.

        Bauerlein, an English professor at Emory University, wrote “The Dumbest Generation” out of alarm at what he sees as the rapid decline of intellectual pursuits among the younger generation, and the potential harm this could cause as this generation takes the place of the baby boomers. He writes that the Internet, with its wealth of unlimited knowledge, has ended up being used mainly as a tool to extend cafeteria conversations among young people, making them experts on themselves and each other – and that’s it, according to dumbestgeneration.com.

        Bauerlein has taught at Emory since 1989, except for the time he served as the director of the Office of Research and Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003-05. In addition to teaching and writing books, Bauerlein publishes articles in the Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard, Washington Post and Chronicle of Higher Education.

        As executive director of GLEF, Chen leads a group dedicated to integrating multimedia resources into 21st-century classrooms. Its Edutopia Web site and magazine, along with documentary films, help to communicate this message.

        Before joining GLEF in 1998, Chen was the founding director of the KQED Center for Education and Lifelong Learning (PBS) in San Francisco. He has also been a research director at the Children’s Television Workshop in New York and an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Back to top


        Newsmakers
        “Our study is the first to correlate a pathogen with an extinction event in mammals, although we know about disease-associated extinction in snails and disease-associated population declines in amphibians.” (Alex Greenwood, assistant professor of biological sciences)

        – “Christmas Island’s native rats went extinct due to invasive pathogen”
        ANI (India), Nov. 5

        “It’s not going to solve all of the problems. People don’t obey the speed limit now. But it will help reduce the risk of something terrible happening.” (Adam Samson, senior political science major, on Norfolk mayor Paul Fraim’s proposal to reduce the speed limit to 25 mph on Hampton Boulevard)

        – “Lower speed limit sought on Hampton Boulevard near ODU”
        The Virginian-Pilot, Nov. 2

        “I was asked [on campus] if I was registered to vote at least 70 times.” (Patrick Austin, editor of The Mace & Crown)

        – “Most college newspapers in Va. silent on endorsements”
        The Daily Progress, Oct. 30

        “Government and military spending in this area gives us a cushion. The decline won’t be nearly as large as in other parts of the country.” (James Koch, Board of Visitors Professor of economics)

        – “Military spending cushions economy”
        The Daily Press, Oct. 29

        “This company has done a very successful job of selecting markets where there is a shortage of student housing.” (Robert Fenning, vice president for administration and finance)

        – “Private dorm for 1,000 planned for ODU campus”
        The Virginian-Pilot, Oct. 24

        “... I am, in my adult life, a man obsessed with primates, having always recognized something of myself within them, and of them within me.” (Michael Blumenthal, Mina Hohenberg Darden Chair in creative writing)

        – “Learning to speak baboon”
        Washington Post Magazine, Oct. 19

        “If we could find a better way of understanding where they might be, then we could find better ways of avoiding hitting them.” (Larry Atkinson, eminent scholar of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences)

        – “New speed limits for cargo vessels aim to help whales”
        The Virginian-Pilot, Oct. 16 Back to top