After an 11-year run as a retrospective film festival, the 2009 Old Dominion University City of Norfolk (ONFilm) Festival has gone competitive, and will screen more than 30 top independent films from around the world.
The ONFilm Festival, which runs from March 25-28, features independently produced features, documentaries, shorts and short-shorts on the campus and in various Norfolk venues. Visit www.onfilmfest.com for more information and complete schedule.
Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss will start festivalgoers talking with “A Conversation with Richard Dreyfuss,” hosted by Cathy Lewis of WHRV-FM’s “HearSay.” The program begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, in the Big Blue Room of the Ted Constant Convocation Center. It is free and open to the public. The doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Film producer Stephen Israel will chair the festival jury. The panel of judges comprises film directors and producers, as well as film industry executives, and includes Virginian-Pilot film critic Mal Vincent. Jury profiles are available on the festival Web site.
Israel, who is probably best known for executive-producing the critically acclaimed sleeper hit “Swimming with Sharks,” starring Kevin Spacey, is a prominent figure in the film festival world, having served as a programmer for both Outfest and the Slamdance Film Festival, for which he currently serves on the advisory board.
Slamdance takes place each year in Utah at the same time as the Sundance Film Festival, competing with Sundance to provide what its supporters consider a truer representation of independent filmmaking, and is known as a festival “by filmmakers for filmmakers.” This is the model of the newly independent ONFilm Festival.
The festival will screen films simultaneously in three venues from March 26-28, including panel discussions with the filmmakers and special events. The ONFilmFest Winners Marathon is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at the Naro Cinema in Norfolk, with the closing awards gala later in the day at 7 p.m. at Norfolk’s Granby Theater.
Screenings are $5 for students and $10 for the general public. Admission to the awards gala is $10 for students and $20 for the general public.
Wednesday, March 25
“A Conversation with Richard Dreyfuss” (see story below)
Thursday, March 26
Meet producer Stephen Israel and see “Swimming with Sharks”
• 5-7 p.m. Screening of “Swimming with Sharks,” University Theatre (students $5 / general public $10)
Thursday, March 26
“From Africa to America: 2 Visions of Identity in the 21st Century” (film screenings and panel discussions)
• 5-7 p.m. MGB Auditorium
”MERE-bi” (“The Mother of All”), directed by Ousmane W. Mbaye
This film captures a generation of the leaders of the women’s movement in Senegal, focusing on pioneer activist and nonconformist Annette Mbaye D’Erneville, the country’s first woman journalist. Free.
• 7:30-9:30 p.m. MGB Auditorium
“Revolution ’67,” directed by Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno
“Revolution ’67” takes us back to the summer of 1967 to Newark, N.J., and tells the untold story of what really happened during the Newark riots from the mouths of the people who lived it. Free.
Friday, March 27
ODU Student Filmmaking Presentations and Awards
• 3:30 p.m. University Theatre
Third annual presentation of the Stephen E. Konikoff Student Filmmaker Awards. Winning films will be screened and cash prizes totaling $1,500 will be awarded. Free.
Saturday, March 28
ONFilmFest Award Winners Marathon
• 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Naro Cinema
See the winning films that were selected from among the more than 30 independent films that were screened during the festival (students $5 / general public $10).
ONFilm Hampton Roads Film Office and Virginia Production Alliance 3rd Annual Career Day Expo
• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. BAL
Hear representatives from production companies and media-related businesses in Hampton Roads discuss opportunities in the film, television, video production and other media-related industries. Free.
Filmmaking in Hampton Roads Panel, moderated by W. Jeffery Frizzell, commissioner of the Hampton Roads Film Office
• 1-2:30 p.m. BAL
An all-female panel will cover film and video production in Hampton Roads from a woman’s perspective. Free.
ONFilmFest Awards Gala
• 7-10 p.m. Granby Theater
Celebrate with filmmakers and industry celebs as they accept their awards at the festival wrap party. Dance to the music of the Rhythm Kings. Cash bar; dress: film festival chic ($10 students / $20 general public).
For tickets, call 683-5305. Back to top
Student Recreation Center opens
Let the games and the workouts begin. Old Dominion’s much-anticipated Student Recreation Center (SRC) is now open for business.
