Journal of Higher Learning for Todayâ€™s Servicemember
2012 ESO of the Year Brian D.E. Streichert Education Services Officer Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie
Volume 8, Issue 4
Perception of Online Degrees O Social Media O Total College Success Online Course Design O Cybersecurity Careers O Academic Resource Centers
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MILITARY ADVANCED EDUCATION Features
May 2013 Volume 8, Issue 4
Cover / Q&A
Careers & Transitions
Beating Hackers at Their Own Game
Online Degrees: The Hiring Perspective
For some veterans, making the transition to a civilian role will be facilitated by the fact that they are familiar with federal cybersecurity initiatives. By Maura McCarthy
How marketable does a degree from a respected distance learning program make a student? MAE interviewed HR representatives from several different companies to find out. By Laural Hobbes
Academic Resources for the Veteran Student Many universities have established academic resource centers to help students succeed in their studies. Some schools have designed specialty resource centers with veterans in mind. By Kelly Fodel
Enhancing DoD Distance Learning with Professional Social Media The U.S. Army Command & General Staff College’s Department of Distance Education, located at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., delivers an advanced operational curriculum to midcareer Army officers through distance learning technologies by leveraging social media platforms. By Lee Lacy
Departments 2 Editor’s Perspective 3 PROGRAM NOTES/people 14 CLASS NOTES 26 CCME GRAPVINE 27 RESOURCE CENTER
Total College Success and the College Options Foundation The College Options Foundation is a notfor-profit organization dedicated to encouraging the academic success of high school students— and it provides special services to JROTC students and military dependents. By Terry Wilfong
Designing an Online Course What makes an online course particularly compelling and effective to a servicemember or veteran student? MAE asked online course design experts to divulge their design methods.
University Corner Jeremy N. Glasstetter Director LTC Bryant A. Murray’s Veterans Center Excelsior College
Brian D.E. Streichert Education Services Officer Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie
“Education is necessary in today’s complex style of warfare and homeland security. We need intelligent, well-read, welleducated personnel to continue keeping America at its best …” - Brian D.E. Streichert
Military Advanced Education Volume 8, Issue 4 May 2013
Journal of Higher Learning for Today’s Servicemember Editorial Editor Laural Hobbes firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor Harrison Donnelly email@example.com Online Editorial Manager Laura Davis firstname.lastname@example.org Copy Editor Sean Carmichael email@example.com Correspondents J.B. Bissell • Kelly Fodel • Michael Frigand Maura McCarthy • Ramsey Sulayman
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EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE In April, news broke that a disappointing change will be enacted to the transferability of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which has financed the education of many family members of veterans who have served in the Army. Effective on August 1 of this summer, if a soldier decides to transfer his or her Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a spouse or child, s/he must serve for an additional four years. According to Lieutenant Colonel Mark Viney, chief of the Enlisted Professional Development Branch, Army G-1, the policy was drafted in 2009, the same year in which transferring the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to family members first became an option. Military families make many sacrifices in order to support the soldier’s career, so I believe that the option to transfer education benefits to a family member is a Laural C. Hobbes Editor much deserved benefit. The impending enforcement of this caveat to transferability is unfortunate. On a more positive note, in late April, First Lady Michelle Obama declared that the amount of companies participating in Joining Forces, the program that was launched in April 2011 to help veterans and their spouses find work, had nearly tripled the original goal set. “I applaud the first lady and Dr. Biden’s leadership in challenging U.S. businesses to employ America’s veterans and military spouses,” said Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in a written statement. “Their announcement that businesses have hired or trained 290,000 veterans and military spouses over the past 20 months—nearly tripling the goal—demonstrates that American companies can benefit greatly from the highly-skilled and hard-working members of our military [families]. “I welcome the commitment of businesses to hire or train an additional 435,000 individuals over the next five years, and am committed to ensuring that our servicemembers transitioning to civilian life and our military spouses have the support they richly deserve when it comes to finding a job, pursuing an education or starting a business.” In addition to this milestone, Obama announced the IT Training and Certification Partnership, an initiative made up of public and private entities that will offer programs to servicemembers so they can earn IT certifications before transitioning out of the military to the civilian sector. Among the participating companies are Cisco Systems, Microsoft Corporation, Oracle, CompTIA, NetApp, HP, Futures Inc., Global Knowledge, Gogo Training, SANS Institute and Global Information Assurance Certification. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you have about this month’s issue of MAE.
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U.S. Departments of Education and Labor Announce Availability of $474.5 Million to Strengthen Training Partnerships Between Community Colleges and Employers In mid-April, the U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, announced the availability of $474.5 million to create and expand innovative partnerships between community colleges and businesses to educate and train workers with the skills employers need. This is the third round of funding since 2009 under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program, for a total of nearly $1.5 billion. “Equipping our nation’s students with the skills they need is one of the best investments we can make to keep our economy growing,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “This third round of funding will build on the work of earlier grantees by strengthening partnerships between institutions and employers so students develop the skills and attain the credentials they need for jobs in high-need fields now and in the future.” Acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris announced the new funding at an event with Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter at Contra Costa College training facility in Richmond, Calif. The college is part of the “Design-It Build-It Ship-It” consortium of 10 community colleges in San Francisco’s East Bay area that was awarded $15 million in the second round of TAACCCT grants to support regional partnerships, build career pathways and enhance industry engagement in the advanced manufacturing, logistics and engineering industries. “Building a well-educated workforce is critical to achieve President Obama’s mission to grow the economy from the middle class out,” said Harris. “This new round of funding will expand our capacity to provide world-class job skills to thousands of workers around the country in occupations we know are growing now and will continue to grow in the future.” Contra Costa Community College received $600,000 as part of the consortia grant to serve as the regional lead for Advanced Automotive
Technologies and to develop new degree programs and accelerated certificates in partnership with Richmond Workforce Investment Board and the San Pablo Economic Development Corporation. Institutions or consortiums that are interested in applying for funding can visit www.grants.gov for more information on this grant program. Administered by the Department of Labor in close collaboration with the Department of Education, the TAACCCT program is one component of President Obama’s plan to help every American have at least one year of post-secondary education and for America to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. This latest round of funding will invest in innovative and evidence-based training models that include strong partnerships with local employers and employer organizations, including sector-based strategies. Strong partnerships and work-based training will help ensure that curricula and training are aligned with the practical skills and competencies industries seek from workers. Funds will also encourage community colleges to better track data on the employment and earnings of students after they graduate as a tool to improve their programming and to create employment results scorecards that will help prospective students choose between training programs. Finally, models funded this year will use advanced online and technologybased job training tools. Course materials developed with this funding will be available publicly through the Open Educational Resources initiative to users to modify, update and build on instructional content. Additionally, all grantees will be required to evaluate their programs to build knowledge on what strategies are most effective in helping students gain skills and succeed in the workplace.
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relations to assistant vice president for university relations at Regis University.
academic vice president at Drew University.
Corning Community College has appointed Tricia Barber as the newest counselor in the college’s advising and counseling services department. Barber will also serve as the coordinator of veteran services. Pat Sullivan has been promoted from associate director of university
Jeremy Glasstetter Pamela Gunter-Smith
York College of Pennsylvania has selected Pamela GunterSmith to be the fourth president of the college. Gunter-Smith was previously provost and
Jeremy Glasstetter will now lead Excelsior College’s Lt. Col. Bryant A. Murray Veterans’ Center, an online array of services, to meet the needs of former members of America’s armed forces. Glasstetter,
an Army veteran of both Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom, served previously as a military and veterans program advisor for Baker College. Marie Cini, Ph.D., has been named provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Maryland University College. David Petraeus, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has been named a visiting professor at Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York.
MAE 8.4 | 3
Careers & Transitions
The field of cybersecurity offers desirable civilian skills to transitioning veterans. By Maura McCarthy MAE Correspondent
in the military will be highly desirable in the civilian job market and The VA estimates that within the next five years, approximately defense-related industries,” said Shawn Murray, Ph.D., 1 million servicemembers will separate from the of Colorado Technical University (CTU). An Air Force military. While some will retire from the workforce, veteran, Murray has taught for CTU Online for five others will be on the hunt for a civilian career, which years and is currently working with Northrop Grummeans they may return to school to gain the diploma man on a contract for Army Cyber Command. or credentials needed for success. With our nation’s More than having the tangible skills needed, youngest veterans struggling to find work—the avermilitary members are used to and comfortable with age unemployment rate among Iraq and Afghanistan operating in a results-oriented, high-consequence veterans between the ages of 18-24 was 20 percent in environment. Not everyone can function in a 2012, more than five percentage points higher than pressure cooker environment, but after more than a the average among non-veterans the same age— decade of war, there is a surprisingly high number of choosing a field with strong employment prospects is Ken Crockett people who can. And they do more than survive; they of the utmost importance. For separating firstname.lastname@example.org actually thrive. bers or active duty looking to advance, cybersecurity “The federal cybersecurity mission area is an could be just that field. environment where an incorrect response or failure to ensure a carefully analyzed response can have drastic Skills Ease the Transition consequences to our nation. This level of complexity requires a workforce that is intelligent, trained and Veterans and active duty members are a particudisciplined to do what is directed and only that which larly good fit for the cybersecurity field for a number is authorized,” emphasized Capitol College’s Ken of reasons, many of which are related to their military Crockett, director, Critical Infrastructures and Cyber service. For some, making the transition to a civilian Protection Center, and Professor Charlie Cayot, a U.S. role will be facilitated by the fact that they are familiar Army veteran and former signals officer. “Since memwith federal cybersecurity initiatives. The military bers of our armed forces are accustomed to this reqworks closely with the Department of Defense and Charlie Cayot uisite level discipline, and typically have been awarded National Security Agency (NSA), so “the expertise email@example.com security clearances, military personnel are desirable gained in working in this field will be invaluable to members of the federal cybersecurity workforce.” the military for many years to come. [Also] the skills learned while 4 | MAE 8.4
In addition to possessing the hard skills and practical experience in the field, veterans may consider cybersecurity because it’s a field that retains the idea of a mission to the country. Veterans “may find cybersecurity attractive in that it is a natural extension of their service to our country, especially if they had served in any of the related fields during their military tenure … Now that the lines of the battlefield have moved into the cyber realm, servicemembers realize that the terrain has changed, but the importance of winning is more important than ever,” explained Kimberly Perez, professor of information technology at Tidewater Community College (TCC). Making the move from the military to cyber is not just a good fit for employees, as there are logistical benefits for employers as well. Most veterans already possess security clearances, which “will speed the transition and make them easier and cheaper to re-clear. Many employers and contractors favor such persons significantly in hiring,” added Robert Guess from TCC.
Hitting the Books
information systems and then finally put all of the above together in a capstone course on enterprise risk management,” Guess said. CTU offers degrees in information assurance and security (BSIAS), computer/information/digital systems security (BSIT-S, MSIT-SM, MSM-ISS, MSCS-CSS, DCS-DSS) and information assurance (DCSIA). Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the NSA have certified the university’s curriculum for five CNSS standards: 4011, 4012, 4013, 4014 and 4016. Fordham University’s department of computer and information science offers courses in network and information security, cyber forensics and penetration testing. Their latest offering is the International Cybersecurity Academy, which is “a two-day boot camp for leading cybersecurity professionals, both current and aspiring. Fordham provides elite handson training from subject matter experts in government, academia and the private sector on the cutting-edge tools, techniques and protocols used in cybersecurity,” said Anthony J. Ferrante and D. Frank Hsu from Fordham’s department of computer and information sciences, who both specialize in cybersecurity.
