Week of 12/2/13
Moving beyond 'military friendly' status
(Opinion, The Virginian-Pilot, November 30, 2013)
By Kathleen Levingston
As many veterans return from more than 10 years at war and decide to take advantage of their deserved GI Bill benefits, they voice frustration with the perceived roadblocks in moving into higher education. Navigating their benefits, striking a balance between work, family and school life and pursuing the ultimate goal of a career in the civilian workforce can be daunting.
Higher education institutions have sought to incorporate ways of being "military friendly" to assist in easing the transition from military life. A quarter of the student population of more than 25,000 at Old Dominion University has a direct connection to the military. Being "military friendly" has been a part of our culture for decades.
For the past four years, ODU has been ranked as one of the top military friendly schools by G.I. Jobs and as a "top college" in Virginia for future service members by the website College Database because of our affordable tuition rates and strong ROTC programs. Most recently, we were ranked 30th among four-year schools in the nation's Best Colleges for Vets.
While we are proud of these designations, we are committed to moving beyond just being military friendly to being a military supportive institution. ODU already provides unique offerings ranging from an innovative Troops to Teachers program to special student policies to accommodate unpredictable military activation/deactivation. ...
Kathleen Levingston is director of the Military Connection Center at Old Dominion University and faculty adviser for the Student Veterans Association. (More)
Clair Dorsey, Interim Director of Old Dominion University Business Gateway in First Person
(Inside Business, Nov. 27, 2013)
Clair Dorsey is four months into her job at the Gateway. She succeeded Jerry Robertson, who had been with the university for more than 30 years. She is seeking to become the permanent director when the year-long interim term ends. For now she's looking to manage increasing use of the Gateway and position it for further growth.
ON TYPES OF USERS
It's all over the board. We have on-staff engineers that are part of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Their typical customer is a small manufacturer such as a supplier to Newport News Shipbuilding.
We have entrepreneurs looking for assistance in setting up businesses. We have a Veteran's Business Outreach Center that works with people leaving the military who decided that instead of going to work for a government contractor they want to start their own business. We have a Women's Business Center. We also have a program called Launch Hampton Roads, a partnership we have with Opportunity Inc. Its purpose is to help unemployed or underemployed people to start their own business.
ON BREAKDOWN OF USERS
The types of industries we work with, it's really across the board. We work with a lot of manufacturers and a lot of government contractors. And those are the more established companies: They're still small, but it's not a one- or two-person company. We have programs that are more entrepreneurial in focus where there's big diversity in the types of companies.
Sometimes we work with a government contractor for six months. Sometimes we have one meeting to help get them certified. It's hard to say what percentage are contractors. A wild guess would be 30 percent. With manufacturers, I'd say around 20 percent. A project with manufacturers is a three- to six-month project. Our engineers are on the plant floors of these companies. They are much bigger projects than some of the other programs, which offer business counseling, help write a business plan or assistance in a market survey, versus actually working side-by-side with businesses. (More)
Written off early, college student is in the book now
(The Virginian-Pilot, Nov. 29, 2013)
Hiawatha Clemons III said his success overcoming life's obstacles come from his persistence, accountability and hard work.
His self-written story, titled "From Counted Out to Counted On," appeared recently in John Schlimm's "Stand Up!: 75 Young Activists Who Rock the World and How You Can, Too!"
According to the book's description, "each story showcases the most dynamic young men and women who share their extraordinary experiences in changing the world for the better." ...
Clemons graduated from Tidewater Community College in August 2012 with two associate degrees.
Emanuel Chestnut Jr., director of Military Student Support Services, was Clemons' faculty advisor when he attended TCC.
"At TCC, Mr. Clemons persevered and accomplished academically and personally despite the barriers he had to overcome. Through it all, he has grown to become the person he is today," Chestnut said.
Currently, Clemons is enrolled as a senior at Old Dominion University carrying a 3.9 GPA. He will graduate in May with a degree in Human Services.