The facility, located on the site of the old field house at the west end of campus, opened its doors on March 2. And because classes were canceled that day due to the weather, the center got quite a workout itself, with upwards of 900 students taking advantage of its many amenities everything from basketball courts, to exercise equipment, to racquetball courts to indoor track.
“We had a ton of people,” said a happy Kevin Marbury the following day. “I was overwhelmed in a good way. There was a tremendous sense of satisfaction in watching people’s faces as they walked around the facility, played on the courts and used the equipment. It was so gratifying. And our skeleton staff did an awesome job of handling things.”
Marbury, ODU’s director of recreational sports, is in charge of the center, which he loves to show off. (The exercise science, sport, physical education and recreation department also maintains offices and classrooms in the building.)
“This is going to provide our students a place to play and socialize. It’s going to become one of the new popular hangouts on campus,” Marbury said, who notes that the building offers WiFi access. A bagel and juice bar, Einstein’s Bagels, will open in the fall.
But don’t let the name fool you. The new center is also open to faculty and staff, who can use the facility without charge through the end of June. After that, employees will need to purchase an annual membership, which is expected to range from $15 to $20 per month, according to Marbury.
For the next few months, Marbury and his SRC staff will be monitoring usage to determine the facility’s hours of operation in the future. The center will be open at the following times March 16-31:
- Monday - Thursday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Sunday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
ODU’s new state-of-the-art recreation center is the hub of all sport, wellness and fitness activities at the university, and features the following:
- 15,000-square-foot workout space
- indoor running track
- two-story climbing wall
- four fitness studios
- three racquetball courts (reservations required)
- hardwood gym (with six basketball goals)
- multipurpose, rubberized court
- locker rooms (for now, bring your own lock for day use)
- swimming pool (opening at the end of April at the earliest).
To use the climbing wall, participants must attend an orientation session and a basics clinic.
Various group exercise classes are also offered at the center, including beginner and intermediate cycle, yoga, pilates and kickboxing.
A new feature of the SRC is the Outdoor Adventure Center, which offers rentals of everything from kayaks to mountain bikes to tents and other camping equipment. A bicycle maintenance shop is also in the plans, where members of the campus community can pay to have a bike repaired or do the repairs themselves.
Members of the campus community are invited to tour the facility at any time. To use the center, faculty and staff must attend a fitness clinic (register by calling 683-4605). A university ID card must be presented to the attendant on duty after entering the center. (Due to construction on the nearby student residence halls, visitors should use the 48th Street entrance. The nearest faculty/staff parking lot is at the corner of 49th Street and Powhatan Avenue.)
For more information about the SRC and for group exercise class schedules, call the recreational sports office at 683-3384 or visit www.odu.edu/recsports. Back to top
Richard Dreyfuss to kick off festival March 25
Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss will kick off the ONFilm Festival Wednesday, March 25, with a free program at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. “A Conversation with Richard Dreyfuss,” moderated by Cathy Lewis of WHRV-FM’s “HearSay,” will take place in the Big Blue Room from 7:30-8:30 p.m. An audience Q&A and reception, featuring the ODU Jazz Ensemble and a cash bar, will follow.
Audience members are encouraged to arrive early to ensure seating. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for a reception in the Constant Center lobby. For more information, visit www.onfilmfest.com or call 683-3617.
According to the Internet Movie Data Base, Dreyfuss has played his fair share of leading roles as irritating pests and brash, ambitious hustlers. He worked his way up through bit parts in movies “The Graduate,” 1967, for one and television before gaining attention with his portrayal of Baby Face Nelson in John Milius’ “Dillinger” (1973). He gained prominence as a college-bound young man in “American Graffiti” (1973).
Over the last three decades, his film credits have included: “Jaws” (1975); “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977); “The Goodbye Girl” (1977), for which he won the Best Actor Oscar; “The Big Fix” (1978); “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” (1986); “Nuts” (1987); “What About Bob?” (1991); “Mr. Holland’s Opus” (1995); and “W.” (2008). Back to top
President Broderick to receive VCIC Humanitarian Award
Acting President John Broderick is one of four area residents who will be honored at the 45th annual Tidewater Humanitarian Awards Dinner, sponsored by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, on Thursday, April 2.
