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ODU in the News

Week of 8/19/13

Hallelujah! Dad Soothes Crying Baby With A Ukulele (VIDEO)
(Video, The Huffington Post, Aug. 16, 2013)

If there is one thing parents everywhere understand, it's the multitude of trial-and-error methods one will use to try and soothe a crying baby.
However, one unique method was captured on video that is sure to bring a smile to just about anyone's face. Watch in the clip above as D.E. Wittkower, a dad and assistant professor at Old Dominion University, uses a ukulele and the legendary song "Hallelujah" when his daughter, Ada, starts to fuss. It was shot in 2012, but as a bonus, you can see him revisit the song almost one year later below.
While it's not guaranteed to work (yes, much like snowflakes, no crying baby is the same), after watching both of these amazing moments, we're thinking some moms and dads may want to brush up on their ukulele skills. (More)

Math teachers shortage adds up to division problem
(The Virginian Pilot, Aug. 19, 2013)

Earlier this month, administrators went before school boards with a plea for help. They needed math teachers. And they needed them fast.
"We need nine math teachers today, and I don't know where they are," Portsmouth Assistant Superintendent Patricia Fisher told the School Board a month before classes begin.
A similar appeal rang out in Hampton, where the division's executive director of human resources told officials that staff had been "looking under rocks" in trying to fill six middle and high school math vacancies.
"If you do know anybody with a math background, any engineers that want a career change, we can work with them," Robbin Ruth said.
Recruiting and retaining good math teachers have long been challenges for school divisions across the country. The Virginia Department of Education considers math teachers, as well as those in special education, science and foreign language, to be at a "critical shortage." ...
This year, Old Dominion University begins MonarchTeach, an initiative designed to boost the number of science and math teachers in Virginia middle and high schools. The program, the first of its kind in the state, wants to have highly qualified, licensed teachers ready in four years.
However, that doesn't help divisions hurting now. In some cities, the gaps are manageable. Last week, Virginia Beach had five math openings. On Thursday, Newport News said it needed to fill four of its 21 secondary math vacancies. (More)

Local families watch, pray for the Egypt they left
(The Virginian Pilot, Aug. 19, 2013)

As the violence in Egypt continues, the tragic events have had a deeply personal effect on two very different Hampton Roads men.
Father Reweis Khalil, priest of Hampton's St. George Coptic Orthodox Church, fears for his church and family back in Abu Qurqas. Ahmed AlSum, a doctoral student at Old Dominion University, is mourning the death of a friend.
The two have different faiths - Khalil is a Christian; AlSum is Muslim - but both share a desire to see a peaceful end to the ongoing chaos in their home country.
"That bloody day of Egypt hurts a lot of families around the country," said AlSum, a former resident of Cairo who is now president of ODU's Egyptian Student Association.
"It made the peaceful resolution harder. But we still have a hope for a better life that contains freedom and social justice."
Khalil, who spoke through the aid of a translator, prays for peace in Egypt. "Our Lord Jesus Christ is controlling of everything," he said. He said moderate Muslims have helped guard the Coptic church in Abu Qurqas.
"We want to live in peace and democracy," Khalil said. "We want a better future for Egypt." (More)

Athletes would get stipend under C-USA proposal
(The Virginian Pilot, Aug. 17, 2013)

Conference USA's presidents and athletic directors unanimously endorsed providing a stipend for full-scholarship athletes during a two-day retreat that ended Thursday in Irving, Texas.
The issue of providing athletes with a stipend of about $2,000 per year to help pay for living expenses not provided in traditional scholarships is one of several that has led the major conferences to consider forming a new NCAA division.
ODU athletic director Wood Selig said traditional scholarships pay for tuition, room, board and books. They do not pay for clothing, expenses for athletes to travel home during the holidays or for necessary items such as toothpaste and razors. Selig estimates those additional costs add up to about $2,000 at ODU.
"We are in favor of paying a stipend that funds the full cost of school attendance," he said.
Proposals to pay stipends have been vetoed by the majority of NCAA schools that don't play big-time football and have limited financial means. Some of the power conferences had discussed forming a new division in the NCAA, or seceding from the organization, so they can begin compensating athletes.
Any proposal for a stipend would have to be approved by the NCAA (More)