Capitol College launched the country’s first Master of Science in Adapting Academics network security in 2001, and students may choose from a number of information assurance degree programs, from a Bachelor of SciThe nature of cybersecurity is such that it is constantly changing. ence, Master of Science, doctor of science, to professional training New threats and hacking techniques require cybersecurity profesopportunities such as the CNSS (Committee on National Security sionals—and those who train them—to dominate the cutting edge of Systems) National IA Training Standards, as well as CISSP exam prepinformation. TCC formed an Information Technology Advisory Comaration. Coursework includes forensics, malicious software identificamittee made up of local employers and faculty who are charged with tion, vulnerability mitigation strategies, mobile computing threats, ensuring that TCC offers courses that fulfill the educational needs of cryptography and network security, and the majority of courses are the community. “As new technologies emerge, we are able to contact available online. advisory members to determine if these areas will be marketable and University of Fairfax (UoF) is the only accredited graduate university then modify our curriculum to reflect these trends,” Perez explained. in the nation exclusively dedicated to cybersecurity, and awards only Additionally, in 2005 Capitol College established the Critical Inframasters and doctorates in cybersecurity. Online graduate degree and structures and Cyber Protection Center to fill the gap of the workcertification programs include a doctorate in information assurance; force needs where formal degree-bearing programs are not desired or doctor of science in information assurance; M.S. in information security where the academic prerequisites are not needed. management; graduate certificates; NSA 4011 and 4012 certifications; Schools need to make sure students are prepared to enter CISSP preparation; and Certified Ethical Hacking Preparation. Of the the cybersecurity profession, but what about students who may university’s success, Chris Feudo, Ph.D., president of the university, not already have the academic or professional foundation but are noted, “The University of Fairfax has prepared over 7,000 professionmotivated to pursue a career in the industry? To meet the needs of als for the CISSP exam. UoF offers thorough and convenient online this cohort of students, UoF recently launched a partnership with … CISSP graduate certificate program and CISSP Exam preparation. the American National University, whose programs were developed We have a 98 percent success rate.” with UoF. These programs “will ultimately provide At TCC, students can pursue a career studies cerstudents an educational cybersecurity pathway from tificate in network security, which is “designed to prodiplomas and certificates through the doctoral level. vide students with the skills to recognize and prevent Their Associate of Science in cybersecurity will prethreats to information and information systems and to pare students for entry-level careers as computer master techniques for defense against such threats,” infrastructure and networks security administrators, Perez said. Students cover topics like security modas well as several related professional certifications,” els, intrusion detection, incident handling, firewalls, Feudo said. perimeter protection and network security law issues As interest grows, so too will programs. “Fordin the coursework. Students also “install and utilize ham’s program has rapidly accelerated from a core security software to carry out security assessments group of interested students to entire courses and Chris Feudo and testing, to implement preventive controls like fireindustry-leading initiatives dedicated to pragmatic firstname.lastname@example.org walls, to implement detective controls like intrusion education, research and hands-on training. Initiatives detection systems … and to respond to and investigate security inciinclude the International Conference on Cybersecurity, the Internadents,” Guess added. Knowing the technicalities in a vacuum is insuftional Cybersecurity Academy, and the Fordham Cybersecurity and ficient, though. “Students study the law as it affects the operation of Intelligence Group,” said Ferrante and Hsu. www.MAE-kmi.com
MAE 8.4 | 5
Careers & Transitions National Recognition In a field that is intimately tied to the federal government in terms of supporting national security, being recognized by leading agencies lends credibility and respect that can buttress both a school’s reputation and a student’s resume. DHS and NSA have recognized 145 schools as Centers of Academic Excellence; among them are CTU and Capitol College. Additionally, the National Security Agency has authorized the University of Fairfax to award the CNSS National Standard 4011 and 4012 certifications.
A Demand Like No Other Employees across the government are bracing for furloughs and cuts, and the military is downsizing regardless of sequestration. It is estimated that the Marine Corps will reduce its active duty endstrength from 202,100 to 182,100 by the end of 2016, and the Army from 562,000 to 490,000 by fiscal year 2020. The opposite is true in the cybersecurity realm. The Pentagon recently announced that it would expand the joint U.S. Cyber Command from 900 to several thousand employees. According to General William Shelton, chief of the Air Force Space Command, approximately 80 percent of these billets will be for servicemembers and 20 percent for civilians. Competition is fierce, but military members are uniquely suited to step up and fill the capabilities gap. The irony is that while the threat level and demand is high, the supply of qualified professionals is low. “Attacks continue to increase in complexity, frequency and severity, and the cybersecurity workforce continues to shrink. Despite millions of unemployed workers, there is an acute shortage of cybersecurity talent. Resumes abound, yet companies still feverishly search for people who can make the difference,” emphasized Feudo. Unlike some professions where the market is saturated with qualified grads—like law—there is a dearth of qualified cybersecurity professionals. “Government and industry have demonstrated an appetite for security professionals that higher education has not, as yet, been able to supply,” according to Murray of CTU. Cybersecurity professionals are hardly limited to government work, as businesses worldwide must protect their assets and infrastructure. “The world has become dependent upon technology and the Internet for infrastructure and everyday life. A hacker or foreign government can create the capability to render a power grid useless, cause the Internet to become unavailable for long periods of time, or even drain bank accounts,” said Perez. “They could [also] work as penetration testers or ethical hackers in the private sector, testing the security policies of companies and applications,” noted Ferrante and Hsu. In a recent statement to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, James Clapper, director of national intelligence, cited cyber threats at the top of the list of the intelligence community’s 2013 global threat assessment. “This year, in content and organization, this statement illustrates how quickly and radically the world and our threat environments are changing … This environment is demanding re-evaluations of the way we do business, expanding our analytic envelope and altering the vocabulary of intelligence,” Clapper said in his statement. With sequestration threatening government jobs, cyber defies the odds of the current political landscape and is a growing field—one that is in desperate need of qualified workers. 6 | MAE 8.4
Cuts to federal funding abound, and while DoD tuition assistance has tremendous support, it could still be threatened. And that’s just the federal government. Individuals too are still struggling financially, which means the thought of embarking on a degree program and bankrolling it yourself can be daunting. In an effort to grow the cybersecurity professional cadre, DoD has launched an Information Assurance Scholarship Program. It is open to DoD civilians, military officers and enlisted, as well as students currently enrolled at one of the 145 designated Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and Research. Options vary slightly, but the benefit is the same: a full academic ride. Active duty officers and DoD civilians can apply for the scholarship to pursue a master’s or a doctorate at participating DoD institutions, which are the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio; Information Resources Management College of the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington; and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. Alternatively enlisted servicemembers can apply for the scholarship to pursue a master’s program. It’s not completely free, as active duty recipients will remain on active duty throughout their program, and civilian employees must commit to remaining at DoD for at least three times the duration of their education. Current students enrolled at a Center of Academic Excellence are also eligible: Juniors, seniors and graduate students at one of the schools can apply for the scholarship to fund their bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate or graduate certificate. Their side of the bargain entails a commitment to their benefactor as well. Students can choose a civilian career or military service following graduation, with one year of civilian work for each year of funding, while the military option requires a minimum four-year enlistment.
As the war winds down in Afghanistan and DoD anticipates a smaller military force in the future, servicemembers looking to continue their mission of service to the nation out of uniform may find that the cybersecurity field offers them just that opportunity. O For more information, contact MAE Editor Laural Hobbes at email@example.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.
An underutilized, yet instrumental,
resource for achieving scholastic success. For college students, accessing the resources they need on campus can be a daunting prospect. Where can they find the right tutoring services when they are struggling with a class? What should they do if they are unsure about their major, class schedule, or need further advisement? How can they transition their skills into a rewarding career? An academic resource center (ARC) on campus is often the best way for students to find the help they need. Recognizing that military students might face unique challenges, many schools are now incorporating additional services into their ARCs, or creating specialty resource centers designed with veterans in mind. “College should be challenging, causing students to consider new ideas and concepts and perhaps even reconsider these same ideas throughout the college experience,” said Shelley Sawalich, Ph.D., director, Webster University’s academic resource center. “Along with that challenge, universities should offer support to students in an effort to progress learning. Academic resource or learning centers, among other institutional efforts, provide that support for students to give them the best shot at being successful.” Nationally, services in academic resource centers can differ depending on the organizational structure of the institution. Most, though, will include tutoring and study skill support programs for undergraduate students. Other areas that are commonly included are services for students with disabilities, academic advising and writing support. These services are often offered free to students. The ARC at Webster University houses a number of programs that provide academic support to students, including peer tutoring, a writing center, academic accommodations and assistive technology services for students with disabilities, academic counseling targeted toward at-risk students (although open to all students), and a testing center which proctors both Webster and non-Webster exams. Sawalich said, “I think the biggest surprise to students regarding academic resource center services is that they are not just for www.MAE-kmi.com
By Kelly Fodel MAE Correspondent
“We also provide tutoring assistance for students that are struggling. In fact, many math, sciences and writing through our Math/ students keep their A and B averages due to Natural Science Center and our writing centhe use of services like this. We encourage ter,” said Hal W. Fulmer, Ph.D., director of the students to come to us if they are having diffiCenter for Student Success at Troy University. culty with a concept, to get the help that they “We house the campus’s ComputerWorks, need before it becomes a problem.” which provides computer technology to stu“While we are not organized to offer dents and assistance with the specific ARC services to just basic Microsoft programs. We military students, we are very have a unit which focuses on aware that our ARC is very career services and another much needed to assist in helpunit which engages students ing our military students sucthrough service learning and ceed,” said Brigadier General civic engagement. We also Mike Callan, U.S. Air Force house our first year studies (Ret.), associate vice president program in the center, which for military and governmental includes academic success programs at Webster. “Data courses in Orientation to suggests the biggest hurdle Hal W. Fulmer, Ph.D. the University [Troy 1101] our military students need firstname.lastname@example.org as well as courses in study to overcome is their reintroskills and career exploration. duction to academia, and the The center is also the home skills it takes to [succeed] are to our federally funded Trio activities many of our military programs for qualifying stustudents haven’t had to do in dents and to our testing and quite some time. Note taking, assessment area for CLEP and writing, etc., are the kinds of placement exams.” academic skills some of stuThe current Troy Campus dents need a refresher on, and Center for Student Success is our ARC is more than willing open to all students, including to provide [that]. Finally, [facveterans. Fulmer said they are ulty working in the ARC] are Amanda Watkins engaged in strategic discusspecifically trained to provide accommodation, if needed, to email@example.com sions in the center for how they are currently assisting veterans with our military students.” their specific needs for student success, and Sawalich added, “The Webster University this will continue to be a major part of strateARC prides itself in being a place on campus gic planning as they move forward. where students can feel comfortable asking Wright State University (WSU) is curfor help. Each staff member values a ‘how can rently in the earlier stages of creating a vetI help?’ attitude. Something unique about the eran and military student center on campus. ARC at Webster University is that we support “Veterans are non-traditional students both graduate and undergraduate students.” with unique needs,” says Amanda Watkins, At Troy University, the Center for StuM.Ed., assistant director of the Office of Vetdent Success on the Troy Campus serves erans Affairs at Wright State University. “They all students, undergraduate and graduate, often have family and work responsibilities including servicemembers and veterans, with that differ from non-traditional students. In “one-stop” assistance. Included in the units order to better assist this population, WSU is are support areas for academic counseling, collaborating with different on campus serassistance for students who qualify for ADA vices to provide needed services in a one-stop help, and assistance for students who are consetting. Due to GI Bill regulations, students ditionally admitted to the university as well as can only enroll in classes that pertain to their students who are undeclared majors. MAE 8.4 | 7
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Thomas Edison State College is one of the 12 senior public colleges and universities in New Jersey, and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (267-284-5000).
