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Innovation & Academics

October Moments: Innovation and Academics


Educational Messages Via a New Medium

In April 1952, the Norfolk Division offers its first noncredit television class, Science Is Simple, through the Technical Institute and several science departments. Six years later, World Geography and Music Appreciation become the first credit courses taught over open-circuit television on WVEC-TV. The Norfolk Division is the first higher education institution in Virginia to realize the major role television can play beyond entertainment and news.

Dr. Stanley Pliska teaching world geography for a television program on WVEC, early 1960s.Dr. Stanley Pliska teaching world geography for a television program on WVEC, early 1960s. (Click image to view full photo)
Mr. Parker Baum and G. William Whitehurst starred in the College's educational TV programs for 1958-59. Mr. Baum taught Physical Science Survey and Mr. Whitehurst taught History of Virginia on WVEC-TV Channel 15.Mr. Parker Baum and G. William Whitehurst starred in the College's educational TV programs for 1958-59. Mr. Baum taught Physical Science Survey and Mr. Whitehurst taught History of Virginia on WVEC-TV Channel 15. (Click on image to view full photo)

Launch of College Education TVProvost Lewis Webb, Jr., Robert F. Young, Professor Stanley Pliska, and Professor Harold Hawn at the launch of College Education TV at the Norfolk Division's Technical Institute. (Click on image to view full photo)

Stanley R. Pliska

Stanley R. Pliska joined the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary in 1946 as a history professor. He served as Chairman of the Department of Social Studies (1955), first Chairman of the Department of History (1957), Dean of the Evening College (1962), and Dean of the School of General Studies (1970).

In his 1974 interview, he discusses his involvement in early educational television programs.


William WhitehurstG. William Whitehurst, 1950s (Click on image to view full photo)

G. William Whitehurst

G. William Whitehurst served ODU in the History Department from 1950-1963, and was Dean of Students from 1963-1968. He successfully ran for Congress and served as Representative to Virginia's Second Congressional District from 1968-1987, at which time he returned to ODU to teach in the Political Science Department.

In his 1974 interview, he discusses his involvement in early educational television programs.



A Matter of Degrees

On August 29, 1953, the William and Mary Board of Visitors approves the Norfolk Division's first four-year programs - in nursing, teacher education and business administration. By the end of the decade, a dozen more four-year programs are added. The school awards its first four-year bachelor's degrees to 15 students on June 6, 1956.

Webb signs degreesLewis Webb signing first four-year degrees, May 1956 (Click on image to view full photo) First four year graduatesThe first four-year graduates, May 1956. From left to right standing: Edgar F. Tyree, Jr., Albert Gornto, Jr., Ken Brown, John Wikoff, Spryos Papachristos, Jesse J. Perry, William C. Jarrett, Bruce A. Leslie, Douglas L. Roberts, Dr. Everette N. Hong. From left to right sitting: William Frank Latham, Jr., Leigh Stewart, Jean Holloman, William Wall, Jr., and Robert M. Latimer. (Click image to view full photo)

Lewis W. Webb, Jr.

In his November 1974 interview, Lewis Webb (the "Father of Old Dominion") discusses the first four-year degrees offered at the Norfolk Division.

E. Vernon Peele

E. Vernon Peele was Assistant Director of the Norfolk Division from 1948-1956 and Dean of Instruction from 1956-1966.

In his 1974 interview, Vernon Peele discusses the first four-year degrees offered at the Norfolk Division.



Master Stroke

Old Dominion College takes a major step toward university status when it offers its first graduate programs - master's degree programs in elementary education, English, history and business administration - in fall 1964. The school awards its first master's degrees on June 5, 1966. The offering of graduate education would prove to be one of the most significant developments of the 1960s.

First  Students to be Awarded Masters Degrees, June 1966First Students to be Awarded Masters Degrees, June 1966 (Click on image to view full photo)

E. Vernon Peele

E. Vernon Peele served as Dean of Arts & Sciences from 1966-1975.

In his 1974 interview, Vernon Peele discusses the first masters degrees offered at ODU.

Charles O. Burgess

Dr. Charles O. Burgess became Full Professor in 1966 and was appointed the University's first Dean of Graduate Studies in 1970.

In his 2010 interview, he discusses the first masters degrees offered at ODU.



Oceanography Makes a Splash

The ever-expanding Oceanography Laboratory becomes the Institute of Oceanography in 1965, with Netherlands native Jacques Zaneveld as its first director. Focusing on graduate studies, the institute is authorized in 1968 to offer a Master of Science degree with a concentration in oceanography. It is the forerunner of Old Dominion's nationally distinguished Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography.

