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February 17, 2014

John Ritz Appointed Fellow by Technical Foundation of America


John M. Ritz, professor of STEM education and professional studies at Old Dominion, became a Fellow of the Technical Foundation of America on Dec. 3.

The foundation's trustees bestow this honor on a select few individuals who have made major and lasting contributions to their profession and the foundation. Since the inception of the Fellows program, Ritz becomes only the seventh recipient of the award.

As a Technical Foundation of America Fellow, Ritz was recognized for his "untiring efforts to promote the mission and ideals of the foundation; outstanding service and dedication to the foundation's program of work; active involvement and participation in foundation-sponsored events; and personal commitment to the advancement of the study of technology."

Ritz, a member of the ODU faculty since 1977, received the award while attending the Pupils Attitudes Toward Technology Conference in Christchurch, New Zealand, when Technical Foundation of America President Gene Martin and Vice President Stephen Hall recognized him at a formal dinner for selected international technology educators.

"We value the contributions that John Ritz has made during his long career at Old Dominion University. His work truly exemplifies the qualities recognized by this outstanding award, and we are thrilled that he received this well-deserved recognition," said Jane Bray, dean of the Darden College of Education.

In presenting the Fellow award, Martin noted that Ritz had a long history of effecting change in technology education, serving as an advocate for the profession, and acting as a catalyst to generate ideas, identify issues and stimulate critical thinking.

Ritz's most recent affiliation with the foundation has been to serve as a program grant recipient. He prepared and accompanied five U.S. technology education Ph.D. students to the conference. The students represented three universities - Utah State University, Virginia Tech and Old Dominion University. Two students are studying in ODU's Ph.D. in education program - Diana Cantu and Greg Strimel. Each student made a presentation at the international conference and had a paper published in the conference proceedings. Ritz mentored the students as they worked through their individual research projects and reports, and he also presented his international research findings related to research needs for K-12 technology and engineering education.

Ritz has been recognized other times by technology education professional organizations for his contributions to them. During his tenure at ODU, he has received awards for Technology and Engineering Teacher Educator of the Year (1993), Fellow of the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (1997), Outstanding Researcher of Council on Technology and Engineering Teacher Education (2013) and ODU's Ph.D. Mentoring Award (2009). He also was the adviser to William Reed, who was recognized in 2009 by the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education with an Outstanding Dissertation award. The International Technology and Engineering Educators Association named Ritz a Distinguished Technology Educator in 1986.