Broderick, along with Charles Henderson Jr., Hampton Roads president, Bank of America; Miriam Seeherman, community activist; and Louisa Strayhorn, business consultant and community volunteer, will receive awards in recognition of their humanitarian contributions. The awards dinner and program will be at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott.
The awards are presented to individuals who have demonstrated a personal commitment to the promotion of respect and understanding among people of diverse racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Since the inception of the Tidewater awards in 1965, nearly 200 individuals have been recognized for their contributions.
The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities is a human relations organization that promotes inclusion, challenges assumptions and advances understanding through dialogue, experiential learning and education. It was originally founded as the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and was known more recently as the National Conference for Community and Justice. Back to top
Men’s, women’s golf leagues forming at L. Point course
Lambert’s Point Golf Club is offering six-week golf leagues for men and women this spring. The men’s league begins Monday, April 13, and the women’s league on Tuesday, April 14.
Participants will be asked to sign up 48 hours in advance each week. Weekly fees are $13 for walking nine holes and $17 for riding nine holes. There is a six-week discount fee of $60 and $90, respectively. Tee times are from 4:30-5:30 p.m. each week.
To register, contact Michelle Holmes at firstname.lastname@example.org, or apply in person at the golf shop. Back to top
Women’s Caucus hosting Q&A with president
The University Women’s Caucus invites all members of the campus community to attend a “Conversation with the President” from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, in the Hampton/Newport News Room of Webb Center.
The brown-bag lunch program will include a question-and-answer session with John Broderick, who has served as acting president since June of last year. For more information call Morel Fry at 683-4143. Back to top
Field hockey team gets national honor for academics
The field hockey team was honored by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) on Feb. 23 as one of 65 Division I field hockey programs earning a National Academic Team Award for attaining a team grade point average of 3.0 or higher. The Lady Monarchs boasted the second-highest GPA among all Division I field hockey programs, compiling a team average of 3.47.
During fall 2008, the ODU team had 13 of its members named to the dean’s list, including senior Katelyn Smither of Suffolk and junior Kathleen Shea of Elizaville, N.Y., both of whom were named to the all-conference first team.
Since 1989, the ODU field hockey team has earned a GPA of 3.0 or better. This year, 16 players were named to the NFHCA Division I Academic Squad. Back to top
M.B.A. grad to return for Landmark Speaker Series
Old Dominion alumna Melissa Buffington, senior vice president of human resources and communications for Gaylord Entertainment Co. in Nashville, will give a talk on campus Tuesday, March 31, for the College of Business and Public Administration’s Landmark Executive-in-Residence Speakers Series.
The program, which starts at 12:30 p.m. in 1005 of Constant Hall, is free and open to students, faculty and staff, and to the public as space permits.
Buffington, who earned her M.B.A. at the university in 1991, is the final speaker for the spring edition of the series, which will have featured four ODU alumni, including three M.B.A. graduates. Back to top
Diehn Concert Series features pianist Peter Takacs
Peter Takacs, professor of piano and chair of the piano program at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, will give the next Diehn Concert Series performance at 8 p.m. Monday, March 30, in the Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center.
Takacs frequently performs at chamber music festivals in the U.S. and abroad.
Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for the general public. Back to top
Nominations due soon for HACE employee awards
Nominations are due Friday, March 27, for the Hourly and Classified Employees Association’s Staff Member and Rookie Staff Member of the Year awards.
The awards will be presented at the HACE annual luncheon in May.
For a nomination form or more information, contact Sarah Daniel-Ash at sedaniel@odu or 683-3080. Back to top
New Kansas State president has ties to Old Dominion
Kirk Schulz, who studied for three years at Old Dominion and whose father, Carl, has been on the ODU mathematics faculty for four decades, was named Feb. 11 as president of Kansas State University. He had been vice president of research and economic development at Mississippi State University.
Schulz, 45, received bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech after attending ODU.
At Mississippi State he also served as dean of the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering.
