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Governor McDonnell Presides Over Historic ODU-VCCS Agreement Signing

Old Dominion University (ODU) and Virginia's Community Colleges (VCCS) today signed an historic partnership agreement that better leverages each institutions' assets and commits to future collaboration to further the goals that Governor Bob McDonnell has set for Virginia higher education.

The Governor and Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson joined ODU President John R. Broderick, VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois and 23 community college presidents as the schools officially launched the partnership at an event in the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond.

"The partnership between Old Dominion University and Virginia Community Colleges is precisely the kind of innovative approach I have challenged our higher education institutions to pursue," said Gov. McDonnell. "This agreement serves as a model for delivering rigorous, affordable, and accessible education to the citizens of the Commonwealth, and helps ensure our goals for the future of Virginia will be met."

Through collaboration, shared technologies, and innovative solutions, the agreement addresses the Governor's goals of ensuring instructional excellence; creating affordable pathways to college degree attainment for many thousands more Virginians; preparing citizens for employment in the high-income, high-demand fields of the new economy; and ensuring affordable access to post secondary education, training, and re-training for all Virginians.

"Old Dominion University has enjoyed a long relationship with Virginia's Community Colleges, from our distance learning programs on the VCCS campuses to our 2+2 partnerships, guaranteed admissions and state-leading acceptance of VCCS transfer students," noted President Broderick. "This agreement further cements our joint dedication to serving the educational needs of and ensuring educational affordability and access for Virginians."

"Through partnerships like this one we are creating the best transfer environment of any state in the nation," said Chancellor Dubois. "Together with ODU, and our other university partners, we are making the pathway to a bachelor's degree more accessible and more affordable than ever before in Virginia."

The agreement, which came as a result of the institutions' desire to strengthen and improve their long-standing partnership and to create a dynamic future, utilizes the schools' academic, financial, technology, facility and infrastructure assets to better serve the higher education needs of the Commonwealth and its citizens.

Work on the agreement began last year with a VCCS/ODU Joint Planning Team that examined every aspect of the existing partnership. The main goal was to establish additional and clear pathways for community college students to finish their four-year degrees at ODU. Additionally, the team examined the productivity, efficiency and effectiveness of partnership and identified ways to improve and streamline the programmatic and business aspects of the relationship. It also established a framework to identify opportunities for increased collaborations in technology, faculty, facilities and programs, among others.

As a result, the new partnership agreement makes it easier and faster for community college students with an associate in applied science degree to obtain bachelor's degrees. Combined with a General Education Certificate, students can transfer to ODU and take all their

upper division courses through distance learning. More than 100 new program articulation agreements have been signed to date, and the institutions are working on agreements for nursing, civil engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology, electrical engineering technology, criminal justice and human services.

The group is also aiming to launch a pilot program with VCCS' Extended Learning Institute and ODU's Distance Learning where students could complete a four-year entirely online.

The joint planning team has identified opportunities for resource sharing, particularly in the area of faculty development, that will enable the institutions to be more efficient and effective. VCCS faculty, for example, joined ODU's Summer Institute, "Engaging Modern Minds: Actively Involving Students in Learning."

New learning pod technologies, that more efficiently utilize space, will be installed at Piedmont, Blue Ridge and Rappahannock community colleges, with future plans to expand their use to other sites. Learning pods are specialized distance learning set-ups for small groups or classes. Instead of using a traditional 30-person classroom for a single distance-learning class of six, for example, several classes could be held simultaneously using learning pods.

Old Dominion and VCCS have enjoyed a long-standing partnership. Since the early 1990s, Old Dominion University offered undergraduate and graduate degree programs at Virginia Community College sites through distance learning. More than 9,000 students have earned degrees through the ODU-VCCS partnership and more Virginia Community College students transfer to Old Dominion University to complete their bachelor's degrees than to any other college or university in the Commonwealth, except one. The partnership continues to be acknowledged as a positive effort that assists Virginia communities with retaining qualified employees in key fields and improving the quality of life for local residents.

This article was posted on: April 20, 2011

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