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Gail Dodge Appointed Dean of ODU's College of Sciences

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Gail Dodge, a faculty member in Old Dominion's Department of Physics since 1995, has been appointed dean of the University's College of Sciences, effective May 25.

Austin O. Agho, provost and vice president for academic affairs, announced the appointment in a letter on Thursday, March 2. Agho wrote he is "delighted" to inform the campus community of the appointment of a new dean who is, "valued by her colleagues not only for her intellect, but her pragmatic approach to problem-solving."

Agho added, "Dodge's national and international stature as a researcher and her longstanding commitment to the success of ODU's faculty and students makes her uniquely qualified to lead the college."

Agho said he strongly supported the decision because of Dodge's national and international stature as a researcher, and her longstanding commitment to the success of ODU's faculty and students.

Dodge replaces Chris Platsoucas, who has been dean of the College of Sciences since 2007.

Dodge, who has strong affiliations with the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News (Jefferson Lab), served as chair of the Department of Physics from 2005 to 2011, establishing the Center for Accelerator Science.

In 2015, she was honored with the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for Higher Education for Virginia, given to faculty who exemplify the highest standards of teaching, research and service.

She was the recipient of the Gene. W. Hirschfeld Faculty Excellence Award from ODU in 2012 and the Francis Slack Award from the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society in 2013.

Dodge has worked hard to improve the learning and working environment for women in physics, both at Old Dominion and more widely. She has been active in efforts to improve the teaching of introductory physics courses and was one of the co-founders of the Physics Learning Center, where students can drop in for tutoring help.

With the announcement, five of Old Dominion University's seven academic colleges presently have permanent, interim or incoming deans who are female.

From 2012 to 2014, Dodge served a two-year term as a visiting scientist and program manager at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia. There she was responsible for the $17 million experimental nuclear physics program, including coordination with the Office of Nuclear Physics at the Department of Energy. Prior to working at NSF she served as a member of the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee, which advises DOE and NSF on priorities for nuclear science funding in the United States.

Dodge is principal investigator or co-PI of more than $13 million in grants and contracts throughout her career, co-author on 135 refereed papers with more than 8,000 citations. She established an NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program, focusing on nuclear and accelerator physics in partnership with Jefferson Lab, which is now in its 10th year.

Dodge holds a Ph.D. and MS in Physics from Stanford University and a BA in Physics from Princeton University. Her research is in experimental nuclear physics, which she studies by scattering high energy beams of electrons on proton and deuteron targets at Jefferson Lab. The goal of these experiments is to understand the quark and gluon structure of the protons and neutrons that make up the atomic nucleus. Dodge has focused on understanding the intrinsic angular momentum (known as "spin") and excited states of the neutron.

In his letter, Agho thanked the search committee which selected Dodge for the dean's chair, a committee which included Dean Bray of the Darden College of Education; Charles Sukenik, professor and chair of physics; Nikos Chrisochoides, professor of computer science; Dayle Daines, associate professor of biological sciences; Norou Diawara, associate professor of mathematics and statistics; Debra Major, professor of psychology; Guijun Wang, professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Richard Zimmerman, professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences; Holly Szumila-Vance, Ph.D. student in physics; Lee Entsminger, a member of the College of Sciences Advisory Board; and Rick Waters, budget manager with the College of Sciences.

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