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A Student-Ready College

Designing a Student-Ready College

The Lumina Foundation has committed $725,000 to six public four-year colleges and universities in the commonwealth, the Virginia Community College System and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Old Dominion University was specifically awarded $105,000 to increase the enrollment and graduation of Black and LatinX students.

As part of the grant, Old Dominion created eleven "design thinking" teams, six made up of students and five of faculty members. Each is focusing on a specific issue or barrier with the goal of increasing the enrollment and retention of underrepresented students.




Student Adobe Spark Pages

In spring 2021, a cohort of students participating in the INNOVATE Monarchs program engaged in a design-thinking process in support of ODU's efforts to 'Design a University Ready for African American and Latinx Learners.' Student participants were asked to reflect on their program experiences via an ePortfolio. Below, you will find some of the students' reflections.

Students on Zoom

Innovate Monarchs Faculty Lumina Pitch Event


Faculty Team Prototype Sites

Re-Imagining Major Exploration: The Monarch Nation Plan: https://sites.google.com/odu.edu/the-monarch-nation-plan/home

Re-Imagining Experiential Learning: Faculty XL Certificate + Learning Community: https://sites.google.com/odu.edu/xlteam/home

Re-Imagining Math Success: RE-Imagine the Math & Science Resource Center: https://sites.google.com/odu.edu/re-imagine-the-msrc/home

Re-Imagining Academic Warning & Mentoring: The Umbrella Project: https://sites.google.com/odu.edu/the-umbrella-project-innovate/home


Monday Meet Ups Highlights

In Spring 2021, the entire campus community was brought together to discuss the ideas in Tia McNair's book, Becoming a Student Ready College. Students, facutly, and staff from across the institution shared ideas and participated in these conversations.

View recordings of all Monday Meet Ups at the links below.


March 15

John Broderick, President

Austin Agho, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Alonzo Brandon, Vice President for University Advancement

Morris Foster, Vice President for Research

September Sanderlin, Vice President for Human Resources

Wood Selig, Director of Athletics

Don Stansberry, Vice President for Student Engagement & Enrollment Services

March 22

Nina Brown, Professor & Eminent Scholar, Counseling & Human Services

Andy Casiello, Associate Vice President, Distance Learning

Roderick Graham, Associate Professor, Sociology & Criminal Justice (Panel Chair)

Alice Jones, Associate Director, Student & Alumni Programs

La Wanza Lett-Brewington, Director, Women's Center

Jeff Tanner, Dean & Professor of Marketing, Strome College of Business

March 29

Sherman Barnslater, Aramark

Daniela Cigularova, Executive Director, Center for Advising Administration & Academic Partnerships

Sherry Davis, Executive Assistant, President's Office

Christopher Fleming, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment & Executive Director of Admissions (Panel Chair)

David Kozoyed, Executive Director, Information Technology Services

Bridget Weikel, Associate Dean of Students, Housing and Residence Life



April 5

Tammi Dice, Dean, Darden College of Education and Professional Studies

Jonathan Leib, Dean, College of Arts & Letters

Renee Olander, Associate Vice President, Regional Higher Education Centers

Tisha Paredes, Assistant Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness & Assessment (Panel Chair)

Bonnie Van Lunen, Dean, College of Health Sciences

April 12

Krista Brant, Undergraduate Student

Lesa Clark, Executive Director, Office of Intercultural Relations (Panel Chair)

Bridget Groble, Undergraduate Student

Tess Hardesty, Undergraduate Student

Ivan Santiago, Undergraduate Student

Marquita Snow, Undergraduate Student

April 19

Diondre Brown, M.S.Ed. Educational Leadership

Heidi Fischer, Ph.D. Education-Higher Education

Saige Hill, Ph.D. Public Administration and Policy

Xavier-Lewis Palmer, Ph.D. Engineering-Biomedical Engineering

Ebony Pender, M.A. Applied Sociology

Robert Wojtowicz, Vice Provost & Dean of the Graduate School (Panel Chair)



April 26

Vicki Bonner, Associate Dean of Students & Enrollment Services, Student Engagement & Enrollment Services

