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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Board of Visitors Adopts Strategic Plan, Names President’s Residence

At their Dec. 4 meeting, the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors unanimously adopted a newly finalized 2014-2019 strategic plan, as well as a resolution to name the President's Residence as The Jacobson House, among other business.

ODU's Strategic Plan, which was more than a year in the making, covers an array of operational elements such as enrollment management, curriculum, quality of University life, athletics, economic development, facilities and the campus master plan.

The document also outlines specific University goals and how they will be achieved. Those goals include:

  • Enhance our academic and research excellence
  • Support student success from first point of contact through graduation and beyond
  • Enrich the quality of University life
  • Engage in the greater community through intellectual, social, and cultural activity
  • Build a culture of entrepreneurism and economic development

During the Board of Visitors discussion, University Rector Ronald C. Ripley noted that the document is "a great roadmap going forward."

To learn more about the Strategic Plan, including the development process, visit the Strategic Planning & Initiatives website.

The Board also voted to name the President's residence as The Jacobson House in honor of Marc and Connie Jacobson, who have been generous supporters of the University and leaders on numerous local, state and national boards for professional associations, arts, colleges and universities, education and healthcare. Marc Jacobson is also a former Board of Visitors member and University Rector.

The naming resolution stated that the Jacobson's philanthropy includes "numerous generous contributions to the University including setting up an endowment for the Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Lecture Series, various endowed academic and athletic scholarships, endowed programs and overwhelming support to countless community organizations."

During his report to the Board, Chief Operating Officer David Harnage highlighted regional and national awards given to campus construction projects. The awards included:

  • American School and University Magazine Architecture Portfolio Citation: RRMM Architects entered the Engineering Systems Building in the competition's Post-secondary Building category where it was awarded a Category Citation (reserved for top projects) and Outstanding Design Citation.
  • Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate (HRACRE): Three ODU projects were nominated for an Excellence in Design award. The projects were the Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Building addition, the Engineering Systems Building and the Barry Arts Building. In this competition, Old Dominion's buildings all received Awards of Merit. The University also had the most buildings entered in the competition and was the only recipient of awards for each of its entries.

In other business, Ellen Neufeldt, vice president for student engagement and enrollment services, and ODU Police Chief Rhonda Harris updated the Student Enhancement and Engagement Committee on sexual assault prevention and response measures as well as ongoing efforts to enhance security for the on- and off-campus community.

Neufeldt reiterated President John R. Broderick's position that ODU has "zero tolerance" for sexual assault and dating violence and that there are many regulations in place that govern how the University responds to incidents of this type.

"We as a campus are very committed to prevention and response," she said, adding: "Our students have been leaders in this effort."

Neufeldt highlighted initiatives that included educational and resource materials that have been distributed to all ODU students, including distance learners and requirement that all freshmen attend an educational program on the topic.

The next steps will be to "focus on student organizations to make sure we are fostering a culture in our organizations that they understand where we stand at ODU and the things they can do to be safe at their social events," Neufeldt said. "We take this very seriously."

Associate University Counsel Jay Wright noted that ODU is "ahead of the game" in adopting policies that reflect changes made to the federal Violence Against Women Act.

"We don't have as far to go as other universities," he said. "I think we're on the forefront."

Chief Harris told the panel that crime data related to the University has been trending down, including decreases in robberies and burglaries. She said incident numbers were down as a result of new security efforts and collaboration with Norfolk Police.

At the same time, Harris said there has been an increase in reports of sexual assaults and dating violence that she attributed to University educational efforts that have spurred victims to come forward.

"I anticipate that we will continue to see an upward trend as education increases," she said, adding that this helps put strategies in place at residence halls to address the issue.

To learn more about the University's security initiatives, including the LiveSafe app, visit the Living Safely website.

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