Kansas State, which has 23,000 students, has its main campus in Manhattan, 120 miles west of Kansas City. Schulz will succeed John Wefald, who is retiring after 23 years as the university’s president.
Carl Schulz is an assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at ODU. Back to top
Groups sought to take part in Earth Day program
The Office of Environmental Health and Safety will sponsor an Earth Day program “What’s ODU Doing Green?” in the North Mall of Webb Center on Tuesday, April 21.
Groups that are interested in showcasing their efforts to create a more sustainable environment at the university should contact Frank Dzupinka at email@example.com. Back to top
Join the Great Bag Roundup and help the environment
Want to do something good for the environment? Join the students in the Great Bag Roundup, sponsored by the Office of Student Activities and Leadership.
From April 1 until May 8, members of the campus community can drop off their plastic shopping bags for recycling at the Center for Service and Civic Engagement in Webb Center.
For more information contact Tami Park at firstname.lastname@example.org. Back to top
Social media is topic for CLT Summer Institute
The Center for Learning Technologies’ Summer Institute, Web 2.0: Social Media and ODU, will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 19-20, in Webb Center.
All faculty, teaching assistants, and students are invited. A pre-institute technology fair will be offered on Monday, May 18. Back to top
Last Lecture Series continues this month
BY BRENDAN O'HALLARN
What would you talk about if you were about to give your last lecture ever? That’s what nine Old Dominion faculty members have wrestled with in developing talks for the university’s first-ever Last Lecture Series.
Inspired by a taped lecture, and then a book, by the late Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch, the lecture series is sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs.
Vicki Bonner, associate director of student development and engagement, says the lecture series is an effort to help students connect with their instructors on a level beyond professor-pupil.
“These are amazing, smart, talented people, with diverse interests and passions,” Bonner said. “We wanted a chance for our students to see them as more than people who talk at them in class.”
When Bonner suggested the idea to ODU faculty members last fall, she was shocked at how many of them were excited to participate.
“I put the inquiry out on a Friday afternoon, asking if anyone would be interested in our own Last Lecture Series. I had three volunteers by the end of the day,” Bonner said. “There were actually more professors who wanted to participate than we had space for this year, so we’ve already started to plan next fall’s program.”
Elizabeth Leeor, an ODU graduate who has been an associate professor of art since 2001, gave her talk, “I Will Get Out of Bed and Go to Class on Time! And Other Daily Affirmations” Feb. 17
Tammi Milliken, assistant professor of human services, gave her lecture, “Don’t Get Spun Out! Harvard Mind/Body Techniques to Combat Stress,” Feb. 19. She has conducted stress management workshops since 2000.
Upcoming talks include:
- “This Land Is Your Land: Woody Guthrie and the American Dream,” by Joseph Cosco, instructor of English, noon Monday, March 16, James/Lynnhaven River Room, Webb Center.
- “Stress Management and the Art of Relaxation,” by Jean Roberts, instructor of English, 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, James/Lynnhaven River Room, Webb Center.
- “Wild Places, Wild Lives,” by Deborah Waller, associate professor of biological sciences, noon Wednesday, March 18, Potomac/York River Room, Webb Center.
- “The Heroic Quest: Mythology as a Means of Interpreting Life,” by Cecilia Petretto, instructor of English, noon Monday, April 6, James/Lynnhaven River Room, Webb Center.
- “Mathemagic Magic Tricks with Mathematical Solutions,” by Robert Strozak, lecturer of mathematics and statistics, 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, 1009 Constant Hall.
Randy Pausch gave his talk Sept. 18, 2007, after receiving a terminal prognosis for the pancreatic cancer with which he had been diagnosed over a year earlier.
In an upbeat and humorous speech, Pausch offered his students advice that could be applied to their personal and professional life. Shortly after the lecture, he wrote a book to better educate people about his methods for living a more fulfilling life, by simply achieving childhood dreams.
The talks are free for ODU students, but registration is requested due to limited space. Students may register at: http://studentaffairs.odu.edu/lastlectureseries. Back to top
Spring career fair open to immediate family members of faculty and staff
There’s a new twist to the Career Management Center’s annual spring career fair, scheduled for Wednesday, March 18.
