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Old Dominion UniversityThemed Semester

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Naga 2015 Oil on Canvas Photo Courtesy of Joan Thorne

What is Themed Semester?

Themed Semester is a multi-disciplinary campus initiative that aims to encourage discovery, growth, and engagement in today's national and global conversations.

Launched in Fall 2021, Themed Semester at ODU combines academic courses, public lectures and exhibits, film showings and other events to engage students and the entire community in a collective learning experience about a timely, relevant issue. Every academic college and campus unit is invited to participate.

Announcing the Theme for Themed Semester 2022


The theme for Fall 2022 is Sustainability.

In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." It centers on the principle that our basic needs for survival and well-being depend upon our natural environment, and it's important to have a holistic understanding of the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in harmony to support present and future generations.

Sustainable practices support not only environmental health but also economic health and social health.

  • Environmental Sustainability refers to practices that help preserve our natural resources and global ecosystems.
  • Social Sustainability refers to practices that are inclusive and help build and maintain resilient societies where all have a voice.
  • Economic Sustainability refers to practices that support long-term economic growth without negatively impacting communities.

There are many examples of institutions that are engaging in and researching sustainable practices - sustainable nursing, sustainable art, sustainable fashion, coastal sustainability. Sustainability is interdisciplinary and engages the community; it's about taking action.


Proposal Submissions


The Office of Academic Affairs encourages faculty and faculty administrators to 1) review existing courses and/or 2) propose new courses for opportunities to integrate the Themed Semester 2022 theme.

Mini-grant funding is available for the development of courses and course activities that engage students (undergraduate and/or graduate) through the chosen theme, Sustainability. Preference will be given to proposals that relate to sustainability efforts locally/regionally and that have tangible outcomes visible to the ODU community and beyond.

Submission of proposals is now closed. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements.