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ODU Renews Agreement with Joint Forces Staff College

By Betsy Hnath

Old Dominion University has updated its agreement with Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC), continuing a nearly 20-year partnership.

Austin Agho, provost and vice president for academic affairs at ODU, and Rear Admiral Jeffrey Ruth, JFSC Commandant, signed the agreement. It was last formalized in 2009.

ODU offers academic credit to the JFSC military and civilian staff for their experience and gives contractual support for JFSC's Senior Fellows program - which allows retired senior military and civilian leader engagement opportunities with JFSC.

JFSC provides ODU students with graduate research assistantships, internships and modeling and simulation opportunities.

Paul Olsen, director of programs and partnerships at the Old Dominion University Office of Research said the agreement demonstrates the school's "dedication to help train the Joint Force."

Olsen also said ODU's "world-class ROTC programs will ensure" JFSC is supplied with "quality officers for years to come."

Daniel McCauley, associate dean of academics for JFSC, said a number of ODU graduates work as JFSC faculty and staff members. He said several Old Dominion students are enrolled in the JFSC doctoral programs.

McCauley is encouraged to see the agreement continue.

"Over the past 15 years, JFSC and ODU have partnered in multiple ways," McCauley said. "ODU students role-play key international and non-governmental organization positions alongside JFSC military students to problem-solve."

In addition to an academic relationship, the institutions share planning resources.

Recently the University Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) hosted the JFSC "Purple Lightning" exercise, which simulates humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

According to Joshua Behr, research associate professor at VMASC, it was a perfect example of collaboration.

"The event was a precise demonstration of this growing cooperation between the two institutions," Behr said. "This was a true joint exercise."

JFSC and ODU began their affiliation in 2001 when the American Council of Education verified JFSC curriculum to be at the graduate level.

Old Dominion University has a longstanding relationship with the military community. Approximately 25 percent of ODU's students are military-affiliated.

"When more than one Department of Defense service works cooperatively, we classify them as 'Joint Forces,'" Olsen said. "Old Dominion University has served as an academic accelerator for our Joint Forces since the turn of the last century."

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