In recognition of the downturn in the economy, Old Dominion University’s CMC is opening the fair for the first time to the immediate family members of students, faculty, staff and alumni.
It’s an effort both to “do the right thing” in these uncertain times, and to heed the principles of supply and demand attracting as many employers as possible to the fair by guaranteeing a critical mass of potential employees, said Tom Wunderlich, assistant dean of career management.
“Opening the fair to the immediate family members is new, so it means, for example, that if students, even freshmen, have parents who are out of work, they can bring them. Or if staff members have students at other institutions, they can bring them, and if alumni have a spouse out of work or a student at another school, they are welcome as well.”
Wunderlich expects more than 100 regional employers from major companies, to nonprofits, to the health-care industry to fill the arena floor at the Ted Constant Convocation Center for the fair, which will run from 12:30-4:30 p.m.
Preregistration is not required; however, an ODU student, faculty member, staff member or alumnus must accompany their immediate family member for registration at the door. It is not necessary for the sponsoring member of the ODU community to stay at the fair.
Wunderlich expects up to 1,500 students, faculty, staff, alumni and family members to attend the spring fair. And the advice to immediate family members is the same as for the students who attend: dress for success, and bring resumes and portfolios.
“Because of the economy, the number of employers attending the career fair will be down about 20 to 25 percent, but we still will have over 100 employers recruiting. This is a major event, and it’s the biggest career fair in the region. We don’t want students, or anyone else, to pre-empt themselves from an employment opportunity based on what they read or hear in the news about certain companies that are going under or laying off employees.”
All of the employers at the fair will be recruiting for positions that require a bachelor’s degree, at minimum. To find out what companies will be represented at the fair, and the types of positions and majors for which they are recruiting, go to www.odu.edu/cmc and click on the Spring Career Fair picture. Back to top
Broderick letter outlines budget outcomes
Old Dominion University received $12.8 million in one-time federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to mitigate the need for significant tuition and fee increases for in-state students and to offset on a one-time basis some of the FY2010 budget reductions.
The federal stimulus funds had a significant impact on our state and university budgets. Although this was a one-time allocation, these funds will help support our immediate resource needs. All in all, Old Dominion University fared well in this budget session and will benefit from the following allocations:
- $1.4 million increase in state financial assistance for in-state undergraduates for a total of $15.8 million. This represents a 9.5 percent increase over last year.
- $2.1 million for modeling and simulation education.
- The Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium (VCERC), led by ODU, is to have at its disposal 100 acres in coastal waters for offshore research, with all royalties from any offshore leasing sales in the state.
- Capital projects: ODU was granted authority to move forward on further developing the design documents for the Systems Research and Academic Building, and to convey the current president’s house to the ODU Real Estate Foundation in order to reconstruct the facility.
- $4 million of the $6 million in general funds was restored for the Eminent Scholars Program. ODU previously received approximately $285,474 in Eminent Scholar matching funds.
- $15 million in federal stimulus funds was set aside for the purpose of building maintenance at state agencies and higher education institutions. It is expected that ODU will receive a portion of these maintenance reserve funds.
We have many folks to thank for their support during the session, and I would encourage you to write and thank our Governor, the Secretary of Education and your legislators for their support of Old Dominion University and of higher education in general.
In addition, I would like to thank the members of the Board of Visitors who lent their support during the process. Also, special thanks to Jim DeAngio, Bob Fenning and Deb Swiecinski for their efforts in helping us.
(Editor’s note: Acting President John Broderick sent this letter, via e-mail, to the campus community on March 4, following the General Assembly session.) Back to top
Clay Vaughan, head of art library, dies
Clay L. Vaughan, the head of the Elise N. Hofheimer Art Library, died Feb. 14, 2009, in Norfolk after a brief illness.
Vaughan was a member of the University Libraries staff since 1989, when he was a student assistant in the art library. He worked in Access Services first in Circulation and then as the library assistant in the Hofheimer Art Library.
He was born April 4, 1955, attended Granby elementary and high schools, studied philosophy and literature at Virginia Commonwealth University and moved back to Norfolk in 1987 to raise a family.
