[ skip to content ]


Old Dominion University President James V. Koch announced today the selection of James J. McLaughlin as the university's first vice president for distance learning. It is also the first such position at that level among the nation's colleges and universities.

McLaughlin comes to Old Dominion from Marriott International Inc. in Washington, D.C., where he was in charge of Marriott's educational programs for 160,000 employees at 2,200 properties worldwide. He will oversee Old Dominion's extensive distance education activities, which include TELETECHNET, the nation's largest televised, interactive distance learning system, offering 30 degree programs via interactive technologies at more than 60 sites. TELETECHNET course registrations topped 16,700 in 1998-99.

In his position at Old Dominion, McLaughlin will develop new partnerships and collaborative relationships with national and international corporations, government agencies, Internet2 institutions and other entities, with the ultimate goal of increasing enrollment, international visibility and fiscal support.

McLaughlin, who will begin his new duties in mid-March, has more than 20 years of management experience in various aspects of distance learning with Marriott, General Electric and Westinghouse. As Marriott's vice president for worldwide training and development the past five years, he was actively involved in training thousands of managers throughout the world, from the vice president level down to first-line supervisor.

"We are happy that Jim McLaughlin is joining our university community," said President Koch. "He will provide us with the expertise to penetrate markets outside of Virginia, make inroads into corporate markets where we need to be more aggressive and help us refine our TELETECHNET system, including helping us determine whether some aspects of the program need to be privatized."

Koch added that McLaughlin will add to his team a senior academic assistant with strong experience in university distance learning programs.

"Having spent my entire career in the business and corporate environment, I know firsthand that there are many, many businesses and corporations desperately in need of the kind of expertise and knowledge that Old Dominion has and can deliver through its distance learning capability. During my career, I have established relations with numerous colleges and universities around the world for the purpose of using their 'intellectual capital' to accelerate the learning of our employees," McLaughlin said. "In the long run, it's cheaper, faster and better than 'reinventing the wheel' yourself.

"With the tremendous pressure that businesses are under today to keep up-to-date with various technologies in their markets and to change their products and services, they need a reliable, low-cost methodology to keep their employees up-to-speed on all the latest changes in products and markets; distance learning can provide that, especially in the types of areas where Old Dominion excels - satellite broadcasting and, more recently, Web delivery of courses. Old Dominion's deep expertise in engineering, nursing and health sciences, information technology, education, business, oceanography and other areas is a tremendous asset for breaking into huge potential markets."

McLaughlin said the market for corporate training in the United States is about $60 billion a year and that there is an ongoing search among businesses for high-quality training and degree programs for their employees.

"There's a huge market out there because high schools, colleges and universities aren't adequately serving it. As a result, some companies are spending their own money designing their own corporate universities. I think this is just a tailor-made opportunity for Old Dominion to essentially redirect some of its capability toward the corporate environment, which would be a very receptive audience indeed."

Commenting on his new position, McLaughlin added, "This is a wonderful opportunity to build on the terrific work that's been done under the very capable leadership of Dr. Anne Raymond-Savage and others over the last decade. What the university is doing and does routinely in distance learning is very significant, not only in the academic environment, but in the business
environment as well. I'm thrilled to have an opportunity to provide some leadership to take the initial efforts to the next level."

Before joining Marriott in 1995, McLaughlin held management positions with Allied Domecq Retailing in Boston, General Electric Co. in Schenectady, N.Y., and Westinghouse Electric Corp. in Pittsburgh. He holds a bachelor's degree in engineering and industrial psychology from Ohio State University, and has completed master's-level work at Oxford Brookes University and the University of Bradford, both in England.

McLaughlin was selected for the vice president position at Old Dominion following a nationwide search by the university, which utilized the services of Korn Ferry International, an executive search firm.

This article was posted on: February 10, 2000

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.