EXCLUSIVELY FOR ADULTS 8 | MAE 8.4
direct resource information through their degree. We strive to inform academic advisors front-desk operations. of GI Bill regulations to ensure that veterans “We coordinate with vocational rehaare staying on track and only enrolling in bilitation counselors to ensure compliance, classes that will pertain to their current proprovide outreach, training and service to the gram of study.” regional campus students and staff, advise and WSU already has an ARC available to support the Student Veterans Association, and the entire school population. The Student develop veteran awareness programs for the Academic Success Centers include programs entire university community,” said Viau. and services from the University Writing CenThe VARC also will counsel and process ter, Math Learning Center, tutoring services, VA educational benefit (certification) claims and supplemental instruction. In addition to for qualified veterans and dependents per professional staff, student peers and tutors semester in accordance with Department work one-on-one with students to enhance of Veteran Affairs regulations and the State their academic outcomes. First-year students Approving Agency. are eligible to receive one free hour of tutorThe VARC identifies student vetering per week for each course. Study coaches ans transferring into UCF. They have new are available to help student beyond specific transfer student vets participate in a session courses, including learning new study strateduring orientation focused specifically on gies for success. their incoming needs. The VARC follows up “The study coach program has helped with an email to the new transfer student reframe the way in which we help students vets who participated in orientation, and become better students,” said Tim Littell, “we identify veterans who are first-generation assistant dean of programming at Wright college students each semesState University. “Students ter and collaborate with our like the relationship with their multicultural academic stustudy coach and find their dent support to identify firstguidance on how to be a better generation student veterans,” student quite helpful, going said Viau. beyond just the content of a “Prior to the withdrawal specific course.” deadline, we identify student Recognizing the unique veterans who transferred into needs of veterans, the UniverUCF with overall GPAs from sity of Central Florida (UCF) previous institution between has developed the Veterans Tim Littell 2.0 and 2.5, and then develop Academic Resource Center firstname.lastname@example.org and implement strategies (VARC). It serves as an answer to ensure all veterans will learn about the center and benefits resource for UCF’s student support services and resources available on veterans, offering workshops and counseling, campus. At the end of each term we identify among other services. The VARC is intended student veterans whose term GPA is below to be a one-stop solution to the needs of a a 2.0 UCF GPA, and whose UCF cumulative student veteran. It provides offices, study GPA is below a 2.0. We then develop an early space and lounge space, as well as access contact process for above student veterans to a number of university offices, in one to ensure these veterans will learn about central location. the academic support services and resources At the VARC, the goal is to help students available on campus.” understand and ensure access to all of the At the beginning of each term, the VARC campus resources available, help the student provides advising for at-risk student veterans veteran succeed by providing study space and by making phone contact during first two or special tutoring at their convenience, help three weeks of semester. They then follow up UCF faculty and staff understand the stuwith phone calls just prior to the withdrawal dent’s unique needs as a student veteran, and deadline. The transfer advisor also plans, proprovide the tools needed to stay on track and duces and assesses a least one general probafinish a degree. tion workshop for student veterans. According to Paul Viau, director of the Another excellent resource available at VARC at UCF, they provide space within the the VARC is mental health support. The VARC VARC to provide appropriate educational has both a psychologist from the Counseling programming to veteran students, provide and Psychological Services office and from a veteran-student-specific workshop as part the VA Medical Center’s Vital program. of the orientation experience, and provide www.MAE-kmi.com
Measuring Student Success So is there any correlation between students that use ARCs and students that earn higher grades? Most schools say they haven’t done enough longitudinal research to be able to make that claim yet. However, Wright State University has noted that students who participate in Supplemental Instruction sessions led by student leaders score a half a letter grade higher on average. Troy University doesn’t offer hard numbers, but believes that the center is assisting with individual course success as well as overall retention and progress to degree completion success. Webster University’s Sawalich said, “Anecdotally, we can say that students that use our services are more likely to be successful at Webster, but data to provide this is just now being collected and analysis is difficult due to the varied reasons that students take advantage of our resources.” One way that schools are making ARCs even more accessible to students is by offering certain services online. “We provide writing support to our online learners at Troy
University,” said Fulmer. “We are moving more of our operation into a blended environment so that online learners can access the center’s resources. A variety of software packages for both math and English support online tutoring. However, nothing replaces the work of our actual tutors: These 20 individuals provide amazing service across each year to help students with their math, science and writing skills.” Webster University offers online programs as well as online tutoring. Piloted in the spring semester of 2012 with just one course, online tutoring offerings have been expanded in the academic year to include nine highly sought-out courses. Because of the high numbers of graduate students in the business programs, this is the area where online tutoring is offered. This especially assists graduate students as they are oftentimes trying to balance a full-time job, family and graduate coursework. Online tutoring allows them the flexibility that they need. Tutoring online is available to any student at any Webster University campus worldwide enrolled in the courses for which tutoring is offered.
Consideration for further expansion will take place at the end of the academic year based on usage, data collection and an analysis of courses that have the highest percentages of low grades or withdrawals. While many students are already taking advantage of the ARCs available at their schools, for many, these centers remain one of the best kept secrets to success. “I don’t think any institution would say that enough students take advantage of these services,” said Sawalich. “The number of students using the services increase each year, but it is still a small percentage of students overall. Learning to ask for help can be difficult, which is likely why some people don’t use the academic resource center on their campus. To make it easier, we try to reach out to students as much as possible to let them know how we can help and make a connection before they even enter our doors.” O For more information, contact MAE Editor Laural Hobbes at email@example.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.
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MAE 8.4 | 9
Enhancing DoD Distance Learning with Professional Social Media How DoD can leverage social media to improve the virtual classroom. By Lee Lacy In the 1970s, my late father, a veteran newspaperman, changed careers and entered the field of health care public relations and marketing. Those were the days when communication and collaboration in the workplace were less complex and the height of electronic sophistication was the IBM Selectric typewriter and its cousin, the IBM punch card machine. My father was skilled in the use of corkand-pin bulletin boards in the hospital corridors and clinical areas where he worked to convey public relations and marketing messages to staff and the public. My father designed his attention-grabbing bulletin boards just like he used to lay out a newspaper—with an Exacto knife, stencils, glue and a light table. He developed some very creative boards that promoted the health care themes of the hospital where he worked. Often, he used the bulletin board to promote readership of the in-house magazine he edited. His boards brought people together in a rudimentary way that is hard to imagine in the current digital age, where we take electronic communication for granted. In the (not-so-distant) past, workplace information was disseminated by in-house newsletters, staff meetings, flyers, public address systems and of course, cork-and-pin bulletin boards. It is hard for digitally tethered Generation X and Milennials to visualize what life would be like without email, smartphones, the Internet and social media. Bulletin boards were the social media of their time. Elementary school teachers were particularly adept in designing bulletin boards that promoted themes such as science, history, language and the liberal arts. Much learning, discussing and collaborating among students and colleagues took place in front of the bulletin board: It was a gathering place for water cooler type talk and other social interaction. It brought people together on a social and professional basis before anyone had ever heard of Mark Zuckerberg. It’s possible Zuckerberg was inspired by a bulletin board somewhere in his life, because Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are the modern extensions of the cork-and-pin classroom and hallway 10 | MAE 8.4
boards of yesteryear. By no means is the traditional bulletin board dead or obsolete, but it is improved by current technology that extends the idea of collaboration and information sharing into new realms. The professional use of social media technology is a giant leap in the ability to achieve educational objectives via distance learning. The tested and successful legacy bulletin board strategy remains an inspiration for learning and collaboration. Let us take advantage of the revolutionary developments in communications and expand it to the world of distance education where it will enhance student-centered learning. A pioneer for this innovation is the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College (CGSC) Department of Distance Education (DDE) located at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. DDE, among other things, delivers an advanced operational curriculum to mid-career Army officers through distance learning technologies. Most students are U.S. Army field-grade officers who are unable to attend CGSC inresidence. These officers take the Advanced Operations Course (AOC) in classes of 10 to 15 students over a period of one year. AOC students mostly take the course on their own time and in addition to their full-time jobs, whether it is military or civilian employment. AOC is facilitated by a DDE faculty member, who remains with the class throughout the year. In this 12-month period, the instructor is allowed to creatively develop ways to deliver the curriculum and promote student collaboration. Professional collaboration is not new, but we recognize it today in professional social media forums such as LinkedIn and Wiggio. In a New York Times article called “Cracking Open the Scientific Process,” reporter Thomas Lin gives a brief history of scientific collaboration in the medical community. “For centuries, this is how science has operated—through research done in private, then submitted to science and medical journals to be reviewed by peers and published for the benefit of other researchers and the public at large. But to many scientists, the longevity of that process www.MAE-kmi.com
is nothing to celebrate. The system is hidebound, expensive and elitist, they say. Peer review can take months, journal subscriptions can be prohibitively costly, and a handful of gatekeepers limit the flow of information. It is an ideal system for sharing knowledge, said the quantum physicist Michael Nielsen, only “if you’re stuck with 17th-century technology.” In the Internet Age, “open science” is the norm where open access research is accomplished regardless of time, space, distance and political borders. Social networking site ResearchGate and collaborative blog MathOverflow are forms of professional social media because they allow peers to discuss, share and seek out others with the same interests. ResearchGate is a “sort of mash-up of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, with profile pages, comments, groups, job listings, and ‘like’ and ‘follow’ buttons ...” The idea of using professional social media to enhance online education was borne out of necessity and the need for efficiency. The idea of using email and the telephone to communicate with students was unappealing. The scientific community presented an interesting idea: If professional social media is appropriate for scientific collaboration, then it’s perfect for distance education in the Department of Defense. Out of need and because of the desire to improve the learning experience, I decided to adopt the DoD milSuite applications, which is a blend of Facebook and LinkedIn for the military. MilSuite is a collection of collaborative programs that allows DoD military and civilian professionals to interact, share, collaborate and learn. MilSuite is comprised of milBook, milBlog, milWiki and milTube. I mostly use milBook because it has the elements of distance education I need— namely blogging, discussion/collaboration forums, a collaborative calendar and the ability to effectively manage my students during the 12 months they are with me. MilBook allows me to expand my role as a facilitator and promote student-centered learning. Blogging is my favorite way to communicate with my class. It allows me to summarize and extend my remarks. It leaves little room for doubt about anything I said, especially when I issue guidance. Blogging leaves more time for student collaboration. Also, it fits my teaching style. If I were transported back in time to a 1985 classroom, I would, after speaking to my class—face-to-face, walk over to my word processer and type a summary of what I just said. Then, I would walk out into the hallway to my cork-and-pin bulletin board and post my summary. In 2013, this is exactly how I facilitate my distance education classes, except, in place of the cork-and-pin bulletin board, I post my blogs in an electronic bulletin board—milBook. My blogs cover a wide range of topics from routine administrative issues to my “encyclicals” on military doctrine. Before a section of my class begins, I create a custom virtual classroom in milBook, complete with a class logo and a visually appealing homepage. It resembles Facebook. As students are assigned, I begin posting blogs on topics I want my students to read. For example, I blog about my writing standards and attach examples. Additionally, I blog about best practices related to distance education. I provide students tips on how to use the various distance education technologies in use. I favor the use of graphics and very often include screen capture shots of the technology I am trying to explain. I give written guidance, in great detail, outlining how I want students to complete an assignment or accomplish a group project. Often, I blog to summarize or re-word sometimes confusing directions from the computer-based instructional curriculum. Blogging allows me to cut to the chase, because I want to keep my students engaged in the short time they have to complete AOC. www.MAE-kmi.com
