Gov. Timothy Kaine unveiled a 2009 budget proposal on Dec. 17 that would provide $2.1 million in continued state support for Old Dominion’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC), signifying the growing importance of modeling, simulation and visualization (MS&V) to the Hampton Roads economy.
A $2.1 million budget appropriation, coming in a lean budget year, would demonstrate the faith that the Kaine administration and the General Assembly have in the economic development stimulus of the MS&V sector in Virginia, said acting President John R. Broderick.
“The governor’s commitment to modeling and simulation surely shows his understanding of what this growing industry means to our region, to the creation of jobs and to the expansion of the economy,” Broderick said. “Also, this budget recommendation recognizes the unique role that VMASC plays in educating leaders in this field. More than 125 engineering graduate students at ODU currently are conducting research and studying at VMASC, gaining the qualifications they need to fill jobs in a variety of businesses and industries throughout the region.”
An economic impact study released earlier this year found that MS&V enterprises in Hampton Roads provided almost 4,500 high-wage jobs in 2007. These workers earn an average annual salary of about $83,000, up by 37 percent since 2004 and more than double the average for all Hampton Roads workers, according to the study.
VMASC, which was established by ODU in 1997, has been a catalyst for the growth of the MS&V sector, both in the region and state. VMASC experts also have been called upon by the General Assembly to conduct studies and make recommendations on policy matters ranging from road construction to disaster planning. For example, VMASC completed this fall a major Hampton Roads transportation project review that had been commissioned by legislators.
Broderick said state support for VMASC in the coming budget year would help to assure the center’s future. “This is something that I and members of our Board of Visitors have been promoting with the governor and his cabinet since the summertime,” the acting president added. “The General Assembly has always been supportive of modeling and simulation and it is certainly our goal to maintain that support in this session. The fact that VMASC has been asked by the Hampton Roads delegation to take a leadership role in the transportation project is great evidence of that.”
The General Assembly will consider the governor’s budget proposal during its 2009 session, which began earlier this month.
An economic impact study by the consulting and research firm Angle Technology that was released earlier this year showed that Hampton Roads gained at least $365 million in economic activity in 2007 from MS&V enterprises. The firm reported that according to a second model, the impact may be as high as $600 million.
The report found that regional MS&V employment rose 25 percent between 2004 and 2007 and forecast a regional MS&V employment increase averaging 14.5 percent a year through 2012.
Angle Technology performed the study at the request of the ODU Research Foundation, the Hampton Roads Partnership, the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission also contributed economic impact analysis.
At the time that Angle released its report, Kaine said, “This is a revealing study that shows the significant impact of the modeling and simulation sector in Hampton Roads.” He also gave credit to VMASC for helping to make MS&V a growth industry. “We are using the technology developed and used at VMASC to save lives in the medical field and to model evacuation procedures,” Kaine said, offering two examples of VMASC’s research and development focuses.
VMASC, which moved last year into a new $11.6 million facility in the Churchland area at the Portsmouth-Suffolk border, trains graduate students in MS&V and also serves as a research and development center that supports government/military entities and private industry. It acts as an incubator for entrepreneurial activities in MS&V, often assisting in business startups.
“VMASC is pleased with the role it plays as a catalyst for growth in the modeling, simulation and visualization sector in the region,” said Michael McGinnis, the retired brigadier general who has been executive director of VMASC since June 2006. “With the opening of our new facility, we have gained the ability to train more students and to step up our efforts in research and development.”
MS&V comprises numerous planning, analysis and training tools made possible by sophisticated computing. These tools can suggest and test concepts, minimizing reliance upon trial and error, and they can present information in ways that enhance comprehension. For example, the tools might teach a medical student how to perform a surgical procedure without putting an actual patient in harm’s way. Other applications are seen in simulations to test aircraft designs, in vehicular traffic models to simulate and improve flow at highway interchanges, in video games to teach algebra and in models to predict the performance of a soldier or an athlete. Artificial intelligence, robotics and virtual environments also are part of MS&V.
MS&V growth in the region reflects the support of leaders in government, education and industry who believe Virginia, and especially Hampton Roads, can become an international leader in this high-technology field, McGinnis said.
“These are high-skill, high-wage jobs that any region in the country would be proud to have,” Mark Warner, whose gubernatorial administration from 2001-05 generated critical seed money for MS&V research and development in Hampton Roads, said earlier this year. “All of our partners public and private, military, federal, state, regional and local should be proud of what we have been able to accomplish by working together.” Warner was elected a U.S. senator from Virginia in November.
The northern tip of Suffolk has been dubbed “Sim City” because of its concentration of simulation-related facilities, agencies and industries. In addition to ODU’s VMASC, Lockheed Martin Corp., General Dynamics Corp., Raytheon Co. and Science Applications International Corp. have a presence in the region. Altogether, about 50 businesses and industries, ranging from the large Northrop Grumman in Newport News to the small WernerAnderson Inc. in Gloucester, are VMASC industry members. Sim City also is home to the Joint Forces Command’s Joint Warfighting Center, a research arm of the Pentagon.
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Foreign policy in the Obama administration: An interview with ODU’s Simon Serfaty
BY MICHELLE M. FALCK
Americans, and indeed many citizens around the globe, are anxious to see what actions President Barack Obama will take to address the decisions in U.S. foreign policy made over the past eight years.
