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ODU in the News

Week of 11/2/12

Virginia Beach/ODU traffic planning center opens
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 2, 2012)

Remember the rude driver who cut you off last week?
The city's transportation future will soon be shaped by computer simulations so detailed they'll even account for that guy.
Aggressive motorists are among the many variables that researchers will be able to tinker with at the Center for Innovative Transportation Solutions, a joint venture between Old Dominion University and Virginia Beach that celebrated its grand opening Thursday in Town Center.
City planners envision that the center can help answer all sorts of questions. Where is the best place to add lanes or build a new road? What would traffic from a pro sports arena look like? What contingencies do they need to prepare for if an accident or natural disaster shuts down a key road? (More)

ODU opens Center for Innovative Transportation Solutions
(WVEC-TV, November 1, 2012)

The region's top transportation officials gathered for the grand opening of Old Dominion University's Center for Innovative Transportation Solutions at Town Center Thursday.
Many hope the research team from CITS will find solutions to the transportation challenges facing Hampton Roads.
"The simpler solutions sometimes have the bigger impact on traffic flow," said Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton. "We're looking forward to working with ODU and the simulation center."
Researchers will use modeling and simulation to develop transportation research the region has never seen.
The opening comes on the heels of Hurricane Sandy, a storm which created big traffic problems in some parts of the area.
Center Director Asad Khattak told 13News they've already started researching ways to mitigate traffic confusion during severe weather events.
Khattak says putting together better evacuation routes will be a big part of their research.
"We can provide them with detailed information on what routes are open, where to go and how to go there," Khattak said. "It will be more customized information that we can provide to people." (More)

Student debt in Va. continues to escalate
(Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 2, 2012)

The average debt for a bachelor's degree in Virginia rose by more than $1,000 to $24,717 last year, with 59 percent of the class of 2011 graduating with loans to pay off, according to an estimate by the Project on Student Debt.
Among the state's public schools, graduates of Virginia Commonwealth and Virginia State universities carried the most debt, and Old Dominion University the least.
The report found that 62 percent of VCU students graduated with loans that averaged $27,179. The proportion was higher for VSU, where 90 percent graduated with an average of $28,250 in debt.
At ODU, 75 percent of graduates left with a diploma and loans that averaged $16,500.
ODU spokeswoman Jennifer Mullen Collins said the university has undertaken several initiatives to reduce student borrowing, but "clearly our students play a role in their own debt by working and managing their finances appropriately."
The university has a program to help students better budget their funds, and this year invested more than $500,000 in on-campus employment opportunities for students, she said.
Most ODU students work at least part time, she said, and research has shown that on-campus jobs improve retention and grades because supervisors are more supportive of a student's schedule. (More)

Foreign Students and Tolerance - I
(Opinion, Inside Higher Ed, October 26, 2012)

By Chris R. Glass and Larry A. Braskamp
Neo-racism toward international students, such as the recent incidents at Michigan State and Ohio State Universities, highlights the challenges higher education leaders face in creating a positive campus climate for international students. Many international students live in a parallel social world, shut off from friendships with American peers. When a neo-racist act occurs, international students - and all students, except for a few - look to campus administrators and faculty for ethical academic leadership. Even if no major incident has occurred, campus leaders are responsible for creating a positive climate for the burgeoning number of international students arriving at their institutions.
While there is no "one size fits all" approach, we offer for consideration three "educational encounters" that make a positive difference in the lives of international students. Our recommendations are primarily based on analysis of the results from the Global Perspective Inventory (GPI), a multi-university survey that examines the relationship between educational experiences and global learning of over 70,000 U.S. undergraduates, including almost 3,000 international students. We are both involved in this research project. Drawing on key findings from our research, we propose three educational encounters that campus leaders may consider to create more inclusive campus climates for international students. ...
Chris R. Glass is assistant professor of educational foundations and leadership at Old Dominion University. Larry A. Braskamp is professor emeritus and former senior vice president for academic affairs at Loyola University Chicago.