Bruce Meyer President, Meyer Insurance Group
(Inside Business, Aug. 16, 2013)

Bruce Meyer, a product of Tidewater Community College, recently became board chairman of Virginia's Community College System. The 1987 TCC alumnus was appointed to a four-year term on the board in 2001 and again in 2010. Early this summer the 48-year-old became chair, making him the second VCCS graduate to hold that position.
Meyer was instrumental in crafting transfer agreements between VCCS schools and four-year universities while a board member. As chair, he looks forward to advancing other goals in his one-year term, including advancing the Godwin Society.
The state board is the governing organization of the community college system - all 23 community colleges in the commonwealth. We have over 400,000 students enrolled, and we oversee a budget of about $1.8 billion. Our job, just like any board of visitors at any university or four-year college, is to oversee all aspects of that college. ...
I was born in Miami, Fla. My parents moved up here to Virginia Beach when I was 13. I went to high school here, Green Run, and then I went to Virginia Commonwealth University for three years. Then I had a job offer over here the same time I went to college; it was the Great American Cookie Co. That was my first job ever, and they really wanted me over here and I wanted to change my major anyway. So I said let me catch up at Tidewater Community College for certain requirements I needed, and it worked.
Tidewater was great, and then I transferred to Old Dominion University. Afterward, I did a job transfer - I got into insurance about 20 years ago, working with businesses and employee benefits. It was probably the best thing I ever did. It allowed me to give back to the community because I built a very good business. (More)

INTERVIEW: Dr. Eduardo Salas on Best Practices for Developing Teamwork
(HR Bartender, Aug. 18, 2013)

We often talk about the importance of organizational teamwork. But rarely do we talk about making an investment into specific team training. Yes, there's teambuilding but that's something different.
During this year's SHRM Annual Conference, I had the opportunity to hear a special session on teamwork, led by Dr. Eduardo Salas. He is the Trustee Chair and Pegasus Professor of Psychology at the University of Central Florida (UCF). I knew I would immediately like him since he was from my alma mater. ha.ha.
According to Dr. Salas, companies that provide team training can see as much as a 20% increase in team performance. This compares to activities like teambuilding, which are still important but do not have the same impact on team performance. ...
Dr. Salas, what started your interest in studying teams and team dynamics?
It all started in graduate school at Old Dominion University. I took a seminar on organizational behavior with my advisor. The class was informative, interesting and it motivated me. I thought that team dynamics was something that I could get into. Then, the Navy in Orlando hired me, primarily to develop a team training and team performance capability. (More)

He's still catching waves - with a little bit of help
(The Virginian Pilot, Aug. 19, 2013)

When Butch Maloney started to have trouble paddling on his surfboard to catch waves, he worried about missing out on his passion.
Decades of smoking had left his lungs weak. His stamina, a key element of surfing, was almost non-existent.
Maloney was missing too many waves. And for a time, he wasn't catching any.
All that changed when he discovered WaveJet boards.
Propelled by a power pack that is similar to technology used in personal watercraft - impellers suck water through an intake and push it out - the boards enable a surfer to get out to the swells.
WaveJets aren't allowed in events like this week's 51st annual Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championships, which begin today. ...
When he discovered surfing, he found his place. He got so into the sport that he put college studies on the backburner.
"I actually attended three Norfolk colleges in the same place. Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary, Old Dominion College and ODU," Maloney deadpanned. "I was on the nine-year plan. I finally put enough classes together to get a degree in distributive education. (More)

ODU president John Broderick named to Conference USA executive committee
(The Virginian Pilot, Aug. 15, 2013)

