Old Dominion University will create a School of Supply Chain, Logistics, and Maritime Operations, reflecting its commitment to serving as a worldwide leader in maritime studies.
At its June meeting, the University's Board of Visitors approved a resolution to create the school effective Oct. 15. The University will next seek approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
The school will create a central academic home to coordinate programming on supply chain, logistics and maritime topics that have been studied across the University's colleges and through its Office of Research. Supply chain management and maritime operations are inherently interdisciplinary, and recent supply chain challenges have shown logistics professionals need wide-ranging subject matter expertise to address challenges affecting the global economy. Students trained in supply chain, logistics and maritime operations can find experiential and professional opportunities in thinktanks, businesses, health agencies and nonprofits.
The addition of the school will build on the University's legacy of maritime-focused initiatives, including the International Maritime, Ports and Logistics Institute created more than 30 years ago in the Strome College of Business. Earlier this year, ODU was ranked by the Asia-Pacific Journal of Operational Research as the top U.S. university in maritime management research.
The school will support the work of the Maritime Consortium, approved by President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., in November 2021 to better facilitate coordination of the University's efforts. The consortium aims to promote and expand ODU's maritime-related resources, and support the workforce and research needs of several industries - naval and defense, shipbuilding and repair, commercial shipping, port and maritime supply chains, offshore wind and more.
Through the development of the consortium and the school, ODU can provide leading-edge data analytics, digital transformation, operational and innovation resources, training and research.
"ODU has a demonstrated history of leadership and collaboration in maritime, and we've heard from our industry partners that we can do more," President Hemphill said. "With the development of the Maritime Consortium and now, the School of Supply Chain, Logistics, and Maritime Operations, the University is poised to be a global leader promoting economic development, encouraging innovative research and building the workforce of the future."
In November, the Hampton Roads Maritime Collaborative for Growth & Innovation (HRMC) released "A Pathway for Maritime Innovation in Hampton Roads," a report prepared by TEConomy Partners that identified opportunities to leverage and expand the region's innovation and workforce support for industry partners. The recommendations included building a sustainable home and brand for maritime innovation in Hampton Roads.
"ODU has been instrumental in laying a foundation for supply chain, logistics and maritime research and collaboration, recognizing that the Commonwealth of Virginia has untapped opportunities for economic development," said Wayne Coleman, chairman and owner of CV International, Inc. (CVI) | Capes Shipping Agencies. "With the addition of this school, the University will help Hampton Roads enhance its worldwide reputation as a hub for innovation in a broad spectrum of industries all tied to our greatest asset - water."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the demand for workers trained in logistics is projected to increase by 30% from 2020 to 2030. With its proximity to the Port of Virginia, military bases and shipyards, ODU is a key partner in workforce development for the region.
"Coordinating our academic and research initiatives through the new school will put ODU in a stronger position to develop a skilled supply chain and maritime workforce while strengthening our collaborations with industry and military partners throughout Hampton Roads," said Austin Agho, ODU's provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Through this school, ODU can meet the critical needs of our community."
The school would bring together faculty from across the University's academic colleges to build interdisciplinary programs, including but not limited to such disciplines as business analytics, coastal engineering, oceanography, engineering management, systems engineering, information technology, political science, geography, history, management, sociology, data science, cybersecurity and marketing.
"With the effects of bottlenecks felt around the world, the pandemic has shown how our maritime and supply chain industries are interconnected," said Brian Payne, vice provost for academic affairs. "Students enrolled in ODU's School of Supply Chain, Logistics, and Maritime Operations will learn about issues that have far-reaching impacts and will graduate prepared to anticipate challenges and introduce solutions."
The School of Supply Chain, Logistics, and Maritime Operations will address the growing demand for a skilled logistics workforce by offering maritime and supply chain degrees and just-in-time learning applications through shorter certificate programs. Offerings from ODU will include the current Master of Science degree in Maritime Trade and Supply Chain Management, and new bachelor's degree programs will be developed. The school will also foster meaningful relationships with industry and military partners to conduct joint research and build workforce development initiatives promoting economic development in Hampton Roads and throughout Virginia.