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Engineering Systems Building Dedication Highlights a Busy Year for Batten College

Oktay Baysal, dean of Old Dominion University's Frank Batten College of Engineering, spoke of an exciting school year ahead in his annual State of the College address, a year that will include the dedication of the brand-new Engineering Systems Building on campus.

Baysal said the 55,500-foot building is the most modern on-campus engineering complex in the state, one that emphasizes collaboration and learning by doing, stressing the modern engineering education paradigm.

But while a component of the 2014 address featured discussion about the new building, Baysal said the foundation and principles of ODU engineering will be the same as they have since the School of Engineering was founded on campus more than 50 years ago.

"Our mission statement is to advance engineering knowledge by providing successful graduates for the Hampton Roads economy and beyond, continuously improving the learning environment, and maintaining high ethical, multicultural and global standards," Baysal told a packed audience in Kaufman Hall.

Baysal said ODU Engineering is stressing the university's new five-year strategic plan in its goals for the upcoming school year and beyond, including enhancing the school's academic profile and research, supporting student success, enriching the quality of university life, engaging with the greater community and creating an entrepreneurial culture on campus.

The Engineering Systems Building, with its open-concept "collaboratories," modern research laboratories and four student project studios will assist greatly in helping ODU Engineering reach these goals.

"When you go into the building, you notice that the offices are smaller. They are smaller for a reason. We want our faculty and student clubs out in the large collaboratories, sharing ideas and innovating," Baysal said.

Collaborations exist outside of campus as well, Baysal noted, mentioning ODU's invitation to join the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, the creation of an engineering program with The Apprentice School in Newport News and other initiatives.

"Our faculty research is in demand across the region and beyond. These partnerships showcase the groundbreaking research our faculty does on a daily basis," Baysal said.

Baysal spoke of the refocusing of institutes of research within the Batten College, including creation of new areas of research such as the Naval Engineering and Marine Systems Institute, Plasma Engineering and Medicine Institute, Virginia Institute for Vision Analysis, Virginia Institute for Photovoltaics and the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing.

"These institutes encourage collaboration across the university, and demonstrate the diverse research reach of ODU engineering," Baysal said.

Growth in the college endowment, student enrollment, female engineering enrollment, research expenditures and degrees conferred suggest the Batten College is moving the right direction. Baysal said it's important to keep up the momentum.

"We want to continue to be recognized as a world-class institution of learning by providing the highest quality academics that foster student development and connect knowledge, practice and scholarly research, and provide innovative programs that will significantly contribute to the prosperity of the region, and humanity," Baysal said.

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