Simon Serfaty, eminent scholar and professor of U.S. foreign policy in the international studies graduate program, spoke on this topic at the College of Arts and Letters Senior Scholar Lecture last semester. In an interview prior to the lecture, he discussed some of the specific steps that he believes Obama can and should take during the early months of his administration.
What can be expected of the new administration in the context of urgent issues and the difficult legacy that awaits it?
Obama represents significant change, but will initially demonstrate a great deal of continuity with the previous administration’s policies. Bush himself adapted his policies considerably in 2008, and the outgoing Bush is quite distinct from the Bush of 2004.
There are a number of issues that Obama will need to address immediately: which wars to enter or not to enter; the conflict in the Middle East and the need to move forward after the Israeli elections; the difficult and nearly collapsing political condition in Pakistan; the conflict with Iran; the need to not indulge yet not provoke the leadership of Russia; and the ongoing situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Personally, I would like to think that he will not give up on the Bush deployment.
How does a new president tackle all these fronts simultaneously?
First, he will assemble his cabinet and subcabinet very quickly, as the domestic and foreign issues he will face demand quick action. He must pick a few priorities ones that present an opportunity to deliver visible results and that will quickly satisfy expectations.
On the domestic side, the stimulus package will be an important priority, but he also must focus on Iraq very quickly. An expeditious withdrawal must be balanced with the reality of the situation it should be seen as a withdrawal and not a retreat. He also should demonstrate to adversarial nations that the U.S. is open to negotiations.
What are some examples of the priorities that will deliver quick and positive results?
Obama should select several “easy” and symbolic issues that help his administration look good at relatively little political cost. The closing of Guantanamo would show that America is “not made for torture” and demonstrate that the U.S. does not find it acceptable. Support of a reevaluation of the Geneva Convention, without the U.S. needing to take the lead, would recognize that war is different now than when the Convention was written. Taking initiatives on climate change and the environment would also be important.
(Serfaty, who holds the first Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., is the author of “Architects of Delusion: Europe, America and the Iraq War.”) Back to top
Forecast team offers predictions on region’s economy
The ODU Economic Forecast Team gave its annual regional economic forecast on Jan. 14. The forecast, developed by business professors Gil Yochum, Vinod Agarwal and Mohammad Najand, was presented as part of the Economics Club of Hampton Roads speaker series.
The team predicted that, although the region will experience a decline in retail sales and continued problems in the housing market, Hampton Roads will barely avoid a recession in 2009 due to more defense spending and higher pay for members of the military. To view the report, go to www.odu.edu/ao/news/index.php?todo=details=13589.
Cristian deRitis, director of credit analytics for Moody’s Economy.com, was the featured speaker for the afternoon portion of the program. His presentation focused on national issues related to labor, housing and mortgage markets. Back to top
Rothe wins Criminologist of the Year award
Dawn Rothe, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice, was awarded the Critical Criminologist of the Year award by the American Society of Criminology.
Rothe’s areas of research include crimes of the state, such as crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes and other massive human rights violations. More recently, she has been researching transnational crime, most notably, that of human trafficking of body parts and the causes that bring about and sustain authoritarian regimes, which is a natural extension of her previous work in the realm of state crimes.
“Dr. Rothe is a uniquely productive scholar who, in addition to numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, has already published two books, with two more under contract and expected out in 2009,” said Randy Gainey, chair of the sociology and criminal justice department. “Her works reflect her critical passion for social justice and hatred of injustice, and her achievements are many.”
Rothe’s most recent book is “Blood, Power and Bedlam: Violations of International Criminal Law in Post-Colonial Africa” (Peter Lang Publishing, 2008).
The American Society of Criminology is an international organization concerned with the etiology, prevention, control and treatment of crime and delinquency on a scholarly, scientific and professional level. Back to top
Elizabeth River Project taps ODU for River Star award
Old Dominion was recognized Jan. 15 as a Sustained Distinguished Performance River Star, a program sponsored by the Elizabeth River Project. The university has won River Star awards in the past in different categories.
The ERP’s River Stars program is one of the most successful local pollution prevention and habitat restoration programs in Virginia. Back to top
Marimba percussionistto join Chamber Consort
Marimba virtuoso and composer Kevin Bobo will join the Norfolk Chamber Consort Monday, Feb. 2, in a Diehn Concert Series performance at 8 p.m. in Chandler Recital Hall of the Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center.
A professor of marimba at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Bobo has performed across the country and throughout the world. He has been recorded on several albums, including two solo marimba recordings, “Marimba Jambalaya” (1998) and “Chronicles” (2006).
The Norfolk Chamber Consort, in its 41st year, makes its debut in the concert series under the new leadership of Andrey Kasparov, associate professor of music. The program will present ensemble works by prominent composers such as John Adams, George Crumb and Liciano Berio.
Bobo and the Consort will be assisted by area musicians Yun Zhang, violin; David Walker, percussion; Oksana Lutsyshyn, piano; and Michael Daniels, cello.
Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for general admission, and may be reserved by calling 683-5305. Back to top
Faculty authors, president of PETA to sign books
The University Village Bookstore will host book signings by three faculty authors and the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) over the next few weeks. A fourth faculty author signing, on Jan. 29, will be at the Virginia Beach Higher Education Center.
