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

Students from U.S. Fleet Forces Receive ODU Leadership Certificates

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Ceremonies like the one held July 6 in Webb Center are the reason why Old Dominion University created its College of Continuing Education and Professional Development.

Seated at tables around a large conference room were 21 civilian and military personnel from U.S. Fleet Forces Command. They represented the first cohort of students to complete the graduate certificate program in Public Sector Leadership offered by Old Dominion, through the college.

Founding Dean James M. Shaeffer told the audience that the University created the College of Continuing Education and Professional Development in September 2013 to respond to workforce training and certification needs of the local military and business communities.

"This is a prime example of what we can, and should be doing," Shaeffer said, about the Public Sector Leadership program. "We went out to Fleet Forces and said, 'What do you need?'"

In tandem with the military operation, Old Dominion created a four-course graduate certificate, which provides leadership training and expertise in areas such as communication, procurement and cybersecurity.

"This program is an example of what we would hope to do, not only with the military, but with our friends in the business community as well," Shaeffer said.

Old Dominion President John R. Broderick thanked Fleet Forces Command for sending some of its top employees to the Public Sector Leadership certificate program. "Hopefully this is the beginning of an ongoing partnership. It is part of our goal to become much more of a partner with the business community and the military," he said.

In fact, the second cohort of the Public Sector Leadership program will begin in September, with 15 to 20 students from Fleet Forces already committed to participate. Students representing other federal agencies, state and local governments and nonprofit organizations will also take part in the program. Its courses are also available to full-time Old Dominion University students.

Mark Honecker, executive director and chief of staff with U.S. Fleet Forces Command, who played a key role in the creation of the Public Sector Leadership graduate certificate program was proud that the first cohort, "started with 21, and finished with 21."

Honecker told graduates of the program that while they learned valuable skills from Old Dominion University faculty in their intensive, 10-month program, they gained just as much through relationships with their classmates and instructors.

"You have been given new tools, and you can go back to your positions at Fleet Forces and make a difference," Honecker said. "The relationships you have formed from this experience will help you deliver results."

In the Public Sector Leadership graduate certificate program, students take one course at a time on an accelerated cycle, four hours per week for 10 weeks. The courses include Social Change and Communication Systems, Introduction to Public Procurement, Topics in Cybersecurity and Public Budgeting and Financial Management.

Available in online or face-to-face settings, the sequence of courses provides comprehensive knowledge of the tools necessary to become a public sector leader.

With the increasingly challenging environments for government and nonprofit organization, the certificate program seeks to help candidates in leadership roles manage economic uncertainty, rapid social change and technological innovation.

The College of Continuing Education and Professional Development offers lifelong learners an opportunity to achieve their professional and personal goals through a variety of University credit and professional certification programs.

For more information, visit the College of Continuing Education and Professional Development website.

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