His knowledge and assistance at the art library was enormously admired and appreciated by students and faculty. Faculty in the art department were among his closest friends.
Vaughan also dedicated his time and energy as managing editor of the Powhatan Review. His passions were art, writing poetry, researching his family’s genealogy, reading literature, biographies and history, and listening to music of all kinds.
Survivors include three daughters, Kaitlin, Hannah and Molly; his parents, Edwin and Alice Vaughan; four brothers, Mark, Billy, Eric and Russell; many nieces, nephews, aunts and cousins; and countless friends.
Memorial contributions may be made to the APVA Foundation, 204 W. Franklin St., Richmond, VA 23220, or a charity of the donor’s choice. Online condolences may be sent to the family at hdoliver.com. Back to top
Latest grants push T-TAC funding over $20 million
BY JIM RAPER
The longest-running, external-grant-supported project at Old Dominion is not aligned with the university’s well-publicized research specialties in engineering and the sciences. Instead, it is a three-decade-long, $20 million program of the Darden College of Education that aims to give every child in eastern Virginia regardless of disability an opportunity to receive a high-quality education.
Recent grants totaling $2.5 million from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) pushed the ODU Training and Technical Assistance Center (T-TAC) over $20 million in total funding just as the facility was celebrating its 30th birthday.
The evolution of ODU T-TAC, particularly how it has grown in scope and sophistication, reflects the sea change that has occurred in education strategies for schoolchildren since the late 1970s, say the center’s leaders.
Gone are the days when the mission of T-TAC personnel was to deal almost exclusively with special education teachers of disabled and other special-needs children. “In the early days, a special education teacher would call T-TAC for assistance and we’d send somebody out to the school to provide training or technical support to help that one teacher with that one child,” said Stephen Tonelson, professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Speech-Language Pathology and Special Education, who is one of the principal investigators for the VDOE grants that support the program. “Now the training and other assistance that we offer is more likely to be beneficial to all of the students in a school.”
Robert Gable, also a professor of early childhood and special education and who has earned the designation at ODU of eminent scholar, is the other principal investigator for the grants. He is director, as well of a statewide T-TAC initiative called Effective Schoolwide Discipline (ESD). What he has seen in his more than a dozen years of ODU T-TAC leadership, he said, is a “disassembly of the two-box system” in which special education has been in one box and general education in another.
Statistics for the nation show that around 12 percent of children can be expected to have special needs in school. There was a time when most of these students were segregated from the general education population and taught in different classrooms or in different schools. General education teachers sometimes initiated the transfer of students from their classes into special education classes via a process called “refer and remove.”
More recently, inclusion policies are distributing most of the children with special needs into general education classrooms. Gable said the typical elementary school teacher in Virginia today has three to four students with disabilities. Nationally, fewer and fewer students with disabilities are being taught in separate special education programs.
Because T-TAC has a mandate to offer training and technical support to any teacher of students with disabilities, almost all teachers now are eligible for the help. And many of the general education teachers are taking advantage of what T-TAC offers, according to ODU T-TAC Director Kerry Lambert, whose affiliation with the center dates to 1980.
“It is particularly satisfying to recognize now that our training and support services ultimately benefit all students,” said Lambert, who became the center’s director in 1995 just after she received her Ph.D. at ODU in urban educational leadership. Previously she had served as a T-TAC staff member and coordinator. Tonelson and Gable became faculty leaders of the project in the mid-1990s.
T-TAC originally was called TAC-5 because five centers for technical special education assistance were funded by the VDOE at universities across the state in 1978-79.
Two centers were added elsewhere in the state and the mission expanded when the VDOE transformed TAC-5 into T-TAC in 1995-96. The ODU T-TAC now offers training and technical assistance to eastern Virginia’s teachers, school administrators and parents in the areas of 1) early childhood special education, 2) primary developmental delays and disabilities and 3) more significant disabilities among students through high school age.
The coverage area for ODU T-TAC takes in 33 school divisions in the rectangle roughly bounded by Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore on the east and Fredericksburg and Southampton County on the west.