Oil and globalization fuel Al Qaeda terror network (+video)
(The Christian Science Monitor, October 25, 2012)

By Steve Yetiv
Mitt Romney has repeatedly argued that even though Osama Bin Laden is dead, Al Qaeda remains a major threat to American security, while President Obama has described Al Qaeda's leadership as decimated. Who's right?
In fact, they are both right. Al Qaeda's leadership is decimated, and the Obama team deserves much credit. But Al Qaeda has also splintered into affiliates and offshoots that keep bouncing back, like a Whac-A-Mole game. Al Qaeda can be repressed as Mr. Obama suggests, but it is hard for any US president to completely eliminate the terror network - and Americans should know why.
A large part of the reason is oil and globalization.
Many people have commented on the link between oil and terror, but what is more interesting is how oil and globalization have worked together to abet terrorism. The overlapping oil and globalization eras have produced circumstances that helped create and now still buttress the Al Qaeda phenomenon. ...
Steve Yetiv is a professor of political science at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. He is the author of "The Petroleum Triangle: Oil, Globalization, and Terror" and "The Absence of Grand Strategy: The United States in the Persian Gulf."

Biofuels Center of North Carolina Funds Field to Fryer to Fuel Cooking Oil and Biodiesel Production Project
(Biofuels Journal, October 31, 2012)

$130,000 grant from The Biofuels Center of North Carolina to a group of public and private partners led by AdvantageWest is providing "seed money" aimed at developing the clean energy industry in Western North Carolina. The project will pilot a new business model for the production of biodiesel from locally grown feedstocks that will reduce the region's dependence on imported fuels.
Through the Field to Fryer to Fuel (F3) initiative, project partners will plant canola seed that will be pressed into food-grade oil for area restaurants.
The used fryer oil will then be converted to about 5,000 gallons of biofuel.
The whole process, from sowing seed to producing biofuel, will take less than one year.
In addition to testing the F3 business model for biofuel production, project partners hope to attract investors for a larger scale operation that will produce around 300,000 gallons of biofuel per year in the region.
Project partners receiving support under the Biofuels Center award in addition to AdvantageWest are: Asheville-based Algaenan Energy Corporation (AEC), Blue Ridge Biofuels, Land-of-Sky Regional Council, and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., which is providing laboratory services for the pilot. (More)

Time for news with a view
(Opinion, The Virginian-Pilot, November 1, 2012)

By Burton St. John III
Jon Stewart, in an offhand moment during a recent interview with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, remarked sarcastically, "I follow the polls, nothing else; I'm not an issues guy. I like numbers."
Stewart, in his role as a "fake news" anchor, rarely misses an opportunity to take a jab at the dysfunctions of our news media. It was a timely comment, because today's journalism, in the midst of the claims and counterclaims of the presidential election season, appears to be rediscovering that it has an obsession with facts.
Witness the journalistic outlets (both traditional and online) that, after each 2012 presidential debate, scurry to vet the data. Journalists pull apart statements concerning employment figures, number of new leases for oil and gas exploration, or the size of today's U.S. Navy and then make pronouncements about which candidate is more or less truthful. And, of course, there's the endless focus on daily poll data that may, or may not, turn out to be significant come Election Day.
Not surprisingly, this doubling down on facts and data has spurred some self-serving comments from journalists that this is a sign of a new vitality in journalism. Nothing can be further from the truth. Mainstream journalism, for more than 80 years, has demonstrated this predilection for gathering up data and facts, finding some way to substantiate such information and then serving it up to news consumers. That practice was a good start, but it never was enough. ...
Burton St. John III, an associate professor of communication at Old Dominion University, was co-editor of the newly released book "News with a View: Essays on the Eclipse of Objectivity in Modern Journalism." Email: bsaintjo@odu.edu.

