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COTA programs attract diverse, international audience

By Catherine Doss

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 15 - December 11, 1997

Three recent programs sponsored by Virginia Tech's Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement (COTA) attracted diverse and in one instance, international, audiences. The programs were organized by COTA fellows and were held at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center.
George Morgan's Wireless Opportunities Workshops (WOW), held in October, drew 40 participants on each day of the two-day event. The highlight of the event was a keynote address by Mark Warner, who emphasized the role that technology will play in making Virginia the preferred location for companies in the information age. Warner was presented with the Wireless Entrepreneur of the Year in Virginia award.
Workshop topics included financing of technology companies, the demand for satellite imagery from geographic-information systems, business-and-technology opportunities from the perspective of law-enforcement and wireless providers, and updates on the personal communications revolution and the international regulatory environment.
In addition, Virginia Tech faculty members ran a mock FCC-style network auction that provided first-hand experience in a tumultuous spectrum auction atmosphere.
Morgan hopes to offer in-depth one-day workshops on several of the WOW topics in the spring.
A second COTA program, Personal Finance Employee Education (PFEE), was held in early November and was organized by Tom Garman. The program was an opportunity for employers and distinguished faculty members to share their knowledge and experience in personal-finance programs and to exhibit model-employee information and education programs.
"Personal-financial wellness increases employee productivity," Garman said. "In the future, leading-edge employers will compete to attract and retain the very best employees by offering top-quality, comprehensive personal-finance employee-education programs." Such programs help employees make informed decisions about employer-sponsored retirements plans, cafeteria-style employee benefits, credit and money management, and consumer rights.
A second PFEE conference will be held May 13-14, 1998.
Finally, a third COTA program on Music in Human Adaptation brought together participants from diverse backgrounds and nationalities and generated overwhelming enthusiasm for an interdisciplinary approach to studying music's role in various human processes. Organized by Dan Schneck, the conference was co-sponsored by the International Arts-Medicine Association and the Connecticut Music Therapy Alliance. Attendees included physicians, engineers, musicologists, physiologists, music therapists, performers, clinicians, physicists, teachers, and biochemists.
The conference was the first of its kinds and included scientific-paper sessions, clinical workshops, concerts, and panel discussions.
"The ability to communicate across disciplinary lines was stimulating and encouraging," Schneck said. "The mood throughout the conference was upbeat and exciting, and the experiences were almost transcendental."
Proceedings from the conference have been published in a textbook. For more information, contact Schneck at extension 1-5626.
Future COTA programs will include Production Management for Specialty Contractors (February 1998); Performance Measurement using Accounting information (March 1998); Fundamentals and Recent Developments in Water Treatment (March 1998); Taxation of Technology Industries (April 1998); Third Annual Multi-Specialty Ultrasound Conference (April 1998); Recent Developments in Food Chemistry methods (April 1998); Elements of Electrical Contracting Management (May 1998); Learning On-Line '98: Building a Virtual University (June 1998); Nitrification/Denitrification of Wastewater (September 1998). For more information, contact Greg Boardman, COTA faculty director, at 1-6020, or e-mail: gboard@vt.edu.