The ODU-T-TAC team consists of: Kim Yanek, ESD instruction and behavior specialist; Pat Woolard, administrative project director and ESD logistics coordinator; Daniel Biegun, severe disabilities specialist; Laura Beller, curriculum and instruction specialist; Linda Ingleson, early childhood specialist; Kelly Koons, education specialist for autism; Brenda Lucus, assistive technology and instructional specialist; Jennifer Mitchell, assistive technology specialist; Mary Wilds, statewide coordinator for distance education; Shannon Duncan, assistant to the administrative project director; Jackie Royster, project manager; Dedie McCracken, office manager; Jean Bondy, library and Web site manager; and Erin Butler, data entry specialist.
The core T-TAC mission is to increase the capacity of school personnel, service providers and families to meet the needs of children and youth with disabilities, thereby enriching the academic and social experiences of these students. The T-TAC staff works closely with the VDOE, especially the Division of Special Education and Student Services, and currently there are 14 major projects on which T-TAC staff participate.
ODU T-TAC services include professional development workshops and other training events; consultative services; the electronic, quarterly newsletter T-TAC Network News; other periodicals such as Autism E-News and AT (Assistive Technology) E-News; a clearinghouse for current education research and recommended practices; and a lending library that loans, among other things, the latest in assistive technology devices an example would be voice synthesizers that schools and parents can try before they buy.
Lambert said T-TAC can influence and be supported by the teacher training curriculum at the Darden College of Education. “We like to say that we do preservice at the university and T-TAC does in-service in the field,” she said.
The ODU-T-TAC director noted that a unique aspect of working with the program is the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of educational change and to support school personnel as they institute evidence-based practices for the benefit of students. Lambert was given an award last year by the Virginia Council of Administrators of Special Education for extraordinary support she extends to Virginia educators.
A primary reason for the significant funding for the ODU T-TAC, even in tight budget times, is the Effective Schoolwide Discipline (ESD) program that Gable directs for the entire state. Federal initiatives such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are the source of flow-through monies that the VDOE grants to T-TACs, and Gable’s program has been a beneficiary of a U.S. Department of Education thrust called Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.
More than 100 schools in Virginia are participating in ESD; across the nation, the figure now stands at more than 5,000 schools that are involved in some way with Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.
With classrooms today not nearly so homogeneous as they once were, teachers must have a much broader array of skills in order to maintain an effective learning environment. Gable said this environment depends a lot on clear expectations and forms of student recognition, and that these skills are what ESD is striving to provide to school personnel.
“The growing diversity of the student population is a challenge,” he added. By that he means ethnic and cultural diversity, as well as the sort of diversity that occurs when a general education classroom includes children with disabilities and those whose home environments have not prepared them academically or behaviorally for the curriculum.
Lambert noted, too, that discipline and learning-environment problems are significant drags on teacher retention. “But T-TAC and Effective Schoolwide Discipline services help,” she added. “We have found that well-prepared teachers stay in the classroom longer.” Back to top
PDC to host Engineering Unplugged event
Engineering Unplugged, the premier and first-of-its-kind green conference in Hampton Roads, will be held on campus Tuesday, March 17. Presented by Old Dominion’s Professional Development Center (PDC), the conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
Expected to draw more than 500 attendees, Engineering Unplugged is a statewide effort to inform business and industry about green methodologies that provide a return on investment and sustain our environment.
Stephen Walz, director of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, states, “This conference is in direct alignment with Gov. Kaine’s yearlong initiative, Renew Virginia.” He added, “The commonwealth is determined to remain among our nation’s top sustainable energy states and home to legions of forward-thinking individuals and enterprises that believe in the power of going green.”
Designed to enlighten newcomers as well as engage those with an advanced understanding of green principles as applied to building, manufacturing and research, the conference offers a comprehensive curriculum of lectures from industry experts, tours, demonstrations, case studies and networking opportunities.
Clair Dorsey, director of the PDC, says, “Engineering Unplugged is structured around three educational tracts Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Energy Conservation and Future Initiatives and will present information appealing to a variety of audiences architects, engineers, designers, construction specialists, manufacturers, facility managers, military personnel, researchers and other professionals.”
Tours of ODU’s LEED-certified Engineering and Computational Sciences Building will demonstrate real-world applications on how green practices can be used in new construction.
