Dear Faculty and Staff:

As many of us recently returned following an enjoyable and relaxing Spring Break, our entire campus is anxiously preparing for the upcoming completion of another successful academic year. This year has been extraordinary for me as I have taken additional opportunities to reflect on the powerful mission of Old Dominion University and our hard work to advance this great institution and our deserving students. I have also reflected on my professional career in higher education, which started 35 years ago as an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois-Springfield, formerly Sangamon State University. It was my love for teaching and learning that led me to embark on a rewarding role as a faculty member and subsequently hold increasingly elevated roles within academic administration. With dedicated service at a total of five different institutions, I can say with certainty that the cornerstone of my professional career has been serving as your Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs over the course of the past eight years.

My time at Old Dominion University has been filled with many individual accomplishments and shared successes. The following is just a sampling of our individual and collective efforts over the past eight years, which have showcased the collegial spirit and true resilience of our campus community. It has been a rewarding journey to say the least!


  • The Center for Faculty Development and the Office of Faculty Diversity and Retention were established to enhance faculty development and better facilitate the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty.

  • We received a 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation from Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) with no findings.

  • The inaugural Provost’s Spotlight provided a platform to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of our distinguished faculty.

  • Methodologies were developed for utilization in capturing instructional faculty revenue production, research productivity, and instructional cost; analyzing cost and revenue generated by adjunct faculty; identifying high-performing degree programs; and prioritizing requests for faculty and staff positions.

  • Through close collaboration with key stakeholders, we secured the Carnegie Foundation’s 2020 Community Engagement classification, thereby reflecting our long-standing commitment to spotlighting community partners, building community assets, and addressing community challenges.

  • And, in late 2021, our university joined an elite group of the nation’s top performing institutions with the prestigious Research 1, or R1, designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

  • We secured the National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Adaptation Grant titled "Re-envisioning Inclusive and Sustainable Excellence (RISE): Advancing Women in STEM,” to enhance the University’s efforts to address the underrepresentation of women in science and engineering faculty positions at ODU.

  • In partnership with Faculty Senate, we revised tenure and promotion policies to ensure transparency and equity, thereby resulting in the first female full professors in the Department of Biology and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

  • We developed and implemented the Purchased Released Time Incentive Program (PRTIP) to enhance the quantity and quality of research and creative activity by incentivizing faculty to seek and obtain external funding from a variety of sources.

  • At the Virginia Beach Higher Education Center, the School of Nursing offerings were expanded, and the Center for Telehealth Education and Research and the Center for Simulation and Standardized Patient Training were established.

  • Building on the University’s unwavering commitment to student success, the Career Advantage Program (CAP) was expanded to provide opportunities for undergraduate students to incorporate Leadership, ePorfolio, Academic Internship, Diversity, Entrepreneurship, and Service Learning (LeADERS) into degree programs.

  • We established new schools in emerging areas, such as cybersecurity and data science, as well as supply chain, logistics, and maritime operations.

  • We developed, launched, and implemented a new strategic plan, while also pursuing the Eastern Virginia Medical School integration.


After Thanksgiving Break, which included a great deal of time with my loving family, I approached President Hemphill to discuss my future. At that time, he encouraged me to thoughtfully consider my plans before making a final determination. Over the holiday and semester breaks, I did just that, while surrounded by family. It was clear that the time is now to step away from the complex role as the University’s chief academic officer. My last day in this demanding, but fulfilling position will be June 30, 2024.

I am profoundly grateful for President Hemphill’s unwavering support regarding my personal decision and have every confidence in his visionary leadership for this University. Due to my strong support of President Hemphill and at his request in anticipation of Dr. Alicia Monroe’s forthcoming departure following the conclusion of her temporary appointment, I have committed to remain at the University to lead our post-integration work with Eastern Virginia Medical School. While retirement is certainly in the near future, this opportunity will provide a great transition period.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the many outstanding individuals and true professionals, who have provided significant support to me, both personally and professionally, during my tenure at Old Dominion University. I extend my heartfelt appreciation to President Hemphill for his friendship and support; my close colleagues on the President’s Cabinet for their teamwork; and my leadership team, including deans, vice provosts, and associate vice president, for their diligence and wisdom. I also extend my lasting gratitude to the world-class faculty and dedicated staff in Academic Affairs and throughout campus, who have shared their talent and time with their fellow Monarchs.

Old Dominion University is a special place with incredible people, who are both focused and driven in making a significant difference and lasting impact on our campus and our community. As I reflect on the last eight years, it can be defined by hard work and noteworthy progress with an even brighter future on the horizon. And, as I think back on the nearly 39,000 Monarchs, who have received degrees during my tenure, I am filled with immense pride. More than anything else, I am honored to be a proud Monarch and thankful for the meaningful experiences and life-changing moments!



Austin O. Agho, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Old Dominion University