Stuart Frazer, Interim University Librarian, University Libraries

Rafael Landaeta, Associate Dean, Batten College of Engineering & Technology

Lisa Mayes, Executive Director, Center for High Impact Practices

Tomeka Wilcher, Educational Program Developer, Center for Faculty Development (Panel Chair)

May 3

Royce Burnett, Associate Professor and Chair, School of Accountancy

Kate Hawkins, Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs & Strategic Initiatives (Panel Chair)

Gordon Melrose, Associate Professor & Department Chair, Mathematics & Statistics

Avi Santo, Associate Professor & Department Chair, Communication & Theatre Arts

May 10

Carin Barber, SEES Project Manager, Student Engagement & Enrollment Services (Panel Chair)

Gail Dodge, Dean, College of Sciences

Melva Grant, Associate Professor, Teaching & Learning, Darden College of Education & Professional Studies

Myles Nixon, Undergraduate Student

Ben Stuart, Dean, Batten College of Engineering & Technology

Rusty Waterfield, Associate Vice President, University Services & Chief Information Officer


May 17

Ren-Neasha Blake, Ph.D. Public Administration and Policy

Mike Brady, Assistant Vice President, Facilities Management and Construction

Jane H. Dane', Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, Student Engagement & Enrollment Services

Karen Sanzo, Professor, Educational Foundations & Leadership, Darden College of Education & Professional Studies (Panel Chair)

Phil Walzer, Monarch Magazine & University Editor, Strategic Communication & Marketing


Faculty Resources


In Spring 2021, Old Dominion University invited Tia McNair, author of Becoming a Student-Ready College, to share her insight and wisdom regarding what it means to be a "student-ready college." Rather than focusing on student preparedness, or lack thereof, McNair explores what institutions can do to become "student-ready." In the weeks following her session, ODU engaged in a campus-wide, weekly discussion series inviting students, faculty, administrators, and staff to serve as panelists exploring the concepts in McNair's book.

In the modules on the right, we explore the ways in which all on campus, especially faculty, can work towards becoming a student-ready campus.

Becoming a Study-Ready College (online modules)
Becoming a Study-Ready College (Reflective guide)

Austin Agho, leadership council co-chair Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Don Stansberry, leadership council co-chair Interim Vice President, Student Engagement and Enrollment Services

Vickie Bonner, Associate Dean of Students

Lesa Clark, Executive Director, Office of Intercultural Relations

Maria Doran, Degree Completion Advisor; President, ODU Hispanic and Latin Employees

Rafael Landaeta, Associate Dean, Engineering & Technology

Ivan Santiago, Student Government Association

Alice Jones, Acting Director, Career Development Services

Lisa Mayes, project coordinator, Executive Director, Academic Success Initiatives and Support

Brian Payne, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Nina Gonser, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs

Karen Sanzo, Design Thinking Director, Professor of Education Leadership

Melvina Sumter, Director, African American Studies

Monica Taylor, Faculty & Communication Liaison, Office of Educational Accessibility

Denise Thillet, Director, Student Outreach and Support Services

Johnny Young, Associate Vice President, Student Engagement and Enrollment Services

Danielle Carter, President of Student Government Association

Marissa Jimenez, Director of Academic Resources, Academic Success Initiatives and Support

Tomeka Wilcher, Educational Program Developer, Center for Faculty Development

Felicia Commodore, Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations & Leadership

Roderick Graham, Associate Professor, Sociology & Criminal Justice



Did You Know?

Old Dominion enrolls nearly 7,000 African American students - more than any other public four-year university in Virginia.

Education Trust listed the University among the 15 best schools in the country in terms of African American success.

Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranked Old Dominion 14th in the nation in the number of African American students who graduate each year.

May 2021 Goals

A culturally sensitive training video teaching students of color how to develop an electronic portfolio

A cultural awareness training program

Implementation of up to five policies to improve success for learners of color

Ten case studies showing how design thinking was used to address problems African American and Latinx students face

25 electronic portfolios highlighting the work of the students as it relates to this project

Host a National Social Mobility Symposium focused on African American and Latinx learners

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