Paradigm Shift: The End of Oil Supply Crises?
(World Politics Review, October 30, 2012)

By Steve Yetiv
In the most recent presidential debate, Republican nominee Mitt Romney attempted to tap into a deep-rooted fear among the American public of instability in the Middle East, and in particular the concern that any resulting oil supply disruption would spike oil prices and trigger a recession.
The concern is historically based: Past recessions have been caused or accelerated by such crises, including the 1973 oil embargo, the 1979 Iranian revolution and the 1980 outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war. Contrary to received wisdom, however, the chance of an oil crisis caused by a hard-to-manage oil disruption has decreased substantially since the 1970s. Indeed, we may well be experiencing a paradigm shift in global oil security that has gone largely unnoticed and that it is built on a number of shock absorbers -- some emanating from the Middle East itself. ...
Steve Yetiv is a professor of political science at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. He is the author of "The Petroleum Triangle: Oil, Globalization, and Terror" and "The Absence of Grand Strategy: The United States in the Persian Gulf."

Send Your Daughter to Old Dominion, Not Harvard
(Women's E-News, October 26, 2012)

Ivy League schools may fancy themselves better than most, but on the criterion of how well they protect students from rape, Wendy Murphy urges parents to take a closer look.
Two months into the academic year, in the midst of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it's worth talking about why female students at Virginia's Old Dominion University, called ODU, are enjoying a safer and more egalitarian education than students at schools such as Harvard, Princeton and University of Virginia.
Last summer, for example, three ODU students, including two football players, were accused of raping two women. The matter was not only reported and swiftly prosecuted in criminal court, the football players were kicked off the team and all three were expelled from the university. ODU Athletic Director Wood Selig, Head Football Coach Bobby Wilder and Faculty Athletic Representative Tim Seibles all endorsed the decision and have taken proactive steps to increase awareness and enforcement of Title IX on behalf of female students against violent male athletes.
By way of stark contrast, University of Virginia hasn't expelled a single perpetrator of sexual violence in the past 10 years, and both Harvard and Princeton have policies that allow school officials to run out the clock on victims' reports of rape such that offenders are able to stay on campus and finish their education even in the face of compellingly credible allegations of brutal attacks on female students. (More)

ODU to host experts on journalism, globalization
(The Virginian-Pilot, October 31, 2012)

An American media expert and an internationally known Chinese scholar will give lectures next week at Old Dominion University.
David Mindich, a college professor and author of "Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News," will speak at 7 p.m. Monday, the eve of the presidential election, in the North Cafeteria of Webb Center. His topic is "Living an Engaged Life: How Young People Can Assert Their Political Power and Take Control of Our Democracy."
A former CNN correspondent, Mindich is a professor of media studies, journalism and digital arts at Saint Michael's College in Colchester, Vt.
Yong Zhao will speak Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Big Blue Room of the Ted Constant Convocation Center. His topic is "World Class Learners: Can China's Education System Produce a Steve Jobs?"
A native of China's Sichuan province, Zhao is a professor and associate dean at the University of Oregon. His work focuses on the implications of globalization and technology on education. (More)

'Poster child' of traveling exhibit from Danville
(Go Dan River, October 28, 2012)

Danville's Paula Martin Smith was conference in Lynchburg not long ago, browsing some of the booths set up by various agencies to hand out information.
Smith said she got to the AARP's table and a flyer caught her eye, one that invited people who had gone through the desegregation of public schools in Virginia to tell their stories for an oral history project.
"I thought, 'I'd really like to participate in this,'" she said.
Then she turned to the second page of the flyer and staring back at her was ... herself, in a photograph taken when she was 10 years old.
"I can't even describe the feeling at the time," Smith said.
Smith said she learned that the school desegregation oral history project is collaboration between Old Dominion University, which is hosting the project; Virginia NAACP; AARP; the Urban League of Hampton Roads Inc.; DOVE (Desegregation of Virginia Education) and several other agencies and colleges, all working to collect local oral histories and artifacts from that time.
She arranged to meet with Sonia Yaco, the special collections librarian and university archivist at Old Dominion University, in Lynchburg to tell her story.
Smith said she arrived at the traveling exhibit/oral collection site only to be greeted by ... herself, again - only this time in a huge poster.
"It must have been 10 feet tall," she said, still amazed. (More)

