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President's Corner: Fish, Li Receive State Faculty Awards

We received a welcome piece of news before winter break last month. Two Old Dominion University faculty members - Jennifer Fish and Ling Li - will receive the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia's Outstanding Faculty Awards for 2021.

Five other Old Dominion professors have received this award - the highest honor in Virginia for faculty at institutions of higher education - in the past five years. In all, 35 of our faculty members have been recognized with this award since 1991, the second-highest total among Virginia colleges and universities.

Drs. Fish and Li - who are chairs, respectively, of the Departments of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Information Technology and Decision Sciences - are deserving recipients. They exemplify the breadth and diversity of our academic offerings and represent Old Dominion's deep commitment to its students and the larger community, as well as our pursuit of innovation.

Dr. Fish's work centers on marginalized women and migrant domestic workers. She is, in the words of Kent Sandstrom, the dean of our College of Arts and Letters, "an intellectual trailblazer who is creative, engaging and theoretically astute."

Dr. Fish has written or co-written four books, including, most recently, "Domestic Workers of the World Unite!: A Global Movement for Dignity and Human Rights." She has consulted with several institutions, including the International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency, and the International Domestic Workers Federation.

She is both an academic and an advocate for human rights and social justice, and she employs multiple media, having produced four documentaries set in countries including South Africa, Nepal and Switzerland. She has empowered and energized students in service-learning projects with refugees in Newport News and rural residents of Rwanda. "One thing I know," one of the students who worked in Newport News said, "is that the refugees have taught me more than I could ever teach them."

Dr. Li has published three books and more than 125 journal articles focusing on supply chain management and health care management. She has received more than $4 million in research funding from such institutions as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Rockefeller Foundation.

She helped build our undergraduate and graduate programs in maritime and supply chain management and has served as president of the ODU Asian Caucus and a member of the President's Task Force on Inclusive Excellence.

Dr. Li has won the designations of University Professor and Eminent Scholar at ODU and received many more honors, including the University's Champion of Diversity Award and A. Rufus Tonelson Faculty Award, the Strome Business College's Outstanding Teaching, Research and Service Awards, and the Provost's Award for Leadership in International Education. A student called her "a phenomenal professor and role model" whose "breadth of knowledge is unparalleled. As a female within the business sector, I was so impressed upon meeting Dr. Li as she resembled much of what I aspire to be."

Please join me in congratulating Drs. Fish and Li. Old Dominion and their students are fortunate to have them. They will receive their awards during a virtual ceremony on March 2.

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