Old Dominion president John Broderick , right, was named to the executive committee of Conference USA on Thursday at a retreat in Irving, Texas.
The 5-man executive committee, composed of college presidents, makes recommendations to commissioner Britt Banowsky on major issues and sets policy on others.
"They are the true leadership group of the conference," said ODU athletic director Wood Selig, who attended the retreat with Broderick. "They are there to help shape policy and affirm decisions that the rest of the conference may wish to make." (More)

ODU's Broderick, Selig in Dallas for Conference USA meetings
(The Virginian Pilot, Aug. 15, 2013)

Old Dominion president John Broderick and athletic director Wood Selig are in suburban Dallas, Texas this week for two days of Conference USA meetings.
The meetings began Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Irving, Texas and were to carry on through dinner. They were to continue on Thursday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
All 16 C-USA presidents and athletic directors are scheduled to attend. (More)

Could the brain-eating amoeba be lurking in Hampton Roads?
(WTKR, Aug. 14, 2013)

Right now two young teens, one in Arkansas and another in Florida, are fighting a rare but very deadly infection. It's called Naegleria Fowleri or the brain-eating amoeba.
Health officials say it lives in fresh water and is found mostly in lakes, ponds and even slow-moving rivers.
They say only one person in the U.S. has survived it to date...
But, as Dayle Daines, who does infectious disease research and teaches at ODU, explains it's extremely rare.
"Millions and millions of people get in the water every year and very, very few of them get this bug and by the same token thousands drown," says Daines. (More)

ODU Engineer Working to Convert Tobacco Plants into Biofuels
(The Virginia Engineer, Aug. 14, 2013)

An Old Dominion University engineer has been hired by a Virginia-based company to help convert tobacco biomass to advanced biofuels and bioproducts.
Sandeep Kumar, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been at ODU since 2010, conducting research in the area of biofuels production from nonfood-based biomass feedstock.
It makes sense that biofuels research in Virginia - part of the "tobacco belt" - would include looking at alternative uses of the tobacco plant, including biofuels. Tyton BioSciences, based near Danville, is one of several Virginia companies exploring new uses for tobacco as the smoking rate declines nationwide. (More)

SUV drivers often pushy narcissists
(Winnipeg Free Press, Aug. 14, 2013)

The type of vehicle a person owns usually reflects his or her temperament, disposition, personality and attitudes, accumulating data show.
One main focus of the research has been to account for skyrocketing complaints about disrespectful and discreditable driving habits of the operators of some types of vehicles, most notably sport utility vehicles (SUVs). That is why the SUV culture is coming under increasing scrutiny...
According to Asad Khattak and Yingling Fan at Old Dominion University, at least part of that aggressiveness might be "because they consider their vehicles more crashworthy than cars." (More)

Dominion Resources, Dominion Foundation Announce $600,000 in Grants to Virginia Schools
(The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 13, 2013)

Education grants of more than $600,000 from Dominion Resources and the Dominion Foundation will be awarded to schools and educational institutions around Virginia for the 2013-2014 academic year.
The K-12 Educational Partnership program will give 43 schools up to $10,000 each to help fund projects related to energy and the environment. The Higher Education Partnership program will award 18 college and post-secondary schools with up to $45,000 each to underwrite projects in energy, environmental studies, engineering and workforce development. The Dominion Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, the parent company of Dominion Virginia Power.
Grant recipients include:
-- Old Dominion University in Norfolk will receive $40,000 for first-year engineering students to use the school's photovoltaic power system as a hands-on tool to learn fundamental technology concepts behind renewable energy. (More)

Thomas Nelson announces new dean of Communications, Humanities, Social Sciences
(The Daily Press, Aug. 13, 2013)

Patrick Tompkins has joined Thomas Nelson Community College as Dean of Communications, Humanities and Social Sciences, according to a release...
His background in education includes teaching stints at Virginia Commonwealth University, Southwestern State University in Weatherford, Okla., and Iowa State University at Ames.
Tomkins has bachelor's degrees in English and philosophy from Pennsylvania's Villanova University, a master's degree in English from Iowa State University at Ames and a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a doctorate in Community College Leadership from Old Dominion University. (More)