The schedule is as follows:
- Jan. 28 Sheri Reynolds, “The Sweet In-Between,” noon;
- Jan. 29 James Sweeney, “Race, Reason and Massive Resistance,” 7 p.m. (Virginia Beach Center);
- Feb. 3 Ingrid Newkirk, president and co-founder of PETA, “One Can Make a Difference,” noon;
- Feb. 5 Joyce Hoffmann, “On Their Own: Women Journalists and the American Experience in Vietnam,” noon; and
- Feb. 10 Michael Pearson, “Innocents Abroad Too,” noon. Back to top
“Poe Pourri” set for Jan. 25 at Virginia Beach Center
The English Department and the Alumni Association are teaming up to present “E.A. Poe ‘Poe Pourri’” from 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25, at the Virginia Beach Higher Education Center.
Billed as “A Grand, Fantastical, Phantasmagoric Affair,” the free event is offered in honor of the writer’s 200th birthday. It will feature a talk on Poe in Virginia, an illustrated discourse on Poe in the movies and a reading of the best Poe imitation poem or story by an Old Dominion student. Assorted “macabre refreshments” also are promised.
For more information contact Jeffrey Richards, chair of the English department, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Back to top
Alums named Yachtsman, Yachtswoman of the Year
Old Dominion alumni Terry Hutchinson ’90 and Anna Tunnicliffe ’05 have been named U.S. Sailing’s 2008 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year.
Established in 1961 by U.S. Sailing and sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. since 1980, the awards recognize the outstanding on-the-water competitive achievement of an individual man and woman in the calendar year just concluded. Hutchinson and Tunnicliffe will be honored Feb. 27 at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan.
Hutchinson, of Annapolis, Md., earned Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) All-America honors four times at ODU, and was twice recognized as College Sailor of the Year. Members of the selection panel remarked that in 2008 the 40-year-old father of three had “redefined himself” after he “emerged from the America’s Cup to be an awesome fleet racer.”
The 26-year-old Tunnicliffe, of Plantation, Fla., won the gold medal in Laser Radial sailing at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. In 2005, she was named the Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year. That recognition capped her collegiate sailing career at ODU, where she earned ICSA All-America honors three straight years. Back to top
“Hansel & Gretel” opera coming to Univ. Theatre
“Hansel & Gretel, the Opera,” a production featuring the collaboration of the theatre, dance and music programs, will open on the University Theatre stage at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19.
Written by German composer Engelbert Humperdinck, the opera presents the classic fairy tale of two children sent by their angry mother into the woods to hunt wild strawberries. But they become lost and are captured by an evil witch, who wants to fatten Hansel before she cooks and eats him.
Other performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. Feb. 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28. Tickets are $15 ($10 for students), and may be reserved by calling 683-5305. Back to top
ODU grad chosen to chair Legislative Black Caucus
Virginia Delegate Kenny Alexander, a 1990 graduate of Old Dominion, was selected by his peers in December to chair the Legislative Black Caucus, a coalition of the 14 African American state legislators in the General Assembly.
A Democrat from Norfolk, in whose district ODU lies, Alexander is one of six university alumni serving in the General Assembly. He is the proprietor of Metropolitan Funeral Service in Norfolk. Back to top
Meeting looks at minorities and juvenile justice system
Old Dominion’s Institute for Community Justice and the city of Norfolk will co-sponsor a town hall meeting Saturday, Jan. 24, to explore the causes of and possible solutions to the disproportionate number of minority youth in the juvenile justice system. The forum will begin at 9:30 a.m. in room 1012 of the Batten Arts and Letters Building. It is free and open to the public.
Experts in juvenile justice on the local, state and national levels will come together to explore the causes, consequences and potential answers for disproportionate minority contact, which occurs when the proportion of minority youths involved in the juvenile justice system exceeds their proportion in the general population.
Shay Bilchik, director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University, will serve as keynote speaker. Back to top
Speakers offer encouragement, advice
Nearly 1,000 students received their degrees at Old Dominion’s commencement exercises Dec. 13 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
Gov. Timothy Kaine, who spoke at the 9 a.m. ceremony for the colleges of Arts and Letters, Business and Public Administration and Health Sciences, told the graduates to do things that day that they would remember forever, such as setting things right with anyone they’ve wronged and freely showing their love and appreciation to their families and friends who supported them through their education.
He also urged the graduates to understand their role in ensuring education continues to thrive for the betterment of the country. “What we’re (celebrating) today is precisely what we need to be about as a nation ... focusing on broadening educational access.
“What you do as alumni will help not only this institution be strong, but higher education as a whole.”
Washington Post syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker spoke to graduates of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, Darden College of Education and the College of Sciences at the 2 p.m. ceremony.
“Life is not a race,” she told them. “Sometimes the road is not straight. Relax. Go out and do something creative.”
The university awarded honorary doctor of humane letters degrees at the two ceremonies to four alumni: Delores Johnson Brown and Patricia Turner, members of the original “Norfolk 17” who integrated the city’s public schools; Robert L. Fodrey Sr., a former Board of Visitors member and longtime ODU volunteer; and Anne Donovan, who coached the U.S. women’s basketball gold-medal team at the Olympics in Beijing.