Oceanographic Lab in AntarcticaJacques S. Zaneveld and students Jack Fletcher and Jim Curtis setting up the Oceanographic Lab for "Operation Deep Freeze" in Antarctica, January 1965 (Click on image to view full photo)
Preparing for Antarctic Dive, January 1965Preparing for Antarctic Dive, January 1965(Click image to view full photo)

Faculty from Oceanography & Biology DepartmentsFaculty from Oceanography & Biology Departments - (L-R) Jacques S. Zaneveld (Chairman); Jean E. Pugh; David E. Delzell; Paul J. Homsher, 1966 (Click on image to view full photo)

Jacques Simon Zaneveld

Jacques Simon Zaneveld, Professor Emeritus at Old Dominion University, served from 1959-1975 as faculty and Chairman of the Biology Department and founder of the Department of Oceanography.

In his 1976 interview, Zaneveld discusses the origins of the oceanography at Old Dominion.

Lewis W. Webb, Jr.

In his January 1975 interview, Lewis Webb (the "Father of Old Dominion") discusses the origins of the oceanography at Old Dominion. No audio available.



ODU-EVMS Partnerships

In the fall of 1979, Old Dominion establishes an interdisciplinary doctoral program in biomedical sciences with Eastern Virginia Medical School. A decade later, the two schools establish a joint program whereby select students can earn their bachelor of science degree from Old Dominion and be guaranteed entry into EVMS' M.D. program.

EVMS Students, 1980sGroup of students at EVMS in the 1980s (Click on image to view full photo)

Dave Hager

Dr. David Hager was Dean of Graduate Studies from 1976-81 when the ODU-EVMS partnership began.

His interview in 1974 discusses the partnership between ODU and EVMS.


Roy B MartinRoy B. Martin Jr. (Click on image to view full photo)

Roy B. Martin Jr.

Roy B. Martin, Jr., a Norfolk native, was mayor of Norfolk from 1962-1974. He served as a member of the City Council for over 20 years, beginning 1953. He attended the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary from 1939-1940.

His interview in 1974 discusses the potential partnership between ODU and EVMS.



College of Health Sciences

Spong Hall, 1986Spong Hall, 1986. First home of the College of Health Sciences. (Click on image to view full photo)

The College of Health Sciences was created on July 1, 1986, in order to highlight and coordinate ODU's existing health-related programs. At that time, the college had four schools: the School of Community Health Professions and Physical Therapy, the Gene W. Hirschfeld School of Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting, the School of Medical Laboratory Sciences, and the School of Nursing.



Virginia Outstanding Scientists

Biologist Daniel E. Sonenshine, one of the world's leading experts in the study of ticks, is selected for the 1994 Virginia Outstanding Scientist award, the first time in university history that an ODU faculty member has been so recognized. Nine years later, Cynthia Jones, from the ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences department, also receives one of the two awards for her pioneering work in fisheries ecology. Nuclear physicist Anatoly Radyushkin is honored as an Outstanding Scientist in 2004.

 Dr. Sonenshine working on an experiment in the 1960s. Dr. Sonenshine working on an experiment in the 1960s. (Click on image to view full photo)
cjones-cynthia-jonesDr. Cynthia Jones
photoDr. Anatoly V. Radyushkin


First (of Many) SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Awards

On May 1, 1991, sociologist Karen Polonko is honored as the first Old Dominion faculty member to receive an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). Two years later, Polonko is named Virginia Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, an award also won by scientist Cynthia Jones in 2004. Since the SCHEV awards program was established in 1990, 27 other faculty members have joined Polonko in receiving the prestigious honor. The latest recipients are Gail Dodge from the Department of Physics (2015), Carolyn Rutledge from the School of Nursing (2014), Steve Yetiv from the Department of Political Science and Geography (2012) and Mark Butler from the Department of Biological Sciences (2011).

ODU physics professor Gail Dodge receives her 2015 Outstanding Faculty AwardODU physics professor Gail Dodge receives her 2015 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) on Feb 19th, co-sponsored by the Dominion Foundation.
Political Science and International Studies professor Steve YetizPolitical Science and International Studies professor Steve Yetiv honored at an outstanding faculty event.
Mark ButlerOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Teletechnet Revolutionizes Distance Learning

Old Dominion launches its pioneering TELETECHNET distance learning program in July 1994, under the direction of Anne Raymond Savage. Three years later, the university becomes the world's first institution to offer live classes via satellite to Navy ships at sea. ODU's distance learning operation moves into a new state-of-the-art facility, the Albert Brooks Gornto Jr. TELETECHNET Center, in 1999. Through 2004, Old Dominion operated 63 distance learning sites in five states. Since the program's inception, 3,000 students have earned baccalaureate and master's degrees via TELETECHNET.

