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

ODU Board of Visitors: Online Virginia Network Partnership to Aid Degree Completion, Boost State Economy

By Jon Cawley

The Old Dominion University Board of Visitors on June 8 received a briefing about the Online Virginia Network, a partnership between the University and George Mason University to help Virginians with uncompleted coursework finish their degrees.

At its summer meeting, the board was also formally informed of three recent board appointments and one reappointment, as well as the University's newly hired vice president for administration and finance.

The Online Virginia Network (onlinevirginia.net) is a state-supported initiative aimed at Virginians who earned college credits but did not receive their degrees. The network brings a selection of Old Dominion and George Mason online programs to one web portal, allowing busy adult learners to find and enroll in high-quality, high-demand degree programs and finish their bachelor's degrees online.

"This is a remarkable opportunity to grow our online network and help Virginians attain a college degree," President John R. Broderick told the board.

Ellen Neufeldt, vice president for student engagement and enrollment services, emphasized that the University has been a leader in online learning in the Commonwealth for decades.

"It's a natural part of our strength going forward," she said. "We keep on evolving in online learning. We are always looking for the next frontier."

To underscore the need for the Online Virginia Network, Neufeldt cited Virginia statistics that show 29 percent of students who started college in 2007 are no longer working toward a degree. Additionally, about 1.1 million people in the Commonwealth are without degrees, she said, predicting that the network will be an economic driver for the state.

Ronald Ripley, a former University rector and Board of Visitors member, was unanimously appointed by the board to represent the University, along with President Broderick, on the Online Virginia Network's organizational committee.

More information on the Online Virginia Network can be found on the ODU News website.

The new members of the board, appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, are Jerri Fuller Dickseski, executive vice president of communications for Huntington Ingalls Industries; Maurice D. Slaughter, chairman and CEO of MS Family Enterprises Inc., and Aubrey L. Layne Jr., Virginia's secretary of transportation. Ross Mugler, commissioner of the revenue for the City of Hampton and a former University rector, was reappointed for a second term.

The three new members replace Mary Maniscalco-Theberge, Richard T. Cheng and Robert M. Tata, all of whom were appointed in 2013. However, Layne will begin his service on the board in January, after he leaves his position as state secretary of transportation, and Tata will remain on the board until then.

More information on the board appointments can be found on the ODU News website.

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