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The Darden College of Education Name Changed to Include Professional Studies

By Betsy Hnath

At last year's State of the Darden College of Education address, Dean Jane Bray unveiled a new flagship building.

Bray introduced something else at this year's address - a new name: the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies.

"The Board of Visitors and the president recognized that we have expanded our offerings," Bray said. "It was important to have a name that reflects what makes us so strong."

University President John R. Broderick praised Bray's efforts before about 200 people gathered to celebrate the academic college's new name.

"If you're not energized by Jane Bray and what she does, I don't know what we can do to raise somebody's pulse," Broderick said. "She's as high-energy and as enthusiastic as any dean we've ever had on this campus."

Broderick also spoke to the complexities involved with finding the right name to reflect a merger of disciplines. That, he said, "can be far more difficult than the blending of the institutions and the cultures themselves."

The college houses six departments: teaching and learning, communication disorders and special education, counseling and human services, educational foundations and leadership, human movement sciences and STEM education and professional studies.

"We had a challenge here. The School of Education isn't necessarily what we are today," Broderick said. "The preparation of educators, teachers, principals and school counselors has changed over the years to encompass 13 undergraduate programs, more than 60 graduate programs and 11 professional certificates. Fifty percent of those are in a discipline other than education."

Old Dominion's education program dates back to the school's founding as a two-year school by William & Mary in 1930.

A renamed Old Dominion College began offering bachelor's degrees, including in elementary education, in 1953. Old Dominion formally established its School of Education in 1963.

Old Dominion became a University when it began offering master's degrees, such as elementary education, in 1964.

In 1968, the Board of Visitors voted to rename the school the Darden School of Education after former Virginia Gov. Colgate Darden, who held the office from 1942 to 1946.

The name changed again in 1986, when the school became the Darden College of Education.

The Darden College of Education and Professional Studies now leads the University in grants. Last year, the college was responsible for $9.7 million in federal, state and private research funded projects, according to Bray.

"Communication disorders and special education is No. 1 on this campus for grant expenditures," Bray said. "Old Dominion University is focused on research, and the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies is a powerhouse."

Broderick agreed.

"You're an easy group to support," he said. "You're an easy group to get excited about because of all the great things you do."

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