The PDC is the continuing education arm of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology. Back to top
For several reasons, ODU is perfect fit for young teen
BY BRENDAN O'HALLARN
He’s tall for his age. And he speaks like an adult. If you glance quickly at Spencer Lane, you might think he’s just like the other kids in his math or English class. That’s just the way Lane likes it. He wants to blend in.
But take a good look. His boyish face is a giveaway.
One professor last semester would scan his classroom early in each lecture, invariably stopping at Lane, and doing a double take.
You see, Spencer Lane is 14. And he’s a freshman at Old Dominion, studying to be a mechanical engineer.
“When I first came into a class, it took a moment to sink in: I’m actually doing this,” he said. “But it’s going well so far.”
Lane’s family decided to forgo high school, moving him from eighth grade to ODU at the start of the fall 2008 semester.
His SAT score of 1170 (taken at age 12) suggested he could handle the class work. His 3.8 GPA is proof of it. But his obvious smarts aren’t even the reason he’s here.
A year ago, Lane was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. The disease meant the healthy, active 13-year-old faced a nightmare year of feeding tubes, pills, hospital visits and bed rest. The health hardship continues. He takes 30 pills daily to try to keep the symptoms at bay, but still vomits a couple of times every day.
“It’s annoying, but you have to take what you can get and make it the best that you can,” he says. “If I wasn’t diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, I might have headed off to high school instead of coming here.”
The family decided that Lane could better handle the rigors of university classes than he could the long hours of sitting every day in a high school classroom. His ODU classes are concentrated on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so he can fit in his many medical treatments the rest of the week. He also spends a lot of time recuperating in his Virginia Beach home.
Mom Michele knew that her son could handle the academics. “He was a very early talker. And one day (when he was 3) he just picked up a book and started reading,” she recalls.
“His reasoning was also very advanced at a very young age. He’d say, ‘I understand why you’re saying that, but could we do things this way instead?’ This was as a 2 1/2- or 3-year-old!”
Lane says it was difficult for him in earlier grades because his classmates weren’t as interested in learning as he was. Of course, they were also 6 or 8 or 10 years old, and simply wanted to play.
Now for the first time, he’s in class with some students who know a little more than he does.
“I actually kind of like that. I like being in an environment where people want to learn,” he says.
Julie Manthey, a lecturer in the English department, taught Lane English 110. She says she watched him flourish in her class.
“He came in a bit shy, but before I knew it he was working as a peer reviewer for his much older classmates during writing workshops,” Manthey notes. “He was never afraid to contribute to classroom discussions or ask questions he simply fit in with everyone else.”
Manthey continues to be dazzled by Lane. She’s teaching him Introduction to Technical and Scientific Writing this semester.
“Spencer is an inspiration. I know there were many days when he didn’t feel well, but he still came to class. His commitment to excelling in college motivates all who meet him to try that much harder especially me.”
Lane hopes to get his mechanical engineering degree, then go to Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his master’s, specializing in robotics.
“I want to be the engineer who invents a way to make the capsule endoscopy smarter, thus eliminating sedation and more invasive procedures,” he says.
He hopes that talking about his disease will make people aware of the impact it can have on an otherwise healthy child’s life. Last June, Lane participated in the Take Steps Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis, raising $6,000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. He’s met with local congressmen to talk about funding for research about the disease.
Unlike other types of inflammatory bowel disease, there is no known drug or surgical cure for Crohn’s disease. Treatment options are limited to controlling symptoms, putting and keeping the disease in remission and preventing relapse.
While Lane would love a cure to be found for Crohn’s, he hopes that the awareness and money raised are concentrated on the prevention of the disease. “That way people can hopefully avoid even getting into the situation I’m in.”
Lane doesn’t want to be treated any differently from his much older classmates. And one shouldn’t think for a moment that his enrollment at ODU is a publicity stunt. He simply hopes to demonstrate that in spite of having an incurable disease, people can still do great things.
“I don’t want to be known as the kid with Crohn’s disease. I want to be known as the 17-year-old college graduate who happens to have Crohn’s,” he says. Back to top