Following nearly a decade-long tenure, Vice President for Research Morris Foster, Ph.D., is stepping down and returning to the classroom following a sabbatical leave. 

Reflecting on his service, Dr. Foster said, “It has been an honor to lead Old Dominion University’s research enterprise. I am grateful to my dedicated colleagues, including our world-class researchers and research partners, who have made our recent advancements possible. I also appreciate the support of President Hemphill and collaboration with campus stakeholders. I look forward to my continued work at the University.”

Headshot of Dr. Kenneth Fridley
Ken Fridley

With Dr. Foster’s transition, President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., announced that Batten College of Engineering and Technology Dean Ken Fridley, Ph.D., will also serve as the Interim Vice President for Research for the 2023-2024 academic year. Dr. Fridley has extensive experience in academic and research administration. Before joining ODU a year ago, Dr. Fridley served as the Senior Associate Dean for Administration at the University of Alabama’s College of Engineering for eight years. He also was the Interim Dean of the Honors College for one year and head of the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering for 12 years. In these roles and during his 20-year tenure at the University of Alabama, he built a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and readiness for change, in addition to his longstanding history of grant activity. Since becoming a Monarch, he has been a visionary leader and active partner both inside and outside of his college.

From a scholarly and research perspective, Dr. Fridley is considered a leading expert in engineered wood construction, performance and hazard mitigation. He has published 65 refereed journal papers and co-authored the leading wood engineering design textbook, “Design of Wood Structures.” Dr. Fridley has been responsible for more than $14.4 million in sponsored research, which is supported by a wide variety of federal, state and industry sources. Much of his research has directly impacted the civil engineering profession, resulting in changes in national design specifications, standards and codes.

Gregory Cutter
Gregory Cutter

In being selected for this interim position, Dr. Fridley shared, “I am thankful to President Hemphill for entrusting me with this important role. I pledge to continue providing strong leadership to the Batten College of Engineering and Technology, while also engaging broadly and thoughtfully in all aspects of our research operation, outreach and oversight.”

In addition to Dr. Fridley’s appointment, the University has identified a top-level researcher and long-serving faculty member to oversee compliance related to research efforts. Professor and Eminent Scholar Gregory Cutter, Ph.D., in the College of Sciences’ Department of Ocean and Earth Sciences, will serve in the role of Interim Assistant Vice President for Research Compliance.

In a message to campus sharing these administrative updates, President Hemphill said, “Please join me in sharing our collective appreciation to Drs. Fridley and Cutter for their willingness to serve in these critical and expanded roles with the continued work and robust support of the Office of Research team, in partnership with the Old Dominion University Research Foundation staff. With their leadership and the growing impact of our dedicated researchers, Old Dominion’s research enterprise will continue to advance in lasting and profound ways, both near and far, for many years to come!”