Blogging is an effective communication tool, not just for distance education, but for enhancing traditional classrooms, too. If I taught in a traditional setting, I would require students to use milBook for information-sharing and collaboration because milBook adds to the learning experience. MilBook should be adopted by traditional classroom teachers, because it is an improvement to the traditional classroom and encourages collaboration and critical thinking outside of the class. My next favorite feature is the discussion board capabilities milBook offers. One of the best aspects of the Internet is the ability to share and collaborate with others. A good example of this is found in one of the early uses of the Internet when like-minded people came together in bulletin board forums. For example, there are three major web-based forums for Volvo car enthusiasts to gather and discuss cars. In these forums, members ask technical questions, share project information, compare car prices, share experiences and solve problems. This is a basic form of learning and allows a group to collaborate in a virtual setting, much like other car clubs do over breakfast in a restaurant. In the more formal setting of a virtual classroom, the milBook discussion tool allows me to do two main things. First, it allows me to pose discussion questions and begin a conversation on a subject being taught. Students reply to the question, and then reply to each other. In a traditional classroom, this is a discussion facilitated by the instructor that takes place in real time. In a virtual classroom, the conversation is in writing and not in real time, but it is still
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MAE 8.4 | 11
facilitated by the instructor. In the virtual version, student participation is more scrutinized for content, relevancy, correctness and a multitude of other criteria set by the instructor. Virtual discussions can aid the instructor with time management. It allows learning to take place outside the constraints of time. Virtual discussions are also appropriate for the traditional classroom because they encourage learning when the course syllabus is long on curriculum and short on time. MilBook has tools that allow me to sort student participation by person, date and subject. Additionally, I can configure milBook to email to my enterprise account discussion transcripts as soon as they take place. Within my email account I establish a rule that parses email traffic to specific folders based on class section. Probably the biggest advantage of the milBook discussion board is the ability to use it as a virtual collaboration area. In this manner, student participation is completely transparent. Students who might, in a traditional classroom, become invisible cannot hide in a milBook virtual collaboration area. In the traditional classroom, collaboration is face-to-face and immediate. The instructor can observe from a distance or up close. How does the instructor in the virtual classroom compensate for the advantage his traditional counterpart has in this area? The best solution is to create virtual collaboration areas in milBook that allow students to work together. Before milBook students depended on email, they used web conference tools like Defense Connect Online and the telephone to collaborate on group projects. The best feature of milSuite is the fact that it is the anti-email. Email has a place and a purpose in distance education—for private communication. Email is inefficient when used as a collaboration tool. Think of the volume of routine email that comes in on a daily basis and add to it email from a collaborative work group(s). If the discussions of a collaborative work group were moved to a discussion-type forum, the email problem disappears. Virtual collaboration contained in milBook allows discussion and products to remain in one place and be archived. Group members can quickly absorb and analyze the information because they do not have to chase email or wonder who in the group was left out. Almost daily I see collaborative discussions in my office email that are better suited for a discussion forum. The exception to this is the aforementioned use of email as a redundant means for the instructor to monitor milBook collaboration. Overall, the rapid fire criss-crossing of email by students on a collaborative subject is not well-suited to distance education. It is more efficient to contain a topic—of interest to a broad group—in a forum. The idea of virtual collaboration is not new. In the infancy of the Internet, electronic bulletin board services such a Genie, CompuServe and America Online became popular in the early 1990s because of the idea of virtual communities. It played to the American love of town halls, barbershop gossip and speeches made atop a soap box. Most of all, Americans crave social interaction with people of similar interests. People who liked to share ideas, information and provide help to a wide audience knew the only way to achieve success were to establish electronic bulletin boards. This took place at a time when people began to acquire personal computers and when mainstream Internet access became available. Imagine the nightmare of managing common technical topics circa 1992. It was not practical to ask, answer and then follow up on discussion topics in email, when bandwidth was limited, email clients were cumbersome and forum participants numbered in the thousands. To compensate, the questions were answered in an open 12 | MAE 8.4
forum—thereby, a revolution in learning and collaboration was created. These forums often contained the warning “due to size of the audience, all questions are answered in the forum and not through individual communication.” Let us apply this to the present situation. In 2013, a distance education student sends an email: “I’m having trouble understanding the role of logistics in the Battle of Austerlitz.” It is easy enough for the instructor to engage in a one-dimensional email dialogue with the student and simply answer the question. This is fine for the student who asked the question, but what about the other 14 classmates who have the same question? In a worst-case scenario, the question is answered in an endless stream of email “Reply All,” which resembles one of those annoying chain letters. By directing the student to ask the question in a collaborative forum, his peers are likely to engage in a discussion of logistics in the Battle of Austerlitz, facilitated by the instructor. This is the essence of student-centered learning—whether it takes place in a virtual or a physical classroom. This method of instruction when applied to distance education is not new. Genie and CompuServe discussions, which were a form of collaboration, often took place in a bulletin board, facilitated by subject matter experts and covered a wide range of interests. It’s a simple concept that uses the power and collective wisdom of the group to collaborate on a topic. This is akin to crowdsourcing, a technique popular with Internet startups of soliciting ideas from online communities. In distance education, collaboration is a time-tested concept made easier by modern, appealing graphical interfaces and software that is more user friendly than in the ’90s heyday of CompuServe and AOL. The growth of distance learning in the U.S. will continue to increase. Studies cited by the Instructional Technology Council (ITC) show distance education enrollments in higher education outpaced traditional enrollment in the 2000 to 2010 time period. The demand for distance education will continue, but challenges in online instruction will remain. For example, from the results of ITC’s 2011 Distance Education Survey Results, ITC reported a trend in which learning management systems, i.e., Blackboard et al, remain volatile. These systems are subject to change in a time when DoD needs constancy. The growth and often volatile nature of distance education is a perfect opportunity to adopt best practices that present a stabilizing influence. In DoD, the use of milSuite adds predictability to distance education programs. Learning management systems, offered by third party vendors will come and go, but DoD-operated milSuite will likely stay the course. MilSuite features such as blogging, discussion boards, student participation tracking, calendaring and wikis permit everyone to teach and learn in an environment that blends the best of the traditional classroom with the modern appeal and efficiency of technology. O Lee Lacy is an assistant professor at the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College (CGSC), Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Lacy is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and received a master’s degree from Webster University. He is an intelligence officer in the Army Reserve. In March 2013 Lacy was selected for the FCW Federal 100 award on the basis of his use of milSuite in CGSC distance education.
For more information, contact MAE Editor Laural Hobbes at firstname.lastname@example.org or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.
Total College Success and the College Options Foundation
Encouraging the academic success of high school students—especially JROTC students and military dependents. By Terry Wilfong I grew up with JROTC cadets in my house. My father served 20 years in the U.S. Navy and was a Navy JROTC instructor for 27 years, so high school students participating in JROTC were at our house nearly every weekend, planning trips, working on projects and having bonfires. My connection to JROTC became even more personal when a judge ordered that I either enter the U.S. Army or a local jail cell. My troubled youth behind me, I was inspired by the Army’s structured regimen, inherent camaraderie and valuedriven mission. By working my way up the enlisted ranks, I achieved officer status and was rewarded with the privilege of earning a college degree. As a recipient of the MacArthur Award for most outstanding junior officer in the U.S. Army worldwide, I have a lasting gratitude for this invaluable life-changing opportunity. This gratitude drove me to found the College Options Foundation in 2007, which is the only organization in America recognized by the Combined Federal Campaign as a source for supporting the nation’s JROTC programs. Our mission is to advocate for deserving youth who also dream of advancing their lives with a college degree. Our commitment to the military, veterans and their dependents does not end with our service to the nation’s JROTC. We are committed to helping all servicemembers of any age and their families find the help they need to realize their higher education dreams. www.MAE-kmi.com
We’ve worked hard to develop advanced educational tools and software to provide servicemembers of all ages with the resources to achieve their higher education goals. Our software is nationally recognized, award winning, and used by hundreds of thousands of servicemembers, veterans and their family members. Our standardized test programs are developed in a creative format, and include online games and tablet applications. In addition to being engaging, they improve SAT and ACT scores. Our software has saved high school students and their families thousands of dollars in educational costs—and it’s available at no cost to all members of the military (active, retired, National Guard and their family members). One student, Jeanette from Georgia, told us she found the college admission process to be overwhelming in every respect. It is nearly impossible to find the perfect match when nearly all colleges are advertising the same things. Sometimes words like “financial aid” and “scholarships” are used so freely that students never really understand what they mean. The Foundation’s DVD, Total College Success, helps prospective students to understand these concepts. Sometimes, guidance offices assume one knows everything about the college admission process. This DVD acts as a personal guidance counselor, answering a multitude of questions about the college admittance process. Lessons from the DVD have helped prospective
students not only to get into college, but also to receive financial aid. Kari Oja from Calumet High School is a student who has benefited from the Total College Success DVD. As a member of her school’s JROTC program, Oja used the program to prepare for and navigate the college admissions process. Oja scored an amazing 35 on the ACT and was accepted to the #1-rated engineering school in the nation for undergraduates. Whether you are a veteran returning to school, a military spouse or a transitioning servicemember, the Total College Success DVD can help save you money and time. It’s available for free at www.totalcollegesuccess.net. O Terry Wilfong has assisted thousands of military families with their advanced education goals and dreams. He is currently president of College Options Foundation, a not-for-profit organization he founded to assist JROTC students in obtaining the funds and resources to help in understanding the college-bound process. To learn more about College Options Foundation, visit www.collegeoptionsfoundation.net.
For more information, contact MAE Editor Laural Hobbes at email@example.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.
MAE 8.4 | 13
CLASS NOTES Three Volunteer Caregivers Receive Pillars of Strength Scholarships to Attend UMUC The University of Maryland University College, Yellow Ribbon Fund and the Blewitt Foundation honored the first recipients of a new national scholarship program for volunteer caregivers of injured servicemembers at a special ceremony on April 25. The three caregivers submitted essays about their experiences as part of the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Fund application process in winning the full scholarships to the University of Maryland University College. The three scholarship recipients included Emily Ball (second from left), Beverly Poyer (center) and Danielle Kelly (second from right). In front is Poyer’s daughter, Brianna. Ball’s partner is her fiancé, Jessie Fletcher (far left), and Kelly’s
partner is her boyfriend Taylor Morris. Ball (Winston-Salem, N.C.); Poyer (Charlotte Hall, Md.) and Kelly (Cedar Falls, Iowa) attend the ceremony with the injured servicemembers they care for. Kelly spoke on behalf of the three scholarship winners and was introduced by her partner, Morris, who was severely wounded while serving in the Navy. The Pillars of Strength Scholarship Fund is believed to be the only fund exclusively focused on honoring volunteer caregivers. These caregivers are often family members or friends who receive no educational benefits and only limited governmental support. Caregivers often interrupt or delay their educational plans to help with recovery and rehabilitation.