Turner and Fodrey received their degrees at the morning ceremony; Brown and Donovan were awarded their degrees during the afternoon program.Back to top
String quartet awarded instruments
BY MICHELLE M. FALCK
The Diehn String Quartet, comprising the best string instrument students at Old Dominion, has been awarded a set of matching modern Italian instruments by maker Alvaro Corrochano as part of a scholarship sponsored by the Virginia chapter of the American String Teachers Association (VASTA).
The quartet will have use of the instruments, a viola, a cello and two violins, for one year and is required to perform with the instruments at four area high schools and four community events during that time. Leslie Frittelli, adjunct associate professor of music, will oversee rehearsals with the students, who are responsible for the insurance and proper maintenance of the rare instruments.
The quartet includes violinists Anna Dobrzyn and Mary Dart, both juniors majoring in music education; violist Shirley Luu, a junior majoring in international studies with a minor in music; and cellist Kevin Jones, a senior music performance major.
“This is an incredible honor for them and a wonderful inspiration for their continued excellence and success,” said Lucy Manning, assistant professor of music and director of the ODU Symphony Orchestra, who is president-elect of VASTA. She credited Frittelli for submitting the application.
The application opportunity was available to any college string quartet in Virginia whose school hosts a student chapter of VASTA. Other eligible institutions included James Madison University, George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Shenandoah Conservatory.
The award was presented lat month at the Virginia Music Educators Association fall conference. The ODU quartet is scheduled to perform at next year’s VMEA conference.
The instruments, a gift from an anonymous donor and collector of fine instruments, are all made of wood from the same tree and designed to blend tonally. The second violin, for example, is not only an exquisite instrument in its own right, but has been adjusted to serve as a tonal bridge between the first violin and the viola.
This technique of creating a “blended quartet” contributes to the rarity and value of the instruments, since a luthier (one who makes stringed musical instruments) will only make them on commission because of the extra time and expense required. It took Corrochano, the Spanish-born instrument maker who studied, and now lives, in Italy, more than a year to build this particular set. Back to top
HACE president thanks campus community for supporting projects
As we begin 2009, I would like to thank some very special people for their work and support in 2008.
The Hourly and Classified Employees Association (HACE) cannot survive without its members and support from the campus community. So I would like to thank acting President John Broderick and vice presidents Bob Fenning and Glenda Humphreys, as well as the administration as a whole, for their continued support and guidance.
Each year HACE collects donations of food and money to provide food baskets to needy employees at Thanksgiving. This year we collected enough food and money to provide 150 food boxes and gift certificates for turkeys. I wish to thank Steve Daniel, who coordinates the food drive each year; all of those who donated food and money; and the employees who collected the food and helped with the sorting and boxing. As always, the library led the way in this effort with a most generous collection of food.
Again, thanks to the generosity of the ODU community, we were able to give out 78 toys to children of Band 1 employees at our Spirit of the Holidays party in December. We hosted more than 100 children and parents at the annual event.
Thanks go to Jeraldine Davis, who did an outstanding job of coordinating and organizing the party; Shawnda Green, Purshara Kiraly and Kathy Pim, who ably assisted with the purchase of the gifts and supplies; and to all those who volunteered in other ways.
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Nine nominated for SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Awards
Nine Old Dominion faculty members were nominated for the 2008 Virginia Outstanding Faculty Awards program. Administered by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and funded by a grant from the Dominion Foundation, the program will select statewide winners for awards of $5,000 each. The recipients will be announced early next month. ODU honored its nominees at a luncheon on Dec. 4 and awarded each of them an account of $500 to support their scholarship.
The following are excerpts from the nominees’ personal statements, which were part of the nomination materials.
Louis I. Jaffe Professor
With my years of research and thinking, I have come to develop much confidence in a host of philosophical positions that I am eager to bring to my students’ minds. When a class is stalled or tails off to distractions, lately I find myself wanting to jump in and tell the students where I think the discussion should go. I have to watch myself and not give in to impatience. The trick is to wait, and to look for or impart cues that can trigger movement in a good direction. That being said, I must note my ambivalence regarding a strong trend in pedagogy that says we must be a “guide on the side” rather than a “sage on the stage.” There is much truth in this. And yet, I am convinced that students still look for, and need, a certain inspiration coming from a teacher who has something important and challenging to say, something that stands above the students, humbling and exciting them at the same time, waiting for their ascent to extraordinary thoughts.
Counseling as a philosophy is a holistic, developmental approach designed to optimize client mental health. I view training future counselors similarly: students have invaluable resources that should be cultivated systemically in an appropriate timeframe. The goal of education is to impart an understanding of course content and facilitating personal growth of students and encouraging them to apply their learning to continued development as professionals. I bring a social justice perspective to my work with students. In my graduate training, I was exposed to concepts stating that attending to cultural issues and social injustices are important in counseling clients. Yet, it is frustrating to see limited research or practitioner-driven methods for doing so. I want to shake up the status quo through my teaching and research. Creating a good student-teacher relationship is an important foundation that I rely on to guide students to grow into empathic counselors.
