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Old Dominion University will partner with New College Institute to offer two degree programs in Martinsville beginning this fall. The announcement was made Thursday, April 26, by ODU President Roseann Runte and NCI Executive Director Barry Dorsey.

The two programs, bachelor's degrees in motorsports technology and industrial technology, are the eighth and ninth degree programs to be offered at New College Institute, a new educational institution established by the 2006 General Assembly.

NCI brings directly to Virginia's Southside third- and fourth-year courses that enable students to complete bachelor's degrees without having to leave the area. The institution also offers master's degrees. The programs are delivered by public and private institutions.

"We are very grateful to Old Dominion University for agreeing to bring these two programs to NCI," Dorsey said. "This area of the state is known for its motorsports activities. We have an outstanding associate's degree in motorsports already offered by Patrick Henry Community College. The bachelor's degree builds on the PHCC program and makes it possible for a student to stay in this area to complete a four-year degree and be even better prepared to work in the growing motorsports industry."

"The Industrial Technology degree should be of great benefit to businesses in our region," Dorsey added. "This degree also is a natural one for many community college graduates with associate's degrees in technology to complete. It prepares students for a number of jobs - everything from manufacturing supervisor to quality systems engineer to plant manager."

President Runte of ODU complimented Dorsey on his leadership and his perceptivity in assessing the needs and advantages of the Martinsville region.

"These programs will contribute nicely to the establishment of a solid economic base for the region by combining institutional strengths. The racetrack in Martinsville and the wind tunnel that our university operates in Hampton are, in tandem, impressive resources," Runte said. "Old Dominion's expertise in motorsports engineering and industrial technology on levels ranging from the bachelor's to the doctoral degrees is an incontrovertible asset. Dr. Dorsey and his New College team provide the local and regional spark to start this powerful engine-and education is the engine that is always in the winning car."

ODU offers programs in a variety of disciplines from the bachelor's through the doctorate. NCI currently offers approximately half a dozen degrees. Most of them are taught in a newly renovated building in Martinsville, but some are scheduled for the campus of Patrick Henry Community College. The two ODU programs will be on the PHCC campus so that students have access to motorsports and technology labs.

NCI is also heavily engaged in educational outreach, working to increase the college-going rate in the region. The area has suffered an economic downturn in recent years with the loss of thousands of textile and furniture jobs. Former Gov. Mark Warner and his successor, Gov. Tim Kaine, have been staunch supporters of NCI and of other efforts to revitalize the region.

This article was posted on: April 27, 2007

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