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Albert I. Godden Papers

Collection ID: RG 23-2B1

Scope and Contents

This collection documents Old Dominion University professor Albert I. Godden’s academic career as part of the Technical Institute. Included in the collection are correspondence, reports, floor plans, newspaper clippings, photographs, certificates, calendars, and a scrapbook.


  • 1949-1972, undated
  • Other: Date acquired: 08/15/1974



0.40 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

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.

Biographical or Historical Information

Albert I. Godden received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees at Oswego State Teachers College, of the State University of New York.  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. 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 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 the 1970, 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. 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.

Language of Materials



This collection documents Old Dominion University professor Albert I. Godden's role in the evolution of technical education and the Technical Institute at Old Dominion University. Material included are newspapers clippings, photographs, correspondence, reports, floor plans, certificates, calendars, and a scrapbook.

Arrangement Note

The collection is organized into three series: Series I: Technical Institute; Series II: Division of Continuing Education; and Series III: Scrapbook.

Source of Acquisition

Albert I. Godden

Method of Acquisition


Related Materials

Oral Histories in Perry Library: Albert I. Godden

Processing Information

The collection was processed and finding aid created by Sonia Yaco, Special Collections Librarian, in 2010.

A Guide to the Albert I. Godden Papers
Sonia Yaco
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the ODU University Archives Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US