Encouraging students to think for themselves also requires that they take ownership of what they already know: evaluating and synthesizing what they’ve learned from a variety of classes, connecting the world of business theory with their own experiences working in a contemporary business environment. These skills transport my students beyond the classroom, and they are the very tools by which my students can actualize their own individual potential. My students appreciate the fact that I am knowledgeable in the subject area, well prepared for class, and that I explain problems very clearly. And I feel extremely rewarded when students indicate that I care very much about their learning and am willing to help them. Students appreciate the fact that I integrate the course material with concepts and techniques that they have learned in other
I continue my attempts to expand the field of counseling so that it might be an advocate for all peoples. I have sought to create conseling opportunities and practices for gay, African American, Asian, female, Native American, Latino, poor and disabled clients. And I have treated culture as a condition that all of us exist within. Thus, for example, I have included the European American middle-class male as a cultural being in my work. In that way, culture is made relative, and all counselors must account for their assumptions and biases. In each of these arenas, I am always a teacher. In that endeavor, I seek to educate, in its original sense of the word, to “lead out.” I strive to challenge myself and my students to consider Walt Whitman’s words, “Re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book.” Through that re-examination students can become reflective, empathic counselors, ones who can affirm the good of their cultures and societies.
Every fall I start off the academic year by meeting with my research laboratory students to emphasize key points that reflect my personal pespective on teaching and research. First, both school and research will be like a roller coaster, with some highs and some lows that will lead to very nervous feelings. Yet in the end they will enjoy their experience, I assure them. Second, always try to make a significant impact on others’ lives. Most of us entered the sports medicine profession to hear the two magic words “thank you,” which keep us going. Knowing that someone is better off because of what we do should be the main focus for us improving our knowledge and help improve performance. Third, always know that I will be there for them, not only now bu also after they graduate. I firmly believe that my role as a faculty member is to facilitate learning for my students throughout their lives. Faculty and student relationships are long term.
Following my graduation, I was invited back to Upward Bound as the English instructor. I organized a literture course unlike any I had taken as a student. We would do the 1920s, only mix it up and include both the white writers commonly taught, like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, and those not taught at all, Harlem Renaissance authors like Langston Hughes and Claude McKay. If the course had a theme, it was the expression of alienation from many points of view. There were no syllabi for such a class it was an experiment, an attempt to let suppressed or forgotten voices speak along with the celebrated ones. Somehow, it clicked. We talked about Harlem past and Harlem present, street slang then and now. The students responded. The inkling I had felt the year before became a passion. I had to teach, and the subject had to be literature. I wanted my students to face their own humanity by seeing how others did before and learn to speak in their own voices.
When I teach physics, I try to make it far more than a catalog of equations to be applied to artificial situations. I try to make it immediately applicable to students’ lives. We estimate the number of students in the class likely to die in a car crash and the physics of how seatbelts, airbags and highway crash barrels save lives. We discuss how electric guitars work and why we don’t drive electric cars. We calculate specific problems such as the kinetic energy of a car at highway speed and we estimate less well-defined problems such as the kinetic energy of a drifting continent or the extra farmland we would need to fuel all of our cars with ethanol. These types of questions are a great teaching technique and estimation is a crucial skill to acquire. A typical textbook physics question includes all the information needed to answer it. An estimation question ... requires that the student understand the situaton, devise the method of solution and then supply the missing information.
Life-threatening illness refocused my mind. ... I always believed that teacher enthusiasm about the search for knowledge, truth and an understanding of perspectives mattered, but such beliefs gained more meaning to me. Students seemed to respond positively. Not atypically, they made comments such as: “He conducts his class with so much knowledge and excitement. ...” Through my travails, I tried to accentuate and embody the message that persistence pays; that one can triumph over tragedy; that the only real failure is not getting back up; that we should treat others as we expect to be treated, including “others” in future generations. These notions, and the compassion that they bred, carried over into my teaching. I more clearly practiced the idea that all students deserve to be bolstered both academically and in terms of their personal confidence no matter their background, knowledge, aptitude or talent.
I believe the most significant factor of effective teaching is the instructor’s enthusiasm. Teachers should set high expectations for their students and ambitious but not unreasonable goals. I found that the more I expect of students, the more they enjoy the class. I feel that teachers must be models of their own expectations. Furthermore, I believe students are reliable judges of effective teaching. Before anyone really learns, they must want to learn and must find joy in the process of learning. When I design a course, I select material that students enjoy because it forces them to reassess their values and beliefs. Over the years, I constantly reassess the content and teaching approaches to make it interesting and enjoyable in order to facilitate student learning. I do this by paying attention to their evaluations and observing how they understand the material. Back to top
Sonenshine awarded one of his field’s top honors
BY JIM RAPER
Daniel Sonenshine, professor emeritus and eminent scholar of biological sciences, was awarded one of the highest honors in his field of ticks and tick-borne diseases during a conference in New Orleans last month. The tribute gave him a special reason to reflect on a career that spans five decades.
In many ways, Sonenshine traces his rise to prominence in acarology the study of ticks and mites to his introduction almost exactly 50 years ago to Harry Hoogstraal, widely considered to be the 20th century’s pre-eminent authority on ticks and tick-borne diseases. “I was a graduate student at the University of Maryland and he was a giant in my area of research, an icon, my idol,” said the 75-year-old professor. At the time, Hoogstraal was eight years into what would become an almost 30-year term as head of the Department of Medical Zoology at the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 in Cairo, Egypt.