Question on seizing of property is at stake
(Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 30, 2012)

Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment to limit the government taking of private property are quick to champion the cause of Bob Wilson, a Norfolk military contractor who is intent on keeping his successful business address within a critical couple miles of the world's largest navy base.
Question 1 on the Nov. 6 ballot would shelter Wilson's Central Radio Co. from the Norfolk redevelopment authority's condemnation of his property to make way for shops, restaurants and apartments near Old Dominion University.
Instead, his highly specialized company has had to wage a grueling battle for years to maintain its location. It's likely headed to the Virginia Supreme Court.
"The terrible thing about this constitutional amendment is it's going to come too late for us," Wilson said. "Had they had the constitutional amendment in effect, we wouldn't have had to go through this."
The proposed amendment is part of a national groundswell that occurred since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 in Kelo v. City of New London. It gave state and local government eminent domain authority to seize private property for economic development projects such as the one proposed in Norfolk. (More)

Obama gains in battleground states
(The Gulf Today (United Arab Emirates), October 25, 2012)

President Barack Obama set off on Wednesday on an eight state, 7,660 mile, 40-hour tour, in a show of confidence and commitment in battlegrounds that will decide the election. Latest polls indicated he is gaining in key states.
Thirteen days before he asks voters for a second term, Obama's through-the-night, coast-to-coast trip will take in six of the most contested swing states in his toss-up race with Republican Mitt Romney.|
The struggle in Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Virginia and Ohio will decide which of the rivals masses the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.
Obama, who has a well-appointed cabin in the nose of Air Force One, will sleep on a red-eye flight from Las Vegas to Tampa on Wednesday night.
He will also divert from swing states during his tour to tape an appearance on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and to cast an early vote in his hometown of Chicago.
The trip, already mocked as the "Can't Afford Four More" tour by Romney's campaign, comes with Obama tied or just behind Romney in national polls, but still with small leads in a handful of the swing states.
Romney led in an average of national polls by 0.7 per cent on Tuesday, but Obama still held small leads in Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, Wisconsin and New Hampshire, states that could hand him a second four-year term.
A new set of battleground polls hold encouraging signs for Obama, with the incumbent leading in both Ohio and Virginia - two battlegrounds Romney will likely need if he is to win the White House.
In Ohio, a SurveyUSA poll released on Wednesday morning gave the president a 47-to-44 per cent advantage, in line with recent surveys that have shown the incumbent with a small but steady advantage in the Buckeye State.
Meanwhile, a new survey from Old Dominion University gives the president a 50-43 per cent advantage in Virginia. (More)

NCAA president fights for change, against misperceptions
(The Virginian-Pilot, October 24, 2012)

Saturday afternoon, Penn State will play Ohio State in what could be called the Sanction Bowl, a game between a pair of traditional behemoths that are being prevented this year from participating in postseason games after having run afoul of the NCAA.
You wouldn't think the NCAA would want to celebrate a pairing of this kind, but then TV usually has the final say in these matters, and so the festivities will be nationally broadcast on ESPN.
The game between two schools in trouble with the "law," no matter what the different circumstances, creates a scenario that kicks open the door to all sorts of snarky comments about the state of big-time college sports today - not that critics need another invitation.
It's the sort of skepticism Mark Emmert faces on the job every day, but speaking Tuesday night at Old Dominion, the NCAA president insisted that too many people hold the wrong impression about intercollegiate sports.
Can you blame them? The long-held perception is fed by the notion that universities are commercial enterprises in association with TV networks, but that, Emmert said during his appearance at the President's Lecture Series, is "a tiny portion of what college sports are all about." (More)