State Officials Highlight “Mission: Veteran 2 Entrepreneurs” Program As many veterans struggle to find a job or start a career, the administration of Governor Pat Quinn hosted more than 200 veterans at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to learn about starting or growing their own businesses as part of the state’s “Mission: Veteran 2 Entrepreneurs” (MV2E) program. The MV2E initiative was launched at the direction of Quinn by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) and the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) in June 2012 to help returning servicemembers and veterans learn more about resources and opportunities available to veteran-owned businesses through government agencies, educational institutions, trade associations, business sector experts and employers. This joint agency MV2E program underscores Quinn’s commitment to both supporting veterans and creating jobs. “We know that, for many veterans, entrepreneurship is a great way to translate military leadership experience and mission focus into civilian world success,” said Erica Borggren, director, IDVA. “Events like this are critical to helping veterans navigate the civilian business world, finding a ways to turn their passions into thriving businesses and in turn, creating jobs
14 | MAE 8.4
right here in Illinois. We are pleased so many veterans registered for this event.” MV2E was coordinated into three distinct tracks for veterans: • Business Concept to Business Model: For those veterans interested in or just beginning on the path to entrepreneurship. • Growing Your Start-Up: Geared towards helping fledgling businesses grow, engage for government business/contracts and to help employ others. • Scaling Your Business: A more advanced track to help established businesses master the market and enjoy a stronger financial and operational base. “We are proud to help our military men and women, who selflessly served our country, to re-enter the civilian workforce and achieve financial success,” said Malcolm E. Weems, director, CMS. “Through our Veteran Business Program, we will continue to help veteranand disabled-veteran-owned businesses learn more about doing business with the state and its universities.” Through CMS’ Veterans Business Program (VBP), Illinois businesses that are 51 percent
owned by one or more service-disabled veterans or veterans living in Illinois, with annual gross sales under $75 million, can qualify for certification through the state. VBP encourages state agencies and universities to spend at least 3 percent of their procurement budgets with certified veteran-owned businesses. Companies such as AT&T, Capital One, Google, Goldman Sachs and organizations such as the UIC Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies (IES) and John Marshall Law School gave presentations and conducted workshops at the free MV2E event. Veterans had the opportunity to network and exchange best practices with agency experts, key business associations and like-minded professionals. The event was held at UIC’s Student Center East in partnership with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). “The Illinois SBDC network, supported by the Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and UIC’s College of Business Administration, is a great place for veterans to get help starting and growing a business,” said Michele Dorvil Agbejule, executive director, IES and director, SBDC at UIC. “From market analysis to identifying funding resources, we help veterans create their own opportunities.”
Compiled by KMI Media Group staff
Changes Made to Transferability of Post-9/11 GI Bill Beginning August 1, 2013, every soldier who elects to transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a family member will incur an additional four years in the Army, without regard to their time in service. “This policy was drafted in 2009 and takes effect August 1, 2013. It is important that we inform soldiers of this existing policy regarding the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits,” said Lieutenant Colonel Mark Viney, chief of the Enlisted Professional Development Branch, Army G-1. The rule largely affects senior officers and enlisted soldiers who are retirement-eligible. As of now, these soldiers may be able to transfer benefits to their loved ones with anywhere from zero to three years of additional service. For soldiers who are not retirement eligible, electing to transfer their GI Bill benefits to a family member means re-upping for an additional four years.“We want soldiers to be informed of the impact of this policy,” said Viney, who also serves as the policy proponent for the Army’s Post-9/11 GI Bill Transfer of Education Benefits Program. “This is going to impact their decisions and their families, and whether or not they are going to have this money available to fund their dependent’s education.” The VA also has eligibility requirements for transferability. A soldier must have six years of active duty in order to transfer his GI Bill benefits. In some cases, if a soldier has incurred additional time in service in order to transfer GI Bill benefits to a family member, and is afterward unable to serve that additional time in service, he or she may be required to pay back those benefits. Viney said that as the Army draws down, some soldiers will be involuntarily separated under force-shaping initiatives. Soldiers who are separated early under such circumstances and who had previously transferred their Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits to their dependents may retain the transferred benefits, without needing to repay them to the VA.
American Corporate Partners Welcomes HCA to its Veteran Mentoring Program American Corporate Partners (ACP), a national nonprofit organization that connects post-9/11 veterans to business professionals for career guidance, is pleased to announce that Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) has joined its Veteran Mentoring Program. With HCA’s support, a group of employees in various roles throughout the company will offer year-long professional mentorships to returning veterans nationwide. Since ACP’s founding in 2008, more than 2,000 veterans have successfully completed a mentorship through the Veteran Mentoring Program. HCA’s membership in the program will allow ACP to expand its offerings and serve a greater number of returning veterans.
Soldiers who were retirement eligible after August 1, 2009, and before August 1, 2012, and who are considering transferring their benefits to their dependents should review their service obligation before doing so. All soldiers will incur a four-year service obligation after August 1, 2013, if they transfer their benefits to their dependents. Soldiers with questions about transferring their Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits to their dependents should contact their approving official.
U.S. Coast Guard Reinstates Tuition Assistance The U.S. Coast Guard announced in April that tuition assistance is reinstated for the remainder of fiscal year 2013 but with revised eligibility requirements. The Coast Guard revised eligibility requirements for members seeking assistance in order to ensure the $4.6 million set aside for the program is enough to sustain it to the end of the fiscal year. The new requirements for eligibility include the member must be on active duty at the rank of petty officer 1st class or below and pursuing undergraduate courses only. Reservist members on extended active duty also qualify. For eligible members, benefits are restored to pre-suspension levels of $250 per individual credit hour and an annual cap of $4,500. The U.S. Coast Guard has averaged nearly 10,000 enrollees a year for the last three years and expected around the same number in 2013. This year 7,000 members had participated prior to suspension. The Coast Guard joins the other military services in reinstating tuition assistance after an amendment to the appropriations bill directed all military services to do so. The initial decision to suspend tuition assistance was a result of the service’s attempt to meet the provisions of the Budget Control Act. MAE 8.4 | 15
2012 ESO of the Year
Ensuring Coasties and Their Dependents Have Access to Education Brian D.E. Streichert Education Services Officer Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie Brian Streichert is originally from Cedarville, a small town located on Lake Huron in the eastern upper peninsula of Michigan. He began his military career in 1993 when he entered Navy recruit training at Great Lakes Naval Center. From there, he moved across the street to attend Hospital Corpsman “A” school. After graduating, he was stationed in Parris Island, S.C., where he became interested in serving in connection with the Marine Corps. He then attended Fleet Marine Service School in San Diego. During a tour in Okinawa, Japan, Streichert began to utilize his off time to provide medical procedure instruction and first aid training opportunities to the Marines with whom he was stationed. Once back in the U.S. at Camp Lejeune, N.C., he enrolled in on-base courses through Campbell University. Desiring a full-time commitment to education, Streichert left the Navy and enrolled in Lake Superior State University. Utilizing his Montgomery GI Bill, he graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in history/secondary education. After accomplishing this goal, he focused his attention back to the military, and joined the Michigan National Guard as a combat medic. Shortly thereafter he secured a position at Bay Mills Ojibwe Charter School in the eastern upper peninsula, teaching history and social studies to a small community of Native American students. In the summer of 2006, Streichert was deployed to Baghdad, for 16 months, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon his return, he accepted a commissioning into the Medical Service Corps. Streichert sought out a position within the U.S. Coast Guard as an education services specialist at Sector Sault Sainte Marie, where he has been since 2008. Over the last five years, Streichert has worked to develop relationships with local area colleges. In addition to coordinating the beneficial aspects of on-site education, he has seen a reduction in the standard tuition rate for both Coast Guard and National Guard members, spouses, as well as dependents. Over a two-year span, he provided assistance and guidance to hundreds of members and spouses and increased the number of members pursing higher education from 11 percent to 58 percent. He will soon complete his master’s in military studies with a concentration in asymmetrical warfare from American Military University, further proving his commitment to education. Streichert was recognized as the Coast Guard Education Services Officer of the Year in 2012. Q: How has your background both in personal and professional capacities helped to prepare you for your role as an ESO for the Coast Guard? What led you to this career choice? www.MAE-kmi.com
A: That is an interesting question because if I can recall correctly, it was a similar question I was asked during my interview for this position. I was serving in the Navy as a Fleet Marine Force corpsman, on Okinawa. I can recall going out to the field for weeks at a time and seeing Marines being able to leave the field, return to the rear, shower, shave with a stationary mirror and attend classes. I attempted to enroll in classes shortly after leaving the field only to find that the rules were different for the “Docs” out there. Because there was limited medical coverage, we were unable to leave. I remembered that the next time I was able to choose my duty station. It was at Camp Lejeune, N.C., that I began taking courses that were offered on base, through Campbell University. I found that the instructors were very understanding that we were different than the average college student and they gave us a little leeway when it came to attendance and assignment deadlines. That began my college career and I carried that on by using the Montgomery GI Bill to attend Lake Superior State University [LSSU] in Sault Sainte Marie, Mich. It did end up taking me almost seven years to complete my undergraduate. I finally, in 2003, would complete my degree in history, with a concentration in secondary education. I taught middle school and high school students at a very small, Native American school called the Bay Mills Ojibwe Charter School [BMOCS]. I was the only male teacher in this school at MAE 8.4 | 17
the time and found the skills I learned in the Navy were necessary to maintain a disciplined, yet enjoyable, and safe classroom environment. But it was the curriculum that was taught that I found to be of interest and I would see the benefits of both traditionaltype methods of instruction as well as off-the-wall forms. Unique to the military, this school had a fantastic group of administrators and teachers that worked extremely well as a team. It was a “one team, one fight” mentality that I appreciated while there. I worked with some of the best teachers, who were focused on educating students but also teaching life skills. Our administrators, Mr. Ralph Crosslin and Mrs. Kate VanHouten, were truly there to support their teachers. I would compare them to chiefs or senior NCOs that were looking out for their soldiers. In just one year, I learned very quickly about learning styles and teaching techniques that would carry over to improve the customer service that I can provide to Coast Guard personnel and their families today. After only one year at BMOCS, I was deployed as a combat medic with the Michigan National Guard in the summer of 2006 to October 2007. Upon my return, my job was waiting for me. While in Iraq, I was often called the “English teacher,” though I never taught English courses. But all of those I deployed with knew I was a history teacher. I knew I wanted to return to the classroom. But once I did return, I noticed things were just not the way they were and I began searching for a position within the federal web. I found the ESO position and promptly applied by using USAJobs.gov. Their program for resume creation was easy and it lent to being able to fill in the important details of my work history. I received a call for an interview and have found this to be one of the most enjoyable positions I have ever held! Q: What does your position entail and what are your priorities this year? A: Like most Coast Guard ESOs, we have primary responsibilities to administer servicewide exams, end-of-course tests, process TA and a host of other tasks that can take up the time of those collateral duty ESOs. But it is the other things that we do that truly create a focus on education. The liaison work between Coast Guard facilities, their members and the colleges of higher education is where, I think, I earn my pay. And although we ESOs do not generate the transcripts, it is really up to us to make sure our servicemembers are at least completing the application for this. It is where the member can see what they’ve earned already, just by completing their basic schooling, advancing in pay grades and attending various C-schools. An interesting thing about Sector Sault is its geographical size! We cover an area across the upper peninsula of Michigan, all the way over to Duluth, Minn., and then down to Alpena in the lower peninsula. Having an area of that size, and many small boat stations in between, is quite a feat. However, through email, video conferencing and the occasional trip “out west,” as well as phenomenal collateral duty ESOs, we tend to be able to generate interest in courses and are able to handle just about anything. Some of my personal priorities for this year are to continue to increase the customer service that is provided throughout the sector. Due to strict travel restrictions, it is surely difficult to get face time with members and their spouses/dependents as we are spread over a vast area. But to utilize our technological 18 | MAE 8.4
