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John Toomey, associate professor of music at Old Dominion University, received a prestigious Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council on Higher Education for Virginia Thursday. He is one of only 11 faculty members in the commonwealth who were selected this year to receive the honor, the ultimate award for faculty at Virginia's public and private colleges and universities.

Toomey was recognized during a ceremony at the State Capitol Thursday and at a reception at the Executive Mansion in Richmond. Toomey also received a check for $5,000 appropriated by the Virginia General Assembly and an engraved plaque. More than 71 faculty statewide were nominated for this year's awards. Since the program's inception in 1986, 151 faculty members have received the honor.

"Professor Toomey is an incredibly valuable member of the university faculty," said Jo Ann Gora, Old Dominion's provost and vice president for academic affairs.

"He gives unstintingly of his time and talent to his students and to the university community. His students…rave about his ability to mentor, coach, encourage and inform. And, as a musician and performer, he brings so much talent to the stage. He is delight to work with, to listen to, and to learn from."

Toomey teaches classes in jazz appreciation on TELETECHNET, Old Dominion's distance learning network, which broadcasts classes across the state, the nation and the world. Using a ceiling-mounted camera in his specially equipped classroom, Toomey can focus students' attention on his hands as they play across the keyboard, a feature not available in traditional music classrooms. This gives students at remote sites a view as good if not better than those in the classroom.

Click below to see a video of Toomey teaching his jazz appreciation class.
John Toomey's Jazz Appreciation Class

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This article was posted on: March 1, 2000

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