At that first meeting, the two of them spent only a brief time together discussing tick research, but Hoogstraal apparently came away impressed. “Sometime later, I began to hear that he was recommending me (for a faculty position) to various universities, and I thought this was a gracious thing for him to take the time to do.” Later, after Sonenshine joined the Old Dominion faculty in 1961, Hoogstraal visited him and they did field work together related to Rocky Mountain spotted fever research. Still later, Hoogstraal invited Sonenshine to Egypt for research collaboration involving the sex pheromones of the camel ticks, and they were regular correspondents until the elder scientist died of cancer in 1986.
“Working with a person who is one of the great leaders of modern science can be humbling, but also exhilarating,” Sonenshine said. “You learn you can play in this game, but that you have to get better. I found that I had a lot farther to go than I thought.”
The ODU emeritus professor has attained excellence himself as a scientist, and evidence of that came during the awards ceremony of the 57th annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) on Dec. 7. The recipient of the society’s prestigious Hoogstraal Medal for outstanding lifelong service internationally in medical entomology was Daniel Sonenshine.
“It’s good to be recognized by your peers,” he said. “Seems that after 200 articles and 12 or 13 monographs published, a sole-authored book on the biology of ticks and a couple of edited books, that some people took notice.” The recognition reflects Sonenshine’s unique contributions to the ASTMH mission to promote global health through the prevention and control of vector-borne infectious diseases and other diseases that disproportionately afflict the global poor.
Since its inaugural presentation by ASTMH in 1987, only 16 scientists have won the Hoogstraal Medal. Other recipients have been from universities such as Harvard, U.C. Berkeley, UCLA and Johns Hopkins.
Perhaps the crowning achievement of Sonenshine’s career, and the accomplishment that secured his place among the elite who have won the Hoogstraal Medal, is the two-volume text, “The Biology of Ticks,” that he wrote during the late 1980s. The first volume was published in 1991 and the second in 1993 by Oxford University Press. With a total of 914 pages, the work covers all aspects of the biology, morphology, systematics, physiology, biochemistry, ecology, disease relationships and control of ticks. The monumental work helped him win Virginia’s Outstanding Scientist Award in 1994.
Although the book is now out of print, it is still used by academic researchers and students. Sonenshine said he is considering working on a revised second edition, with help from others this time.
Sonenshine likes to point out that he “reinvented” himself several times as a scientist and, in the process, he gained the qualifications necessary to write such an all-encompassing book about ticks.
In the 1960s he was into jeans and boots and field work. That sent him out into the wild to trap small animals and collect the ticks that he found on them. In the 1970s he began the transition to the laboratory, often working with chemists, to study insect physiology. The 1980s saw the completion of the transition to the laboratory and into more tightly focused investigations of what makes ticks tick. This has included quite a bit of snooping on the sex lives of ticks and has helped him win six patents for means to control the parasitic creatures.
He is known throughout the world for his strategies to collect and employ tick pheromones to lure them into insecticide traps or to upset their mating habits. These strategies allow the control of ticks and tick-borne diseases with minimal use of insecticides.
More recently he has taken his investigations down to the molecular level. “I play the molecular game mostly with the help of my students,” he quipped, explaining how a man in his 70s could segue so successfully into the high-tech world of research on isolation of specific molecules.
Among his latest pursuits are studies of the innate immunity of ticks. In other words, he wants to know how ticks escape harm from the dangerous microbial agents that they harbor in their bodies. These are the agents that can be spread to mammals by tick bites and cause Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and numerous other tick-borne diseases.
Sonenshine continues his research at Old Dominion even though he formally retired from teaching in 2002. He also serves as the director of the university’s Animal Care Facility. Back to top
Heller shares bioelectrics strategy against human melanoma at conference
Richard Heller, director of Old Dominion’s Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, presented results of a study of electroporation-delivered DNA immunotherapy against metastatic melanoma at the international DNA Vaccines 2008 Conference in Las Vegas last month.
The ODU researcher also was one of the academic advisers for the conference, which explored topics including DNA vaccines,
T cell responses, bioterrorism, HIV, innate immunity and clinical trials, as well as electroporation.
A team of scientists including Heller reported last month a safe and effective treatment of skin cancer in the first ever human trial of a gene-transfer process assisted by short pulses of electricity.
The findings, published online Nov. 24 by the Journal of Clinical Oncology, show not only regression of treated melanoma skin lesions, but also a secondary effect of in vivo DNA electroporation that in some patients brought about regression of so-called “distant lesions” that had not been treated. This implies a systemic immunological response in the human body to the localized gene transfer.
The study was conducted at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa and the University of South Florida College of Medicine, where Heller worked before coming to ODU in July 2008 to direct the Reidy Center. He is a professor in the School of Medical Laboratory and Radiation Sciences of ODU’s College of Health Sciences.
Heller and his wife, Loree, who also moved from the USF College of Medicine to ODU, are pioneers in electrogenetherapy. Their expertise promises to advance the Reidy Center’s research in cancer therapies that utilize ultrashort pulses of electricity.