assets better and to get more members informed of their benefits [are among my top priorities]. Also, I aim to continue to work with our local university, Lake Superior State University, to keep the tuition rate at the TA rate for our USCG members and their dependents. That has been an enormous challenge over the years as the school has had to increase their rates. However, with Dr. Tony McLain and the support of deans of various departments that have had Coast Guard members attend as well as an increase of spousal attendance, it has not been an issue. Finally, I would like to be able to offer a better method of delivering information to those who are separated already from active duty. After attending the CCME conference in San Diego, it was obvious that this is an area I have not fully incorporated into my office. Being able to better prepare members for the transition into civilian/retired life is an area I would like to look at very carefully and apply the best lessons from those who have already done this. Q: What have been the highlights of your career and your proudest accomplishments? A: I truly have many highlights. I very vividly recall the first person I was able to assist in completing TA for their final course to earn their bachelor’s degree. It is a moment that truly drove home the importance of my position as an ESO, and the guidance I was able to provide to assist them in their academic endeavors. But there are three particular areas I feel the most proud of: First is the agreement created through my office, with LSSU. Although it was a struggle in the beginning, once Dr. McLain took office as the president of LSSU and I had more contact with deans and professors such as Dr. Paige Gordier, Dr. James Schaefer, and a host of others [not forgetting a professor who has taught countless courses on base, Dr. Jan Telford], we were able to form, essentially, a coalition of educators focused on getting our USCG members and their spouses the education they need to continue on either within the USCG, or outside of the USCG. The reduced tuition rate was not simply for USCG members; it spanned over their dependents as well! With that came more opportunities for our small sector in hosting on-base classes. We are now well into our third full year of courses and have primarily had general education courses held. However, both our command and the school allow us a lot of flexibility in selecting the courses and LSSU has been great in accommodating. But again, none of this would be possible without a command that permits it. The program started under Captain Mark Huebschman and carried on with no hiccups under Captain Joseph McGuiness. Both captains have essentially allowed me to maneuver with top-cover and really have not said “no” to the ideas I’ve had. This resonates down through the ranks and department heads to the chiefs. Our attendance has been very high and it is something I am quite impressed by as our new transfers are generally coming in, ready to attend school. Finally, and again referring to the agreement with LSSU, we were able to create an award that is in the name of a fallen Coast Guard member who was originally from Sault Sainte Marie. Amy Ignatwoski attended LSSU prior to joining the USCG. Her parents, Paul and Robin, still reside in the Sault and each year, we are blessed to come together and present one spouse or active duty/ reservist member with an academic award of up to 500 dollars. www.MAE-kmi.com
Paul and Robin felt so compelled by the treatment Amy was given by the USCG that they wanted to give back. Primarily to members of Sector Sault as it was then, Senior Chief Bret Jacobson and Captain Huebschman, who assisted in making arrangements to meet Amy’s parents as she took her final flight to a local airport. This award is one of my proudest accomplishments. It was because of the Amy Ignatowski Award that I feel I was selected as the 2012 ESO of the Year, an accomplishment I am equally humbled by. Q: What resources are available in your office? A: I am constantly looking to expand resources available not just in my office, but throughout the buildings. Primarily though, we look at the quality schools that members can attend most of the time, free of charge with the use of TA. I tend to keep a library of study materials for ASVABs, ACTs, SATs, GREs, CLEP and DANTES exams as well. I feel that if a student is able to knock out college classes before even setting foot in a classroom, the USCG is saving money, the student is saving time and they are not learning something they already know. I also offer counseling as far as which path to take. For years, the USCG Institute would generate a degree plan for particular schools, but this became too burdensome and time consuming. So with the ability to obtain degree audit forms and, with some guidance from the school, be able to plug in particular courses, the student can see their time in college diminished substantially, depending on their rank/ rate of course. I also carry material for spouses to seek alternative methods of pay other than FAFSA through scholarships and grants. A service I offer too is to assist with resume writing. USCG personnel are familiar with bullet points but not necessarily how to make those bullet points into hiring points that an employer may want to see. For those who have served 20 years or more, they may have never written a resume or may have never been on an interview. This is where I feel I can be very helpful in their preparation. Q: How important is a college degree for advancement within the USCG? A: This is an interesting question. For the enlisted ranks, it is not mandated that they have a degree. Yet, an interesting trend is seen between those who are advancing, at least at Sector Sault and its outlying units, and those who are not. I feel it’s the study habits that are either taught or learned that assist members in being able to critically analyze the questions they see on their EOCTs, EPMEs and eventually, their SWEs. That said, I think having college education assists in the everyday writing skills that are required in the Coast Guard, and the ability to analyze and think difficult scenarios and situations through. It makes better, informed, educated Coast Guardsmen/women and it can only prove to benefit the service in the long run. Q: What are the most significant challenges facing military education today? How are you poised to help? A: Since this is a question that starts with my opinion, I would love to answer it that way. I think currently, our budget. With our www.MAE-kmi.com
budget deficit continually climbing and politicians looking for ways to save perhaps their pet projects, our military sometimes gets looked over. What sometimes is not understood is that these incentives were put in place for recruiting and retention. We have been pouring money into our military members, and rightfully so. These are the men and women who are working diligently each and every day to provide the safety we need in this country locally, nationally and globally. To take TA away from them is not a clear response for me. I see it as essentially cutting their wages. It was very disappointing to see TA go away for the Marines, then the Army, then the Air Force and the USCG. In my office alone, I have approximately nine personnel within three classes of completing their degrees and this halted their progress. TA is essential to the growth of a force. Education is necessary in today’s complex style of warfare and homeland security. We need intelligent, well-read, well-educated personnel to continue keeping America at its best either on the front lines in Afghanistan, or through the ever-challenging cyber-warfare that is being waged. Understand that I do not make the budget, but if I did, education would never be near the top of the chopping block. I fully feel I could come up with other areas to cut before looking at the benefits for our servicemen and women and to see it come to this was very disappointing. Having to field questions pertaining to sequestration and the loss of TA helped me prepare for alternatives and provided me with a more focused approach. I want to see my Coasties getting the best education for the smallest amount, in the least amount of time. The ability to use other USCG funds in the form of grants and loans and scholarships has not been a full option we have had to take advantage of. But as time goes, and the budget continues to decline, we must continue to find other areas of the budget to trim aside from looking to take away benefits from those who serve. Q: What is the most important recent development in voluntary education? A: For continuity and customer service reasons, the hiring of full-time ESOs has been a monumental step in the right direction for voluntary education within the Coast Guard. It solidified the Coast Guard’s interest in seeing their people become some of the most educated servicemembers throughout the armed forces. We’ve seen TA usage increase almost every year since the hiring of ESOs and that is a testament of what ESOs bring to voluntary education. With our liaison work, we are able to work with schools to limit the confusion that the student has upon applying and enrolling. We have taken the burden off of the CGI [Coast Guard Institute] and made it a more streamlined educational program. We give the students and prospective students one point of contact to assist with enrollment and TA and grade submissions as well as the limitations of errors on various documents by reviewing each document for accuracy. Of course, once sequestration was enacted, it was not long after that the White House was seeing a flood of emails and a petition in order to re-enact the TA program in DoD branches and the Coast Guard. It is a phenomenal opportunity for the military member to utilize a benefit that can only assist each branch and service in the long run, by preparing their servicemembers for life after the military. MAE 8.4 | 19
Q: What education programs or policies inspire you the most? A: I have to touch again on the response to cutting TA. It was the overwhelming support for servicemen and women across the branches and what they have earned during their enlistment. These defenders of our great nation, contrary to popular belief, do not get paid enough. They are actually on call 24 hours a day, seven days each week and holidays can be just another normal work day. You do not see this very often in the private sector. There would be issues with overtime, unions, holiday pay and who knows what else. But these members of the armed forces lace up their boots and go to work. They deserve opportunities to attend school and, quite frankly, have earned the right to use the TA program. Servicemembers who are in any form of disciplinary action are not able to use TA in the Coast Guard. They cannot be pending any legal action or be pending any form of judicial or non-judicial punishment either. This sets the standard just that much higher for this small percentage of Americans who serve their nation. I feel that throughout our national budget, the fact that politicians can discuss cutting this type of benefit as a true cost-cutting measure was not the best initiative. Now that it is technically reinstated—and at the time of this interview I still do not have directives as far as how it’s reinstated or whom it will be going to—I hope to see more servicemembers taking advantage of this benefit! Q: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned as an ESO? A: I can probably name quite a few lessons learned while being an ESO but probably the most important has been to have patience, but be persistent. I like to call it “patient persistence” as opposed to “relentless badgering.” I have found that although a person may not be ready to continue their college career, or to start their college career at the precise point I inquire, it does not mean that tomorrow, or the next week or month, won’t be a better time. Over the last four years I have found that by visiting offices and outlying stations, it has been the face time that tends to spark the most interest for school, and I see a much higher enrollment rate if I am able to travel to a particular location, give an educational brief to both the member and their spouses, then follow up with them shortly after the meeting to answer specific questions. Then, with the use of email, phone calls, etc., these USCG members are more likely to see that they have someone to assist them and they tend to feel more comfortable moving forward with college. The patient persistence can be seen as badgering by some, but I can honestly say that while I am prodding them to start their education or to continue their education, I have yet to have a person come back and tell me that it’s been a waste of time. That said, I have had to rely very heavily on my fellow ESOs for specific guidelines. Luckily, I have a fantastic group of ESOs right in my district, D-9. We are able to collaborate often and use that time to learn from each other’s best practices and apply them as we see fit. Our regional ESO, Theresa Henry, has been a great resource and I’ve been able to request information from her often. But primarily, I refer to other sector ESOs, like Debra Stancliff, Sector Buffalo; John Burchfield, Sector Detroit; and Margo Haines, Sector Lake Michigan. I have been able to pick their brains frequently, primarily Debra’s, in order to gain the 20 | MAE 8.4
most information possible that applicable to the ESO position. Learning what would help your servicemembers the most and being able to apply those practices is a skill I have been learning throughout my tenure. Q: What advice do you have for Coast Guardsmen who are preparing to transition out of the Coast Guard and do not yet have a degree? A: Stop, wait, don’t! The civilian world is not what you think! But if you have thought it through from a professional and personal perspective, I would highly advise you to seek out the assistance of your ESO. At least, at the bare minimum, get your unofficial transcript generated so that when you decide to apply to a college or for employment, you will be able to promptly request a transcript. Second, start taking classes! Even if you can only take one class at a time, do it. It will only shorten the time you will have to take courses further down the road should you decide that continuing your education is what you would like to do. I can assure you, that you probably will not want to be in general education, 100- and 200-level courses with the typical, traditional student. You are more mature, more prepared and more focused than the average student. Next, if you intend on using your GI Bill, be sure you are preparing by enrolling in the program with the VA as soon as you know which school you will be attending and when. The VA, unfortunately, is overwhelmed with those applying for benefits. You want your information in as soon possible (probably within 3-6 months of attendance if you can). Be sure you know what you want to do as once you begin a degree plan, you will not want to switch majors if you can help it. That can result in lost credits and, more importantly, lost time. For those looking to attend trade schools or other areas, the same applies. Get ahead and stay ahead of the game by staying informed; www.gibill.va.gov is truly a good site that is updated and hosts the most accurate information. With the country having pushed so hard for traditional college and TA not covering certifications and trade-type schools, we saw many not enroll. But if that is what you are interested in—as you know, many states are looking for well-trained tradesmen—then find a reputable program and apply. And since the [Post-] 9/11 GI Bill covers most of these courses now, you have just as much benefit to apply! Q: Do you have any closing thoughts you’d like to share with our readership about the men and women you counsel each day? A: Absolutely I do. I have had the opportunity in the four short years I’ve been an ESO to work with some of the finest men and women in uniform. These are motivated, intelligent and hardworking individuals who are working together for one common goal; to protect your borders. What they are seeking are a variety of degree programs that fit neatly into the experiences, courses and training they have had throughout their years of service. They are not lazy people looking for a quick degree. Instead, they are motivated people looking to apply what they already know. Having degree programs that match their rate is a great step to giving validation to these Coast Guardsmen for all of their years of service and dedication. O www.MAE-kmi.com
Designing an Online Course In order to determine the elements of an online curriculum, subject matter experts must consider a blend of academic, and psychological priorities.