Obama's still up in Virginia, but Romney's closing gap
(The Virginian-Pilot, October 24, 2012)

President Barack Obama leads Republican Mitt Romney among likely Virginia voters, according to a new Old Dominion University poll, but the survey - taken in the weeks before and after their first debate - indicates Romney is closing the gap.
The landline and cellphone survey, conducted between Sept. 19 and Oct. 17 by ODU's Social Science Research Center, found that Obama was favored by 50 percent, Romney by 43 percent and three other presidential candidates by a combined 3 percent.
Just over 3 percent of those polled said they were undecided or didn't know. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
Poll takers began to see a marked shift toward Romney after the Oct. 3 televised debate in Denver, said Jesse Richman, an assistant professor of political science at ODU who analyzed the poll results.
Of the 465 voters surveyed, about two-thirds were contacted before the debate and supported Obama by a wide margin. But most of the other one-third polled after Oct. 3 favored Romney. The margin of error is larger when splitting apart the poll group, Richman said, but the shift is significant.
"That tells you that the debates matter for people's attitudes," he said Tuesday. "The level of support that Obama had in September began to evaporate as we moved into October."
ODU also found that voters who said their households include active duty or military veterans tended to support Romney in greater numbers than they did Obama. (More)

More Americans Walk Away from Their Mortgages
(The Fiscal Times, October 24, 2012)

Crystal G., 42, figured it was time to move when groups of college students started renting in her condominium complex in Cincinnati, Ohio. She'd bought her apartment in 2005 for $98,000 and had been faithfully paying down a 15-year mortgage. But when the real estate market collapsed and neighbors started suffering foreclosures, her unit's value plummeted to about $30,000.
As the complex started feeling more like Animal House than home, she approached her bank about refinancing into a 30-year loan so that she could afford to move elsewhere and rent out her condo. But the bank told her it wouldn't refinance an upside-down mortgage. So she's planning to stop paying - she heard that missing a payment would encourage the bank to renegotiate her loan.
If it doesn't, she's planning to walk away from the mortgage and let the home fall into foreclosure. But she'll stay in the apartment and save the extra money that would've gone toward her mortgage. (She asked that her full name not be used in this story.) ...
A study published last month in the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics concluded that borrowers who view their loan servicer negatively are more likely to strategically default. That particularly applies to banks they see as stubbornly refusing to work with borrowers in trouble or as having been bad actors during and after the housing crisis, like participating in the predatory lending or robo-signing scandals.
Study author Michael Seiler, a behavioral real estate researcher at Old Dominion University, says the results indicate banks could reduce the number of voluntary defaulters and save money by making small concessions. The study showed, for example, that homeowners offered a $100 reduction (by a theoretical bank) on their monthly mortgage payment were significantly less likely to default: "When you modify loans by even that small amount, that entire effect [the borrowers' willingness to default] goes away," Seiler says. (More)

NBA site would bring Va. $503M a year, study says
(The Virginian-Pilot, October 24, 2012)

A new study on the proposed $350 million arena presented to the City Council on Tuesday said the statewide economic impact of an NBA team in Virginia Beach would be almost $503 million a year, including almost $11 million annually in state tax revenue and the creation of 3,700 jobs.
City officials have forwarded the study to state officials with hopes of getting some state funding to help build the 18,500-seat arena, said Warren Harris, the city's director of economic development.
The study assumed that the arena would be built and operating for the 2015-16 NBA season. The team would play at other venues in Virginia while it's being built, the study said. ...
The $31,240 study, completed by Richmond-based Chmura Economics & Analytics, was commissioned by the city's economic development authority. It follows an economic impact study on Virginia Beach done for the authority by Old Dominion University economics professor James Koch.
A third study requested by the City Council to check the numbers used in the other studies is due by Nov. 1. (More)