Special Collections of the ODU Libraries

Albert I. Godden Papers, 1949-1972, undated | Special Collections and University Archives

By Sonia Yaco

Collection Overview

Title: Albert I. Godden Papers, 1949-1972, undated

ID: 23/RG 23-2B1

Primary Creator: Godden, Albert I.

Extent: 0.4 Linear Feet. More info below.


Series Descriptions

Series I: Technical Institute. Contains material related to the creation, functioning, promotion and expansion of the Institute including plans for an Armory, correspondence of Godden, Director Edgar Kovner and other staff, reports, certificates and plans. Dated from 1953 to 1968, the material is arranged alphabetically.

Series II: Division of Continuing Education. Consists of work related to the functioning of the Division of Continuing Education from 1965 to 1973. Includes faculty directories, correspondence, memoranda, procedures and reports. Material is arranged alphabetically.

Series III: Scrapbook. Dated 1949 to 1960, documents Godden’s career at ODU beginning with  a Junior Technical Course article and letter from Lewis Webb and ending with a letter of recommendation from Harold Hawn, head of Opera Workshop and producer-coordinator of the college's television station for Godden’s excellent work. Other materials in the scrapbook are Opera Workshop and Concert Series programs including Chocolate Solider, Die Fledermaus, and The Old Maid and The Thief. Newspaper clippings highlight the Technical Institute. The template Godden made for Old Dominion Silver Anniversary is included. Material has been kept in the original order of the scrapbook.

Date Acquired: 08/15/1974

Subjects: College of William and Mary. Norfolk Division, College of William and Mary. Norfolk Division--Technical Institute, Distance education, Old Dominion College--Technical Institute, Old Dominion University, Old Dominion University--Faculty, Old Dominion University--Office of Continuing Education, Segregation in education--Virginia--History--20th century, Vocational education

Languages: English


This collection, dated 1949 to 1973, documents Professor Godden's role in the evolution of technical education and the Technical Institute at Old Dominion University. Material included is newspapers clippings, photographs, correspondence, reports, floor plans, certificates, calendars, and a scrapbook.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The contents of this collection range from 1949 to 1973. This collection documents technical education at Old Dominion University and Albert Godden’s academic career. Material included is correspondence, reports, floor plans, newspaper clippings, photographs, certificates, calendars, and a scrapbook. Of interest is material that documents the evolution of reactions to African American and African applicants. The folder, "Correspondence, 'Colored Applicants,' 1953-1962" contains internal memos and rejection letters that direct these applicants to instead apply to African American colleges. However in 1964, a student from Nigeria was offered a course listing and a list of other non-race specific colleges (in "Correspondence, 1964").

Collection Historical Note

Albert I. Godden received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees at Oswego State Teachers College, of the State University of New York.  According to an interview in 1976 by James Sweeney, Godden’s educational philosophy integrated the Sheldon Theory of Education. This theory inspired his work toward a practical usage of knowledge, as opposed to symbolic knowledge, as the motivator for students to learn. Godden worked with the Technical Institute at the College of William and Mary Norfolk Division.  In 1941, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) expanded at the Norfolk Division, now Old Dominion University, creating the Technical Institute in 1945.  The Navy and VPI cooperated to service the region’s need for technicians, especially in the aircraft fields.  Other courses offered were automotive crafts, drawing and drafting, electricity and circuitry, machine crafts, mathematics, photography, radio and electronics, and refrigeration and surveying. These were two year programs with the exception of electronics which was a three year program. The courses taken in the Institute were non credit and the graduates would receive a trade certificate or diploma.

In 1949, Godden wrote an article about the Junior Technical Course of the Norfolk Public Schools, where high school students would gain a vocational diploma. The success of the Junior Technical Course, because of Godden’s involvement, impressed Lewis Webb, Director of the Norfolk Division. Webb hired him to expand the Junior Technical Course’s technical courses under the auspices of the Norfolk Division. He worked with Webb in expanding the Junior Technical Course and the day and evening classes of the Technical Institute. Godden was a math, science, and drafting instructor of the Engineering School and assisted in expanding the Evening College, which after 1948, became an important part of the Institute. He then became the supervisor of the non-credit Vocational Division.

Godden and the Institute were driven to give educational public service to the region through media technology. From 1952 to 1958, Godden was the Art Director for the Signpost, a television program broadcasted on WTAR four times a week discussing educational, civic, and technical topics. He also worked with the Evening College’s Opera Workshop as stage and property manager between 1954 and 1960. The Institute's print shop served the entire college. In 1956, B.C. Dickerson (first director of the Institute) and Lee Klinefelter (second director of the Institute) launched the Technical Institute’s radio station WMTI, the first radio station of its kind in Norfolk.