In electroporation, the pulses produce temporary openings in the membranes of live cells, such as tumor cells, allowing the delivery of molecular material into cells. The deliveries could be of genetic material or drugs, both of which can serve as pinpoint applications of therapies against cancer or other maladies.
This procedure allows tumors to be targeted for treatment without the broad damage to healthy tissue caused by most chemotherapies today.
The Moffitt Center human trial of “electroporation-mediated gene transfer” involved 24 patients whose melanoma lesions were injected with immunotherapy DNA material and then subjected to the short pulses that allowed the material to enter the tumor cells. Electric pulses were applied using proprietary applicators and electroporation equipment supplied by Inovio Biomedical Corp. in San Diego.
The study found that electroporation was a safe and effective way to deliver the DNA material, without the risks and inefficiencies of other methods.
Jim Raper Back to top
Carmody chosen for Swiss Fellows Program
Dianne Carmody, University Professor and associate professor of sociology and criminal justice, is one of four individuals who were selected for the first summer Fellows Program at Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland.
The theme of the 2009 program is “Exploring World Citizenship.” It will provide educators and undergraduates with the opportunity to build innovative teaching and learning strategies around the sometimes-controversial concept of citizenship in its international context.
“The selection process was highly competitive and her acceptance speaks highly of her past performance in teaching, conducting research and providing service to the university and the academic community at large,” said Randy Gainey, chair of the sociology and criminal justice department.
Carmody will present the course International Perspectives on Violence Against Women, in which students will read and discuss cultural responses to violence against women, domestic violence across societies, sexual violence in a cultural context, the underpinnings of sex trafficking, victim response in cross-national comparison, and other aspects of law, society and social change associated with violence against women around the world. “I’m excited about this opportunity to expand both my teaching and research into the international arena,” she said. Back to top
Customer Relations Award goes to Shannon Eggers
Shannon Eggers, fiscal technician for the computer science department, was named winner of the 2008 Customer Relations Employee of the Year award at the Department of Human Resources Annual Recognition Program on Dec. 9.
Eggers, who joined the computer science department in May 2007, was nominated for the award by her supervisor, Ajay Gupta, director of computer resources for the department.
“Shannon has provided exceptional customer service with faculty, staff, students and vendors,” said Gupta, who offered several examples of her efforts to go “above and beyond” her normal job duties.
Gupta also credited Eggers with creating an efficient fiscal accounting requirements system to keep pace with the growth and demands of the department, whose student employees can number as high as 90 per semester. “When Shannon started working with us our hiring season was busy and bordering on chaotic. Now each student is aware of each step they must take. Shannon keeps in close contact with each student to ensure that they stay on track.”
Gupta added: “She not only strives to perform her duties admirably, but she also cares for and welcomes each student that knocks on her door. I have seen our department in the fiscal technician’s area undergo a transformation that is truly magical, creating a fun and efficient place to come to work each morning.”
Describing Eggers as knowledgeable, professional and courteous when it comes to customer service, Gupta also said, “Shannon’s ability to work with students, faculty, staff, co-workers and people from outside the university far exceeds anything that I have experienced during my tenure at ODU.”
As part of her nomination packet, it was noted that in December 2007 Eggers became only the third person at ODU to score a 100 on the Certificate in University Financial Management exam, which is given by the Office of Finance and Department of Human Resources.
As winner of the Customer Relations award, Eggers received a plaque, a $500 bonus and three days of leave.
The following employees were also nominated for the award: Kathryn Boone, Perry Library; Estrella Claudio, OCCS; Gil Gutierrez, OCCS; Fred Huffman, Center for Learning Technologies; Ardena Jordan, Student Housing; Todd Marville, Registrar’s Office; Shirlene Pettaway, Finance Office; Sandra Phillips, M.B.A. Program; Cynthia Pollock, Facilities Management; Natasha Priester, Dental Hygiene; Thomas Rapier, Athletics; Heather Somervail, Design and Construction; Emma Studer, International Student and Scholar Services; Lillian Thompson, Early Childhood, Speech-Language Pathology and Special Education; Kennith Williams, Facilities Management; and Linda Wray, School of Nursing.
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More than 150 employees honored at Annual Recognition Program
Left to right: Ruby Strange, Admissions; Barbara Cuffee, Student Affairs; Debbie Bousman, Student Activities & Leadership; Debra Bell, Perry Library; Mona Farrow, Perry Library (not pictured: Margaret Anthony, Engineering Management; Robert Gower, OCCS; Timothy Hendrickson, OCCS).
