[ skip to content ]

News @ ODU

Shaeffer Named Founding Dean of College of Continuing Education

This is a photo of new ODU Continuing Education dean Jim ShaefferJim Shaeffer

James M. Shaeffer Sr., associate vice provost for Outreach & Engagement and associate professor at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., has been named the founding dean of Old Dominion University's College of Continuing Education and Professional Development. The appointment was announced Wednesday, May 21, by ODU Provost Carol Simpson.

ODU's Board of Visitors approved the creation of the college late last year and the university's administration immediately launched a nationwide search for a dean. As founding dean, Shaeffer, who starts at ODU on July 25, will oversee the formal launch of a college envisioned as Hampton Roads' primary source for advanced workforce development. The college will provide high-quality professional and personal educational opportunities for nontraditional and adult learners, including military-affiliated and career transition learners.

Shaeffer helped to create an outreach programs unit at JMU in 2005, first as a consultant and then as an associate dean. He became associate vice provost for Outreach &Engagement in 2007. Under his leadership, the JMU outreach unit has become self-supporting and able to return 12 percent of gross revenue back to the university. The unit has focused on new online programs for teachers and workforce development, on formal partnerships with school divisions in and near Harrisonburg and on partnerships with businesses and industries.

Before joining JMU, Shaeffer was associate vice president for outreach programs and dean of outreach programs in the Division of Continuing Education at the University of North Dakota (1998-2005). He was hired at the University of North Dakota as associate dean of the Division of Continuing Education in 1996. Prior to that he was the director of the School of Extended Studies and Public Studies and head of the Division of Extended Credit Programs at the University of Wyoming, where he worked from 1990-96 and 1984-89.

Simpson said, "Dr. Shaeffer brings considerable experience in developing and sustaining successful programs for non-traditional learners. His expertise will be invaluable for the programmatic development of the new college."

The new dean said, "I am very excited about the opportunities that the position of the founding dean of the College of Continuing Education and Professional Development holds, not only for me, but also for ODU and the greater community. In my recent visits to the area I came away being very impressed by the individuals I met at ODU and in the community, and I see nothing but potential for very productive partnerships for ODU and the greater community."

Shaeffer has served as president of the national University Professional and Continuing Education Association and is currently a member of the U.S. Army's Educational Advisory Council, a board member for national Leadership Institute: Women with Purpose and a member of the Virginia Council on Continuing Professional Studies. He is the author of numerous book chapters and articles on teaching strategies and educational technologies. In 2012 he delivered the keynote address "Why Engagement Is Critical to the Future Success of the 21st Century Colleges and Universities" at the European Union's University Association of Lifelong Learning at Cambridge, England.

He holds a doctoral degree in teaching-learning processes from Northwestern University, a master's in elementary education from Kansas State University, and a bachelor's in elementary education from Iowa State University.

The College of Continuing Education and Professional Development will be headquartered at the Virginia Beach campus. Shaeffer will report to the provost and oversee a staff of up to 12 positions reallocated from existing continuing education lines. The college will offer flexible programs throughout the commonwealth of Virginia as well as to the national and global community in response to regional, national and international needs.

Simpson said the new college would assess student preferences and demand through regular, in-depth market surveys. It will foster and support the university's existing continuing and professional education offerings and will develop and market new opportunities, to include non-credit workshops, conferences, seminars and certificates, as well as credit-based courses and interdisciplinary certificate programs - in collaboration with ODU's six academic colleges. Courses will include mainly online offerings, but will also include face-to-face and hybrid offerings, all designed to advance employment opportunities, job creation and personal growth for members of ODU's external community.