MAE interviewed faculty from schools with large populations of military-affiliated students to uncover the qualities that make an online learning environment particularly effective. We posed the question: “How does your faculty design online courses in order to make them compelling to a servicemember or veteran student?”
Larry L. Fegans, M.Ed. Adjunct Faculty Excelsior College Excelsior College’s online courses and programs are developed collaboratively by faculty, instructional designers and instructional engineers to provide a rich and interactive learning experience that delivers learning outcomes equivalent to traditional classroom settings. For our Military Studies program, this process began with an evaluation team consisting of academic and military staff analyzing military courses relevant to today’s environment. They identified specific learning outcomes such as greater awareness of global challenges and the development of critical and creative thinking skills, as well as key areas of knowledge, e.g., military history, leadership, strategic communications, global challenges, international relations and politics. Each course presents both a theoretical examination of the material as well as a practical application. The asynchronous nature of the online environment provides incoming students with increased flexibility, allowing them to complete the program at their own pace, and the learning activities and content are delivered in a variety of ways [written, audio and visual] to support different learning styles.
For the Military Studies program, students are exposed to the theory and application of leadership styles in an increasing culturally diverse world. They gain an appreciation for the role of the military as an element of national power and an understanding of strategic communication and the role it plays in today’s battle of the narrative. A comprehensive study of international issues and the role the military plays as part of diplomatic, informational, military, and economic powers helps develop an appreciation for the role of the military as an element of national power. As with all of our classes, online students are expected to take a proactive role in the learning process, completing assignments and assessments and regularly engaging with classmates on discussion boards. Our instructors facilitate these discussions in a manner that both challenges students and takes advantage of their existing knowledge and real-world experiences. The course development process never really ends. We live in a fluid and evolving world and to maintain high quality and credibility, the content within Excelsior’s Military Studies program is consistently updated to reflect the most accurate and up-to-date information available.
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Fred Stielow, Ph.D., M.L.S. VP/Dean of Libraries, e-Educational Materials & ePress American Military University Course production at American Military University is a sophisticated and ever-evolving team effort. Faculty and their course/curriculum learning objectives remain the determining factors. They rely on instructional designers and media specialists for standardization and fine touches tailored to the various programs of study. A corps of our online librarians supplement this effort to help ensure currency, web components, and an infusion of scholarly/professional peer-reviewed literature, as well as coordinating backup tutorial services. We also add copyright and ADA 508 reviewers for the final touches. Since AMU was created to educate those who serve, effective teaching and understanding of military students is in our figurative DNA. Our current standing as the largest education provider to the military is supported by our missiondedicated faculty, many of whom have themselves served. They bring an inherent understanding of what it means to study while on duty, or as veterans. We actively monitor and understand that our student body and its study habits are changing. Those “born-web”
are beginning to enter the classroom, along with their printbased peers. As part of American Public University System, AMU therefore conducts annual student satisfaction studies on course materials. More importantly, we actively survey classroom participation and apply advanced, “big data” analytics to identify and assess both obstacles to learning, along with successes. We have also embarked on a significant upgrade of our classrooms, and strengthening of our instructional design team. As part of this larger process, we are systematically combing each of the 1,800-plus courses in our curriculum, while actively engaging in cutting-edge explorations into mobile delivery and the coming future of augmented reality. That said, we fully understand that successful teaching and classrooms represent a moving target. Our objective of continuous process improvement requires that we embrace all appropriate technologies, but only as those applications fit the needs of a living scholarly community of faculty and students, and ultimately support our specialized focus on the needs of our military and veteran students.
Cheryl Hayek, Ph.D. Associate Provost Grantham University When working on curriculum design, so much more goes into it than just the academic aspect. Yes, that’s an integral part, but for adult learners to be successful, Grantham University strongly believes that curriculum design needs to take psychological, social, cultural and emotional aspects into consideration. Grantham’s courses are designed by subject matter experts and follow a curricular process workflow to ensure all stakeholders and faculty review before students have access. Courses are built in a way that works with what we call the “Grantham Course Rhythm,” which was developed around studies on student retention, including Adult Transition Theory. Through these studies, we know that adult learners, including servicemembers and veterans, are creatures of habit and are most successful when courses have a predictable “rhythm” and defined outcomes. Grantham’s course rhythm includes weekly readings, lecture, discussion and assignment, and an exam in weeks four and eight, measuring the outcomes of the course material. This rhythm creates a consistent flow within all of our courses and eliminates the learning curve students
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experience when first learning how to navigate within their course. This consistency throughout the university allows for our academic department to better monitor and asses what our students need to succeed within their degree program. The “Grantham Course Rhythm” goes hand-in-hand with our award-winning curriculum programs of Swaddling Support Services [SSS] and VIP2 [2011 APSCU Best Practice/ New Program Award, 2009 SLOAN-C presentation]. Through SSS, we have found that by “swaddling” student support services together [e.g., program readiness, academic advising, learning resources, etc.], our students are less likely to suffer from stimulus overload and culture shock that often result in withdrawal from the university. VIP2 is a system in which all Grantham faculty members learn to be Visible Immediate Personal and Proactive when interacting in their classrooms. This helps our faculty provide the best support possible to our adult students, which in turn helps increase retention and persistence. By remembering that there is more to education than simply academics, Grantham University’s course curriculum is designed for adult students to engage in their coursework and achieve academic success.
Julia A. Teahen, Ph.D. President Baker College Online Baker College is a career-focused, not-for-profit, private educational institution. Our mission is to provide quality higher education and training which enable graduates to be successful throughout challenging and rewarding careers. Even though we offer programs that may be considered “non-career focused,” like political science and psychology; all programs at Baker College are developed with the end goal in mind: employment. Content experts work with our instructional designers to develop a list of core competencies needed for employment in each program field of study. The core competencies are translated into program learning outcomes. Once the outcomes are established, our instructional designers work with content experts to develop individual course elements including lectures, learning activities, assignments, exams, multi-media demonstrations and much more. All activities within the course are mapped to the learning outcomes established at both the program and course development stages. This design strategy ensures that our programs reflect the latest requirements in each field. We find that students
respond better and are more successful when the content of their courses relates directly to their current or future employment. Working professionals serve on advisory committees to make sure our programs remain current. Programs and courses are updated on a regular basis to reflect suggestions from these committees. Since most of our online faculty are also working professionals in their fields, students are assured exposure to the most current and relevant information throughout their program. All Baker graduates receive lifetime employment services, including: job searching techniques, resume assistance, job postings, mock interviews and relocation tips. The importance of this for the servicemember who may be transitioning from location to location or from service to civilian life cannot be understated. Our career focus has led to over 96 percent employment of our available graduates each year. Designing degrees and courses with the end goal of employment as the foundation, combined with lifetime employment services provides Baker graduates a competitive edge in today’s world. Students are more likely to succeed in a degree program where the light at the end of the tunnel aligns with their career goals and the realities of a career. O
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An Employer Perspective Have more employers become aware of the
rigor associated with many online programs?
By Laural Hobbes, MAE Editor
available for learning have advanced in ways we could not have anticiThe popularity of online courses and degrees has grown drapated in 1998. The proliferation of cellphones, social media, smaller matically in recent years. In addition to for-profit schools offering and and more powerful devices, wireless computing and now massive open developing online degree programs—a popular option for working online courses, or MOOCs, has made higher education adults—many long-established traditional universities more accessible.” have cultivated a host of online course and even degree options. This shift in academic trends has not gone unnoticed by hiring managers seeking new employees What Do Employers Look For? with up-to-date credentials. As more people become familiar with online degree options and their value, the Desired traits in employees will vary greatly between more these programs solidify a reputation of credibility. organizations with different missions. “More and more people, including employers, are “I’m looking for signs that [applicants are] adapaware of the academic rigor and skills associated with tive, creative, and can work well in a variety of settings,” most online programs,” said Niki Perkins, the director said Christina Inge, a hiring manager at eZuce, a of career services at Baker College. “The academic rigor Boston-area-based software startup that provides virtual Wayne Smutz of the course assignments and participation requirecommunication and collaboration software. “People firstname.lastname@example.org ments at Baker College along with the time manageneed to be self-motivated. Somebody mature with indement, organization and teamwork skills required for a pendence is a huge asset to a company. I’m also looking student to be successful in an online course/program is for people who do more than clock on and clock off— equally beneficial in the world of work. someone who took initiative, whether it was taking on “I think more students [many are also employees] interesting projects, or going back to school.” are enrolling in online courses due to their hectic work Meanwhile, an HR representative for a small defense and personal lives,” she continued. “The increased contractor in Alabama considers applicants whose enrollment in online courses has forced many employbeliefs align with the company’s culture, regardless of ers to look deeper into online education.” where their degrees are from. Ben Eubanks, an HR A survey distributed by the Babson Survey Research manager for Pinnacle Solutions, a defense contractor in Group, “Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Huntsville, Ala., said, “Experience is less important than Education in the United States,” tracked the ballooning a culture fit. When it comes to degrees, we pay no attenChristina Inge amount of students educated in online environments. tion to the location/institution. Online, offline, or interReleased online in January of 2013, the survey revealed national—it doesn’t matter to us. We look at the level of that in fall 2011, over 6.7 million students were takeducation, factor that into the discussion and move on. ing at least one online course—an increase of 570,000 To be completely honest, we don’t give any thought to students from the prior year. The survey also indicated where someone’s degree is from. If [a job candidate] lists that 32 percent of students in higher education now a bachelor’s degree, that’s what matters to me, and only take at least one course online and that “77 percent of as far as helping to fit our people into a job category that academic leaders rate the learning outcomes in online fits their level of education and experience.” education as the same or superior to those face-to-face.” When applying for a position with Hitachi Data “The popularity of online education continues to Systems (HDS), potential employees should ensure outpace traditional resident education,” said Wayne that their resumes give evidence of education and Smutz, associate vice president for academic outreach career progression, internships, specialized degrees and Ben Eubanks and executive director of Penn State World Campus, certifications, experience ownership, references and a distance education institution launched by the Pennsylvania State stability with prior company tenures, according to a statement from an University in 1998. “The 2011 Sloan Consortium survey of online HDS recruiting team. “The first knockout factor for hiring managers is education found the 10 percent growth rate for online enrollments someone who appears to change jobs frequently.” far exceeds the 2 percent growth in the overall higher education Smutz observed, “Employers are looking for workers who can do student population. the job—whatever that job might be. Because adults, our primary “Online education has changed dramatically in the 15 years since audience, typically are juggling multiple responsibilities and have Penn State offered its first online courses,” he said. “The technologies learned useful skills—self-motivation, time management, organization, 24 | MAE 8.4
attention to detail, ability to meet deadlines—through their education and on-the-job experiences, they are more likely to have the capabilities an employer needs.” According to Perkins, teamwork, written communication, time management and organization are among the skills online students will bring to the workplace. “These are some of the same skills employers seek in candidates; these skills are made even stronger due to online courses,” she said.
are rooted in higher education institutions. They are accredited and taught by experienced faculty engaged in creating new knowledge. I believe employers recognize there are differences in online degrees,” he continued.