Anne Raymond SavageAnne Raymond Savage (Click on image to view full photo)

Anne Raymond Savage

Dr. Anne Raymond Savage retired from Old Dominion University in 2004 after 33 years of service. She began as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, served in the School of Continuing Studies, taught in the Biology Department, was appointed Director of the Center for Instructional Development, then Director of Academic Television Services and the Center for Instructional Services, and finally Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs. After "retiring" from that position in 1999, she worked with Distance Learning and in 2001 was appointed interim Vice Provost for Distance Learning and then in 2002 became the official Vice Provost. She officially retired in 2004. Dr. Savage received numerous awards and recognition for teaching and administration, among other things. She is considered the "Mother of Teletechnet" at ODU.

In a 2004 interview (two parts), she talks about the beginnings of TELETECHNET. The excerpt is from Part 2.



ODU's Ship Comes In

158 9-2-14 RV Fay Slover crp 200dpi 8x4 6

ODU's new research vessel, the R/V Fay Slover, is christened on Oct. 1, 2002. Operated by the Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, it is named for the original benefactor of the oceanography program and replaces the 48-year-old R/V Linwood Holton. The new, $1.3 million, 55-foot craft now serves as the keystone for research in marine observation in lower Chesapeake Bay and adjacent waters.



First Doctorate in Modeling and Simulation

jsokolow-john-sokolowskiJohn A. Sokolowski

The world's first doctorate in modeling and simulation awarded by a university is presented to John A. Sokolowski, a retired U.S. Navy submarine officer, at the May 10, 2003, commencement. The doctoral program, located within the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, is one of only a handful in the world. Modeling and simulation is an engineering discipline that solves complex problems using computer simulation.



Doing Something About the Global Environment

Engineering & Computational Sciences Building Engineering & Computational Sciences Building

Stemming from her desire to create a unique learning experience for ODU students - and one that could ultimately lead to positive societal changes - President Roseann Runte sets the wheels in motion toward establishing a required course on the global environment for all freshmen. The three-credit, multidisciplinary course, which debuts at the start of the spring 2005 semester, asks students to examine critically some of the major environmental issues facing the world today. The previous fall, ODU opens its state-of-the-art Engineering and Computational Sciences Building, the first LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) higher education building in Virginia. The Norfolk Environmental Commission presents the university with the Most Outstanding Friend of Norfolk's Environment award in November 2004.



Broderick Launches Initiative to Study Sea Level Rise

President John R. Broderick, on November 29, 2010, institutes a university-wide initiative to scrutinize the threat of sea level rise and the challenges it presents. His message is directed not only to the obvious base disciplines of oceanography, marine biology, coastal engineering and civil engineering, but also to sociology and marketing, economics and risk management, public health and political science, human factors psychology and journalism, education and modeling and simulation. "We are uniquely situated and very well qualified to assess the multitude of crises a coastal urban area may encounter from sea level rise," Broderick states, adding, "This truly will be a multidisciplinary and comprehensive effort, and I hope it will establish our university as a source of solutions for municipalities everywhere that are threatened by rising seas."

Regional Conference on Sea Level RiseRegional Conference on Sea Level Rise
climate-change-sea-level-rise
CCSLRI Newsletter Summer 2011 coverCCSLRI Newsletter Spring 2011 cover


$25 Million Award to Improve Math Education

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In 2012, the Darden College of Education's Center for Educational Partnerships is selected to receive a $25 million scale-up grant from the U. S. Department of Education to improve mathematics achievement and enhance access to challenging mathematics courses for high-need middle school students. More than $1 million will be allocated to support math instructional improvements in the three Virginia school divisions that are official partners in the pilot implementation of the ODU project. The grant's focus is on providing students in high-need middle schools with increased access to rigorous and engaging coursework in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) via scaled-up implementation of a proven cooperative learning model in mathematics instruction.



Strome Means Business

The Strome Entrepreneurial Center is dedicated September 25, 2014, highlighting a week of entrepreneurship events at Old Dominion. The center is created by an $11 million gift from the Strome Family Foundation. The innovative co-curricular program is designed to empower ODU students to create economic and social value in the Coastal Virginia region and beyond. Mark Strome, a 1978 ODU graduate in civil engineering, is chief investment officer for the Strome Group and Strome Investment Management, L.P., based in Santa Monica, California. In addition to the Entrepreneurial Center launch, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Senator Mark Warner and Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim attend a dedication ceremony the following day for the Strome College of Business, which is renamed in honor of Strome and his wife, Tammy. "Old Dominion University has always been entrepreneurial and innovative in its approach to education and service," says President John R. Broderick. "Thanks to the gift from Mark and Tammy Strome, the school can continue its legacy of innovation, and contribute to economic growth in Hampton Roads and beyond."

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Entrepreneurship at ODUAcademics + Strome Entrepreneurial Center = Entrepreneurship at ODU


Most of the oral histories and digital materials are from the University Libraries' Special Collections and University Archives. See Resources.