Godden was promoted to Assistant Director of the Technical Institute in 1959 by Klinefelter and served under Ed Kovner. Godden helped establish the new building for the Institute in 1958. As Assistant Director, he helped the Institute grow by promoting education to the Navy and local technical and industrial companies. Godden also acted as an employment officer for graduates, arranged financial aid whenever possible, and raised awareness of the GI Bill. Throughout Godden’s career, he wrote articles for the expansion of a community college by stating the importance of vocational training for Norfolk and adjacent communities.

In the early 1960s, the Norfolk Division needed to add libraries, facilities, and personnel to gain accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Godden had assisted other schools with accreditation. He helped create models and maps to expand the campus and recruit faculty leading the way to the college’s independence from William and Mary. The creation of Old Dominion College in 1962 brought about a reorganization of the school into five academic schools and two new divisions: the Division of Continuing Education and the Community College Division.

In 1964, Kovner became the Dean of the Community College Division, and Godden was promoted to Director of the Technical Institute. When the Institute ended in 1967, its courses were absorbed into the School of Engineering. The Division of Technology became the Division of General Studies in 1970.

After the end of the Technical Institute, Godden worked under the Division of Continuing Education as Director of Extension and Public Services in 1968. Extension services included off campus courses, continuing education to professionals, and to serve the Navy in their educational goals. Under his direction, the Evening College, off campus, and summer courses expanded.  In 1969, the college became Old Dominion University and the infrastructure of the Division of Continuing Education and Division of General Studies changed. The School of General Studies supervised the Evening College and Interdisciplinary Studies. The Division of Continuing Studies would supervise off campus credit, professional programs, and other extension services.  He was also an Associate Professor during the1970, 1972 and 1973 academic years. Godden remained Director of Extension Services until 1974. The Division of Continuing Education then became The School of Continuing Studies where he would become Director of Off Campus Credit Programs. Off campuses locations were: Chesapeake at Indian River High School, Hampton at the Vocational Technical Center and Langley, Newport News, Norfolk at the Naval Operating Base and Botanical Gardens, Portsmouth at Woodrow Wilson High School, Suffolk, Virginia Beach at First Colonial High School and NAS Oceana Dam Neck, and Richmond’s Vocational Technical Center. In 1981, The School of Continuing Studies combined with the Division of General Studies to become the School of General and Continual Studies in which Godden was the Director. The responsibilities included off campus credit courses, interdisciplinary studies, and industrial programs. The Industrial Programs was also part of a two year program in the School of Engineering. From 1982 until 1984, Godden was the Director of Operations of General and Continuing Studies. He retired in 1984 from the University with tenure in the School of Engineering. After 1985, the Continuing Studies Division would decimate and the Division of General Studies would include academic advising, the Center for Major Exploration, and professional programs.

Subject/Index Terms

College of William and Mary. Norfolk Division
College of William and Mary. Norfolk Division--Technical Institute
Distance education
Old Dominion College--Technical Institute
Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University--Faculty
Old Dominion University--Office of Continuing Education
Segregation in education--Virginia--History--20th century
Vocational education

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives

Alternate Extent Statement: 1 Hollinger document case

Access Restrictions: Open to researchers without restrictions.

Use Restrictions: Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Acquisition Source: Albert I. Godden

Acquisition Method: Gift.

Related Materials: Oral Histories in Perry Library: Albert I. Godden

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Box [insert number], Folder [insert number and title], Albert I. Godden Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Old Dominion University Libraries.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Technical Institute, 1953-1968, undated],
[Series II: Division of Continuing Education, 1968-1972, undated],
[Series III: Scrapbook, 1949-1960, undated],

Series III: Scrapbook, 1949-1960, undated
Box 1
Folder 24: Scrapbook. Page 1: The Junior Technical Course, 1949
Folder 25: Scrapbook. Page 2: Opera Workshop and Concert Series Programs, 1954-1960
Folder 26: Scrapbook. Page 5: Salary Scale for Technical Institute, undated
Folder 27: Scrapbook. Page 8: 25th Anniversary Sign Design, 1955
Folder 28: Scrapbook. Page 9: Signpost Television Program, undated
Folder 29: Scrapbook. Page 10: Letter of Recommendation, 1956

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Technical Institute, 1953-1968, undated],
[Series II: Division of Continuing Education, 1968-1972, undated],
[Series III: Scrapbook, 1949-1960, undated],

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