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September 30, 2013

Board of Visitors Approves Creation of New College of Continuing Education

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The Old Dominion University Board of Visitors on Sept. 26 approved the creation of a new College of Continuing Education, which will become effective Jan. 2, 2014.

The move is largely in response to a key objective of the university's 2009-2014 Strategic Plan. One of the plan's goals, "Building Strong Civic and Community Relationships," focuses on expansion and promotion of continuing education and related programming at the university.

Envisioned as Hampton Roads' primary source for advanced workforce development, the new College of Continuing Education will provide high-quality professional and personal educational opportunities for nontraditional and adult learners, including military-affiliated and career transition learners.

Discussions are under way on housing the college at ODU's Virginia Beach campus. 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. 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.

At the board's meeting Thursday morning, Provost Carol Simpson said that the proposal to add a new college was also a response to outside competition and increasing interest in ODU as a provider of large-volume course delivery in nontraditional areas.

Simpson said an external consultant provided an in-depth report in 2012 and an ad hoc task force met early in 2013 to explore the idea of adding a college dedicated to continuing education. The Faculty Senate met with the provost and the external consultant in April, and the task force's final report recommending a new college was published on the Office of Academic Affairs website in June. An open comment period ran through August.

Simpson said the new college would provide a single "brand" with one entry point for all continuing and professional education programming. The dean of the college, to be named at a later date, will report to the provost and oversee a staff of up to 14 positions reallocated from existing continuing education lines.

The provost said the new college would assess student preferences and demand through regular, in-depth market surveys. She added that some certificates and programs offered by ODU faculty are currently housed in academic colleges, noting that highly specialized accredited offerings, such as the School of Dental Hygiene's continuing education program, would stay in their home college.

Sample offerings of the new college would include the use of instructional technology in higher education and specialized homeland security courses for critical infrastructures. Other intended offerings include: project management (industrial, government); environmental management (e.g., responding to sea level rise); customized programs for individual businesses; and large-enrollment online courses for professional development.