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Now that she has seen her "child" develop and thrive, Anne Savage, often called the "mother of TELETECHNET" and a driving force behind Old Dominion's efforts to become a leader in distance learning, has announced that she will step down from her position as associate vice president for academic affairs.

After a successor is found, Savage plans to take a yearlong sabbatical and then return to campus to teach in the Darden College of Education.

"TELETECHNET is woven into the very fabric of Old Dominion University and I am very proud of that accomplishment," Savage said. "The decision to relinquish my administrative position was one of the most difficult personal choices that I have made."

She added, however, that teaching and learning have always been her passion, and she looks forward to returning to the classroom.

"I have been personally involved in one of the most significant innovations in higher education this century. A unique opportunity now exists for me to return to a faculty position and bring that knowledge, experience and perspective into the classroom. There is no greater role that I can assume in higher education."

It will be a full-circle experience for Savage, who joined the university in 1971 as an assistant professor of educational curriculum and instruction. She was named Teacher of the Year in 1972. Before joining the university, she taught at the high school level in Rhode Island and was a National Biology Teacher of the Year in New England.

She leaves administration on a high note, having been honored last spring as Old Dominion's Administrator of the Year, based on her leadership, management and national reputation. The honor was presented by the Association of University Administrators. Last year, she received the National University Administrator Award.

Savage, who has served as an associate vice president for academic affairs since 1990, has overseen the areas of lifelong learning and academic television services. She has been responsible for planning, developing and implementing TELETECHNET operations, which has evolved into the largest distance learning network of its kind in the United States.
In addition, she has managed the university's nontraditional credit operations, including all distance learning and off-campus instruction, field-based programs, programs on military bases, operations of three regional higher education centers, and Weekend and Evening College activities.

"Anne Savage is a tremendous asset to Old Dominion and will continue to be a valuable member of the university community when she returns to the classroom. She has been both a visionary and a tireless worker in the development of TELETECHNET, and we owe her a great deal of gratitude for the outstanding job she has done in advancing our distance learning program," said President Koch.

Savage moved from the faculty to the administrative ranks in 1978 when she was appointed director of the Center for Instructional Development. In 1984, she became director of academic television services and the Center for Instructional Services, where she implemented the university's distance learning network.

She recalls that one of her first jobs as an administrator was to establish training programs to introduce faculty to computers. At the time, the school had about 15 Apple IIe microcomputers. Savage remembers two of the first computer-aided instruction programs created by faculty. One was in philosophy and logic by professor emeritus R. Baine Harris, and the other by Lytton Musselman, eminent scholar of biological sciences, who devised an instructional package for the learning lab where students could learn to classify plants.

As she prepares for her sabbatical, Savage is exploring opportunities to work in the field of distance learning for agencies outside of higher education -- and outside the country. Also during her leave she plans to write a textbook on distance learning and is considering doing some work in the public schools to update her skills in preparation for returning to the classroom as a science education teacher.

"It has been an honor and privilege to work with her," said Provost Jo Ann Gora. "For 28 years she has worked tirelessly on behalf of this university. She has received national recognition for her vision and management skills.

"The hundreds of people who have worked with her to develop TELETECHNET and the higher education centers will tell you she is tireless, relentless, dedicated and determined. Despite all her accomplishments, she is also the most humble and self-effacing individual I've known."

This article was posted on: August 27, 1999

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