Daniela Cigularova, associate director of student enrollment and success at ODU in Virginia Beach, thinks very highly of Clemons. "I am personally honored to be involved in supporting Hiawatha as he fulfills his dreams. His passion for and commitment to learning are contagious," she said. (More)
Taking steps to fight cancer in half-marathon
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 29, 2013)
They came in all sizes, shapes and colors to walk 13.1 miles for the American Cancer Society.
About 20 walkers lined up for the second Yeah Buddy Half-Marathon at Williams Farm Park on Nov. 16. Most are members of the Tidewater Striders walking division.
"It's a very giving group," said Bill Spruill, 79, "a great bunch of people who provide camaraderie, support and sympathy."
"It's the friendship more than the activity," added the retired federal judge, a three-time Boston Marathon veteran. ...
Special guests included local running icons Mel Williams, 75, a founding member of the Striders, and Dave McDonald, 56, its president in the 1980s.
Williams, a retired Old Dominion University professor, has run in the U.S. Marine Corps Marathon for the past 38 years.
"He's one of only four people to have run in all 38 Marine Corps Marathons," said Steve Durrant, 74, a retired Marine colonel. "We call them the Ground Pounders." (More)
World Economic Growth is Slowing
(American Thinker, Nov. 25, 2013)
When gas prices start declining at the pump, as they have this fall, that sometimes means that the world economy is slowing. When U.S. exports decline, as they did in September, that sometimes means that the world economy is slowing.
The latest indication of a slowing world economy comes from a November 19 report from the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), Europe's leading economic analytical agency that tracks world economic data. It predicts that, by the time growth is calculated for 2013, world economic growth will increase just 2.7%, down from a 3.1% increase last year. There appears to be a consistent trend of declining world economic growth:
2010 - 4.9% growth
2011 - 3.7% growth
2012 - 3.1% growth
2013 - 2.7% growth
The OECD made a rosy prediction for 3.6% world economic growth in 2014. But last year, at this time, they were predicting that world economic growth would rise to 3.4% in 2013, although it actually fell to about 2.7%. So why is world economic growth slowing? ...
The authors maintain a blog at www.idealtaxes.com and co-authored the 2008 book, Trading Away Our Future. Dr. Howard Richman teaches economics online. Dr. Raymond Richman is a professor emeritus at the U. of Pittsburgh and received his economics doctorate from the U. of Chicago. Dr. Jesse Richman is Associate Professor of Political Science at Old Dominion University. (More)
New NSU leader plans to trim part-time faculty
(The Virginian-Pilot, Nov. 28, 2013)
Norfolk State University's new president plans to cut part-time teachers and boost credentials among faculty - part of a wide-ranging effort to improve students' performance.
Eddie Moore Jr. took over in September after NSU's governing board fired the last president in a bid to turn around the struggling campus.
Even before that, the university had undertaken a host of measures to improve students' achievement, from closer monitoring of their progress to extra counselors, advisers and tutoring. The school's board also is considering raising the minimum high school grade point average required for admission.
NSU's graduation rate is the worst among Virginia's four-year public colleges; roughly 36 percent of students finish a bachelor's degree within six years.
Moore sees teachers as an important part of the solution, he said recently, and although the changes will be gradual, he is wasting no time getting started. He has directed NSU's provost to begin searches for new, highly qualified faculty to fill open positions. "We're beginning the process immediately," he said. ...
NSU has a higher proportion of full-time faculty than many Virginia colleges. Part-time adjuncts account for about a quarter of its roughly 400 professors.
At Old Dominion University, adjuncts make up 45 percent of teachers. At Virginia Commonwealth University and Christopher Newport University, about 35 percent are adjuncts. (More)
Virginia Foundation for the Humanities has spent four decades sharing what makes state great
(Charlottesville Daily Progress, Dec. 1, 2013)
Rob Vaughan, nursing a cup of morning coffee, recently looked through a window at an autumn-tinged lawn where wonderful things have occurred.
As the only president the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities has had in its nearly 40-year history, he has been instrumental in bringing these memorable things to pass in the grassy area outside his office. One day a year, the lawn serves as a stage on which the heart and soul of some of the most precious Virginia traditions are showcased. ...