Left to right: Vicky Curtis, Economics; Inez Fuller, African-American Cultural Center; Susan Emser, Perry Library; James Boddie, Facilities Management; Sylvia Carter, Facilities Management; Cheri Murphy, Human Resources; Ann Brown, College of Arts & Letters; Grace Little, OCCS; Sue Smith, Civil & Environmental Engineering; Terri Watts, OCCS; Karen Omtvedt, International Admissions (not pictured: Leonthia Avery, Registrar’s Office; Sandra Charity, Parking & Transportation Services; Patricia Lewis, Facilities Management)
Left to right: Charles Kneece, Facilities Management; Theresa Mathews, University College; Marcha Schriver, Human Resources; Carl Winkley, Budget; Kathryn Boone, Perry Library; Sharon Felton, Perry Library; Cynthia Williams, Career Management Center; Arcelia Barcliff, Materiel Management; Esther Cato, Student Housing; Diane Mitchell, Mechanical Engineering; Anita Jones, Finance Office; Lawrence Lucas, Student Housing; Mark Flanagan, Facilities Management (not pictured: John Blankenship, Athletics; Kenneth Blow, Risk Management; Barbara Boyce, Admissions; Rita Brown, Admissions)
Andrea Allen, Athletics; Beverly Barco, Perry Library; Patricia Blackmore, Parking & Transportation Services; Beverly Brown, Facilities Management; Todd Cairns, OCCS; Annette Chester, Athletics; Denise Colver, OCCS; Lisa Dunbar, Student Housing; Don Emminger, Center for Learning Technologies; Deidre Hall, Educational Leadership & Counseling; Freda Hayes, Facilities Management; Janice Knighton, Perry Library; Martha Musacchio, OCCS; Janice Nickerson, Athletics; Connie Pitt, Facilities Management; Walter Powell, Materiel Management; Vanessa Simpson, Registrar’s Office; Joyce Skeldon, Human Resources; Laverne Smalley, Facilities Management; Sheryl Spence, Early Childhood, Speech-Language Pathology & Special Education; Emma Studer, International Student & Scholar Services; Thomas Toye, Facilities Management
Fred Butler, Public Safety; Elaine Dawson, Registrar’s Office; Virginia Devreaux, Finance Office; Wade Flowers, Facilities Management; Marc Huckless, Public Safety; Robert Jones, Center for Learning Technologies; Ardena Jordan, Student Housing; Janice Kellam, Facilities Management; Peggy Kinard, Psychology; Patricia King, Facilities Management; Richard Lovelace, OCCS; Craig Mack, OCCS; Michelle Macklin, Admissions; Delicia Malin, Physics; Sharon Mason, Financial Aid; Sharon Melone-Orme, College of Sciences; Sharon Metro, History; Jonas Porter, Development; Thomas Richards, Finance Office; Margo Stambleck, International Studies; Lois Staton, Public Safety; Chuck Thomas, University Relations; Norma Turner, Student Health Services; Robert Woodbury, Facilities Management
Robbyn Andrews, Public Safety; Forester Barker, College of Business and Public Administration; Harry Boucicaut, Teletechnet; Suzanne Brodeur, College of Sciences; Concepcion Brown, Perry Library; Joseph Brown, Facilities Management; Jeanette Chappelle, Academic Technology Services; Anita Clark, Student Health Services; Steven Dukes, Facilities Management; Gayla Gamble, Teletechnet; Corey Herbin, Peninsula Center; Lisa Hodges, Student Support Services; Donna Jackson, Finance Office; Wayne Jones, OCCS; Edythe King, Auxiliary Services; Marion Lewis, Public Safety; Lynn Litherland, Perry Library; Warren Marcelino, OCCS; Claudia Massenburg, Student Housing; Debra May, Financial Aid; Betty Oakley, Teletechnet; Kimberly Payne, Academic Technology Services; John Pratt, OCCS; Gerry Reyes, OCCS; Carolyn Reynolds, Public Safety; Christopher Robinson, Computer Science; Rodrick Rountree, Facilities Management; Laura Sanders, Community & Environmental Health; Phillip Sanders, Facilities Management; Jessica Shelton, Teletechnet; Tammie Smith, College of Health Sciences; Stephen Tate, OCCS; Tarsha Turner, College of Business & Public Administration; Alma Weatherspoon, Registrar’s Office; Guy Williams, Academic Technology Services; Tilghman Williams, Medical Laboratory & Radiation Sciences
Richard Cox, Ocean, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences; Michael Craig, Facilities Management; Roxanne Crooks, Real Estate & Space Management; Katrina Davenport, College of Business & Public Administration; Christopher Davis, Registrar’s Office; Jacqueline Elliott, Career Management Center; Geoffrey Farley, OCCS; Calisa Farmer, Sociology & Criminal Justice; Duane Gallon, Academic Technology Services; Mary Bains Gallup, OCCS; Sheng Gao, Finance Office; Kristin Gilmore, Development; Aronica Glover, Northern Virginia Center; Vinecia Goodman, Political Science & Geography; Peter Green, Public Safety; Traci Harrison, Student Health Services; Philip Hazell, Art; John Hickerson, Educational Leadership & Counseling; Kwanza Hood, Materiel Management; Adrian Jones, OCCS; Robbin Love, Art; Alice Lyman, Admissions; Norman Mack, Public Safety; Nahleen Myrie, Finance Office; Robbie Parker, Public Safety; Jason Phenicie, University Events; Cynthia Phillips, Auxiliary Services; Darren Pifer, OCCS; Tracie Rayford, Finance Office; Felicia Samuel, Materiel Management; Louise Schatz, Teletechnet; Ronald Smith, Facilities Management; Dana Snyder, Facilities Management; Robert Taylor, Public Safety; Opal Viars, Teletechnet; Cindy Williams, Perry Library; Tracey Williams, Financial Aid; Kathy Williamson, Human Resources; Glenn Wilson, University Auditor Back to top