[ skip to content ]

President's Corner: May 2016

The school year has ended and Old Dominion University recently awarded degrees to a record 3,100 graduates. Our remaining students are not all taking a vacation from classes this summer. We expect that almost 12,000 - nearly half of our student body - will enroll in at least one summer course on campus or online.

Others will be taking classes across the globe, from China to Morocco, as part of our robust Study Abroad program, which will prepare them for the multicultural workplace and global economy. Research shows that the experience also increases the odds that students will graduate on time and find a job quickly.

I want to share some examples of what our faculty and students have been up to this year to illustrate the range and rigor of our Study Abroad program.

Among this summer's courses: "The Hogwarts Experience," in which Alicia DeFonzo, a lecturer in the English department, explores the "Harry Potter" novels - and themes such as racism and animal welfare - in their British setting. (It might sound like fun, but if you saw the syllabus, you'd know that Professor DeFonzo is far more demanding than Professor Dumbledore.)

During spring break, Annette Finley-Croswhite, a professor of history, took students to France and Poland, where they visited the Drancy internment camp and the Auschwitz concentration camp to gain a deeper understanding of the Holocaust. At the same time, Kimberly Adams Tufts, an assistant dean in the College of Health Sciences, and Karen Karlowicz, chair of the nursing department, brought students to England, where they studied the differences - and commonalities - between the U.S. and British health care systems.

Joseph Pulisic, who just graduated with a double degree in criminal justice and Spanish, took time away from football practice last summer to attend our six-credit, four-week Spanish Language and Cuban Culture program in Havana. The program, which occurs every summer, brought home to Joseph the similarities between Americans and Cubans, despite the significant differences in their governments. "They love the same sports teams, the same music," he says. "They have the same ambitions."

We even offer international opportunities before students begin their freshman year.

In the First-Year Experience, incoming students this summer will earn seven credits in a two-week program in Greece, where they will immerse themselves in art history, architecture and geology at such sites as the Lavrion silver mines and Pentelikon marble quarries. Robert Wojtowicz, an art historian who will be the dean of our new Graduate School, has co-directed the Greece program. He reports a growth in maturity and self-assurance among many participants.

Our Study Abroad coordinators work hard to erase any misconceptions among students. No, fluency in a foreign language is not a requirement. Neither is a big bank account. (The university provides scholarships to more than 60 percent of participating students.) Old Dominion offers more than 900 for-credit options in more than 50 countries, enough for every major and any time span - from a week to a school year. Nearly all of the programs include sessions with students before and after their travel to reinforce their education.

We're also strengthening our international dimensions on campus.

Old Dominion's students benefit from interacting with more than 1,000 peers from about 100 foreign countries and from ever-increasing opportunities inside and outside the classroom. Just this month, three students in our international business program began doing research to help a handful of local companies increase exports in a program hosted by ODU's Center for Enterprise Innovation.

To successfully enter the work world, our students first need to experience the real world. We're ensuring that happens.

Site Navigation

Presidential Inauguration

ODU commemorated the inauguration of President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., during Homecoming Weekend 2022. Relive the historic weekend.

Fall Open House

It's time to fall in love with ODU! Join us for our last Open House event of the semester on Saturday, November 19.

Commencement 2022

Visit the Commencement Office for information on event times, caps & gowns, tickets and more!