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Public Procurement Certificate Graduates Honored

Procurement CeremonyFrom left, Dean Gil Yochum of the College of Business and Public Administration, Vin Kamatchi, Meshach Keye, Amber Watson, Kevin Ramey, program director Stephen Gordon, John Lombard, Chair of the Department of Business and Public Administration

Kevin Ramey completed his Master of Public Administration from Old Dominion University in 2011. But in his final semester at ODU, Ramey, a retired Chief Petty Officer who works for the U.S. Navy's Center for Personal and Professional Development, had Stephen Gordon as a professor.

Gordon, an internationally renowned expert in the issue of public procurement, informed Ramey of his plans to create a graduate-level certificate program for public procurement. Ramey stayed at ODU, and completed the certificate program. He's glad he did.

"I'm a requirements planner," Ramey said. "I've been given a large training mission, and it's my responsibility to define the scope of the mission, and the resources that will be needed to complete it."

Ramey said the ODU procurement certificate program has helped drive home the message that there's more to effective public sector procurement than just shopping around for the best price. "Efficiency is an instrumental measure. Effectiveness is what we're here for."

Ramey is part of the first group of graduates of the graduate procurement certificate program in ODU's College of Business and Public Administration (CBPA). Old Dominion is one of only two institutions in the United States offering a for-credit, graduate-level procurement program not focused exclusively on federal government procurement.

The program was created in recognition of the fact that procurement is a strategic function, and can impact whether an organization succeeds or fails, particularly in times of budgetary pressure on public sector agencies. The ODU graduate certificate program helps provide students with ideas and skills they can use to support cost savings, improve efficiency, and meet other strategic goals for public-sector organizations.

Graduates of the program attended a reception on May 8 with Gordon, CBPA Dean Gil Yochum, and John Lombard, Chair of ODU's Department of Urban Studies and Public Administration.

Yochum congratulated the certificate recipients, and noted that the program they finished provides unique and needed skills. "We hope when you come back here in 10 years, this program will be internationally recognized," he said.

Gordon said the first class of graduates of the certificate program will be achievers in the field, and great representatives of Old Dominion University.

"I honestly mean this when I say it -- they truly are stars. They're bright, they're motivated, they have attacked this program with passion. They will be terrific in the field," Gordon said.

Completion of the ODU program positions students as strong contenders for top jobs in public procurement. Gordon said elected officials and senior public administrators are eager to hire workers who understand that public procurement can be done for much more than compliance.

The Old Dominion University graduate procurement certificate program is designed as a stand-alone program composed of four required courses and one elective (15 credits total). Additionally, students enrolled in the Master of Public Administration program may take the certificate courses as their electives, earning both the certificate and an M.P.A. simultaneously. Individuals who complete the certificate program and later decide to complete an M.P.A. have the option of applying the certificate credits toward their M.P.A. degree. The certificate courses count toward the electives for ODU's M.B.A program as well.

Admission to the certificate program is open to anyone who has completed a bachelor's or master's degree at an accredited institution. Applicants enroll as non-degree graduate students through the Office of Graduate Admissions. Individuals completing the certificate as part of their M.P.A. or M.B.A. must apply and be admitted to the programs. For more information about the program, see: http://bpa.odu.edu/uspa/academics/procurement.shtml.