VFH was an offshoot of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which was created in 1965. One of the first things the new organization did was explore possibilities and opportunities to create state programs that would involve citizens of individual states in the humanities, beyond what already was being done at colleges and universities. ...
The first thing that was done was to create a small grants program, which for the most part was what the other state humanities programs were doing. Grants, typically in the $5,000 to $15,000 range, were made to some community colleges and universities, but mostly to museums, public libraries, civic organizations and city and county governmental organizations.
An example is a grant given to the new Eastern Virginia Medical School and Old Dominion University to come together to talk about ethics and medicine. The conference and ensuing community discussions ultimately generated a small book on the subject. (More)
ODU wants a new stadium but must improve old one
(The Virginian-Pilot, November 27, 2013)
If all goes according to plan, Old Dominion's football team eventually will play in a new, 30,000-seat stadium with luxury suites, club seats and a view of the Elizabeth River.
But because ODU is likely to play at least three more seasons at Foreman Field as a member of Conference USA, the university will be required to spend more than $600,000 over the next nine months on temporary upgrades.
Foreman Field, which seats 20,118 and was built in 1936, has a substandard visitors' locker room that must be replaced before the Monarchs can host Football Bowl Subdivision teams. ODU must also create a television instant-replay booth for game officials, as well as a suite for the visiting school president and athletic director.
ODU recently asked construction firms to bid on a new visitors' locker room. Officials estimate it will cost $600,000, although the true cost won't be known until bids come in.
The design for the new locker room done by Moseley Architects envisions an annex along Bluestone Avenue behind the stadium's west side. The city of Norfolk has granted ODU an easement to allow the facility to extend a few feet onto city property. (More)
Finalists named for Waterworks Director slot
(The Daily Press, Nov. 25, 2013)
The Director of Engineering for Newport News is among the three finalists vying to become Director of Public Utilities, which runs Waterworks, a regional water provider owned and operated by the city that serves more than 400,000 people on the Virginia Peninsula.
Engineering Director Everett Skipper joins Kofi Boateng, of Florida, and Ken Griffen, of Mississipi as finalists for the job. All are registered Professional Engineers. The new director will replace Brian Ramaley, who retired in June. Assistant Director Scott Dewhirst has been acting director since Ramaley's retirement.
City Manager Jim Bourey said in a press release that the three were chosen from a field of candidates and were going through a series of interviews Monday.
Bourey said he expects to announce the new director within two weeks.
Skipper has spent nine years with the city's engineering department. According to the release, he has 25 years of experience specializing in the design, analysis, construction, and delivery of water, wastewater, and storm water projects. Skipper earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Old Dominion University. (More)
Lauren Compton investigates how to stop the cycle of cyberbullying
(WAVY-TV, November 25, 2013)
Dylan Wittkower, assistant professor of philosophy at Old Dominion University and an expert in social media was interviewed for this feature on cyberbullying by WAVY-TV. (More)
Homes in Hampton Roads selling much more quickly
(Inside Business, Nov. 21, 2013)
In September, homes in Hampton Roads sold at an almost 20 percent faster rate than in the same period last year, figures show.
According to Zillow, the real estate tracking service, the typical Hampton Roads home sold in September 2013 spent a median of 95 days on the market, down from 118 days in September 2012.
Virginia Beach leads the pack when it comes to getting a "for sale" sign changed to "sold." Homes on the market spent a median of 90 days unsold. ...
The data shows that what was once a buyer's market is now swinging back to one that belongs to the seller, and reflects the optimism that economist and former president of Old Dominion University James Koch expressed in his annual State of the Region report, released last month.
"After a very difficult half-decade characterized by falling sales and prices, a surge in foreclosures, and many underwater homeowners, it is now fair to say that residential housing markets in Hampton Roads are on the mend," the report said. "While some significant economic challenges remain, both sales and prices are up, foreclosures are down and the proportion for underwater homeowners who owe more on their home than it is worth has declined." (More)