The Case for the Traditional Classroom Experience
However, while many hiring representatives look favorably upon online degrees, numerous occupations in the private sector require intense one-on-one Changing Perceptions instruction and training that may be best suited for a traditional classroom environment. Counseling is one Perhaps also factoring into an increasingly positive such career, according to one supervisor. view of degrees earned from online programs is the “[Applicants] must have the proper education on fact that some hiring experts have themselves earned board, which means to be hired as a counselor here you degrees from online programs. “We have several hirmust either have a master’s in counseling psychology ing managers in our company pursuing online degrees or social work, or [you must] have an undergraduate at this time. I’d say they put a fair amount of stock in in psychology along with a state certification which someone’s online/nontraditional degree,” said Eubanks. Bill Prasad says you are a certified addictions counselor,” said Inge’s outlook on online degrees could perhaps Bill Prasad, who supervises the outpatient counseling stem from her own experiences with a rigorous online center at the Phoenix House Counseling Center in Arlington, Va., a program. “I’m quite positive about online degrees from reputable substance abuse treatment facility where men and women are treated schools,” she said. “I studied online at a public university, and I know for alcohol and drug dependence. how much more motivation, ability to take initiative, and ability to “I have mixed reactions [to online courses and degrees]. On one work without supervision an online class requires. I’d actually prefer [to hand, in the world of psychology, there are some courses that transfer hire] someone who had studied online, all other things being equal. I’m very well into an online format … [but] I have skepticism about courses not alone. It seems that as more people in management have studied that teach actual group counseling or individual counseling. It is so online themselves, workers who went online will be more welcome. important to be able to practice and rehearse these skills in a group for“I think [the perception of online degrees has] gotten more positive, mat or in a one-on-one format in the classroom … That, I don’t believe especially in the past five years, and the expansion of brick-and-mortar transfers well into an online format,” he said. schools into the online arena has helped,” she continued. “I took online A blended degree program, which combines online classes with courses from very well-established brick-and-mortar schools, and felt in-class instruction, could give students the experience they need to confident that the quality of education was there. I can’t speak for the become qualified counselors, said Prasad. He believes effective and rest of the team, but I feel that overall, everyone looks for someone empathetic counselors must have the interpersonal skills that can only who’s shown a capacity for hard work. be cultivated in a classroom under the direct supervision of a profes“In a way, I think it’s Gen X and Baby Boomers who are really seeing sor. “It’s not the quality of education I’m looking at; it’s the quantity of the value of online education,” she theorized. “Millennials are still priopportunities where you were in front of an individual and a teacher marily choosing brick-and-mortar schools, because they’re traditional was watching you as you did the counseling,” he clarified. college-age—people still want that college experience. But for more seasoned workers, with established careers, the benefits of being able to upgrade your skills online are becoming more and more attractive.” Evolving Technologies Online degrees also enable adults that have taken time off from the working world to develop new skills to return to the workforce—and As the Babson survey and some hiring managers attest, online allow currently working individuals to develop more skills related to programs have become more accepted as the world becomes more virtheir position. “[Online] programs also support continued education as tualized. “Remote workers and virtual resources are becoming part of well as workforce retraining, which is welcomed within the industry,” the norm and culturally accepted in today’s evolving, global and highly the HDS hiring team stated. “Hiring representatives recognize this and technological environment,” the HDS recruiting team pointed out. support it. Online degrees also provide an opportunity for experienced Smutz summed it up. “Today, about 40 percent of college students workers to reengage to advance their education, where they may not work full time and need the flexibility of online education. Because our have had the time otherwise.” economy is still recovering, employers are less likely to be concerned This suggests that employees who want to advance their careers about how and where a job candidate acquired their education and or prepare for new careers must pursue online education in order to work experience and more likely to be focused on: Can the candidate accommodate education into their busy lives. “Employers understand do the job? While some employers no doubt may continue to have resthis new reality and are more accepting of online degrees,” said Smutz. ervations, clearly the tide is turning as more technologies become more “Employers recognize the value of an educated workforce to their widely accepted across society.” O bottom line and understand that continuous learning is necessary for increased productivity. The impact of the 2007 recession has resulted in companies becoming leaner and more productive. For more information, contact MAE Editor Laural Hobbes at email@example.com or search our online archives “But it is important to understand that not all online educafor related stories at www.mae-kmi.com. tion is the same. Rigorous, high-quality online education programs www.MAE-kmi.com
MAE 8.4 | 25
The Credit Hour War: Part II By Michael Heberling, Ph.D. President, CCME In the September 2012 Grapevine, I summarized the background and controversy surrounding the Department of Education’s definition of a credit hour. Numerous DOE Dear Colleague letters have been issued in an attempt to clarify the definition and to defuse the firestorm with the accrediting bodies, Congress and post-secondary institutions. The primary concern with a federal definition of a credit hour was the belief that it would equate time with learning. Many felt this to be an anachronism given the increasing role of online education where the concepts of time and place do not readily fit. After receiving over 1,200 comments, the Department of Education did its best to try and address the objections. Here is the result: A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or 10 to 12 weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time. The final federal definition of a credit hour illustrates what happens when you try to be all things to all people: You end up pleasing no one. The negative response from the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities was representative: “Rearranging the language of the definition not only failed to address the fundamental concern about having a definition at all, but also has led to massive confusion about its meaning. The language of the definition itself is so unclear and ambiguous that no one is sure what it requires.” In “Cracking the Credit Hour” (New America Foundation, 2012), Amy Laitinen 26 | MAE 8.4
did an excellent job of addressing the subject and interpreting what the department was trying to achieve with its definition. “Work turned out to be the Department’s middle ground between time, an easily measured but poor proxy for quality, and learning, a difficult-to-measure but real indicator of quality.” To address the confusion with the credit hour definition, the Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague letter dated March 18, 2011: “The regulations are grounded in commonly accepted practice in higher education [that] do not intrude on core academic decisions … and are completely consistent with innovative practices such as online education, competency-based credit, and activities that do not rely on seat time.” The letter went on to say: “We, therefore, are explicitly providing institutions [with] the flexibility to demonstrate alternative methods of measuring student learning, so long as they result in institutional equivalencies that reasonably approximate the definition of a credit hour for federal purposes.” Many in the academic community continue to have difficulty deciphering the Education Department’s mixed message. According to Laitinen: “Despite the Department’s attempts to assure institutions and accreditors that it is open to institutions pursuing non-time-based methods of certifying learning, many in the industry still believe that the safest bet, if they want to keep access to federal financial aid, is to do what they have always done: use time to determine credits.” This reluctance of institutions “to venture away from the safe shores” of time-based learning is unfortunate. The current play-itsafe approach stifles both innovation and learning. The institutions, the accrediting bodies and the Department of Education all need to work together to establish guidelines for acceptable student learning outcomes. The first step is to acknowledge that the current “gold standard” for measuring learning, the credit hour, is deeply flawed. A number
of studies, like the one by Philip Babcock and Mindy Marks, show that typical students do not work anywhere near two hours outside of class for every hour that they are in class. Are grades a valid measure of learning? According to The New York Times, only 15 percent of the college students received “A” grades in 1940. The most common grades were the “B” and “C.” Today, because of grade inflation, the most common college grade is the “A” at 43 percent of the total. All parties also need to acknowledge that the nontraditional student is no longer an aberration, but is now the new normal. For these nontraditional students, asynchronous online education is growing in popularity. Unfortunately, online education does not easily fit into the credit hour definition. According to Fred Prasuhn in Internet Learning, “No research was found that addressed the translation of asynchronous online education into credit hours.” Amy Laitinen summarized the challenge: “Until more colleges build programs around verifiable student learning outcomes, it will be difficult for regulators to fully move away from time.” CCME will do its part help to facilitate this process. At our 2014 Symposium in Savannah, the DOE will be invited to speak and schools are encouraged to submit concurrent session proposals on this subject. O
Michael Heberling, Ph.D., is the CCME president. He is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and president of the Baker College Center for Graduate Studies. www.MAE-kmi.com
The advertisers index is provided as a service to our readers. KMI cannot be held responsible for discrepancies due to last-minute changes or alterations.
MAE RESOURCE CENTER Advertisers Index Ashford University. . ............................................................ 23 www.military.ashford.edu/mae Barry University................................................................ C2 www.barry.edu/mae Berkeley College................................................................ 27 www.berkeleycollege.edu/military Capitol College.................................................................. 27 www.capitol.college.edu/mae Kaplan University.. ............................................................. 16 www.military.kaplan.edu Park University................................................................. 11 www.park.edu/mae Thomas Edison State College................................................... 8 http://miltary.tesc.edu Troy University. . .................................................................. 9 www.troy.edu University of Maryland University College................................. C3 http://military.umuc.edu/cyberdefense University of Phoenix.......................................................... C4 www.phoenix.edu/mil
You helped protect our freedom. We’ll help you prepare for your future. Lauded as a military-friendly college by top publications, Berkeley College proudly supports the GI Bill and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Servicemembers may be eligible for Berkeley grants covering up to 100% of undergraduate tuition and fees remaining after federal and state grants are applied. These are just some of the benefits Berkeley offers to veterans and military students: • Fully staffed Office of Military and Veterans Affairs supports all military and veterans programs • CVET program for eligible combat veterans (cvet.com) • Veterans Resource Centers at three locations • Two active chapters of the Student Veterans of America • Participation in all DOD Military Tuition Assistance programs
Find out more. Call 800-446-5400, ext. MC9 or email VeteransAffairs@BerkeleyCollege.edu
Calendar May 19-22, 2013 ASTD 2013 International Conference & Exposition Dallas, Texas www.astdconference.org
October 17-18, 2013 2013 MBA Veterans Career Conference Chicago, Ill. http://mbaveterans.com/2013conference
June 2013 Vol. 8, Issue 5
BerkeleyCollege.edu/Military • Locations in New York, New Jersey, and Online Berkeley College reserves the right to add, discontinue, or modify its programs and policies at any time. Modifications subsequent to the original publication of this document may not be reflected here. For the most up-to-date information, please visit BerkeleyCollege.edu. P2742
A LEADER IN CYBERSECURITY EDUCATION SINCE 2001
Journal of Higher Learning for Today’s Servicemember
Cover and In-Depth Interview with:
Kimberly Yates Chief Voluntary Education Air Force
MBA Programs Why should a veteran pursue an MBA? MAE evaluates programs offered by schools known for their military-friendly qualities. • VA Certifying Official Roundtable
• Community College Spotlight
master’s and doctorate programs in information assurance. • Evaluating Military Transcripts
Insertion Order Deadline: May 29, 2013 Ad Materials Deadline: June 5, 2013
MAE 8.4 | 27
Military Advanced Education
Jeremy N. Glasstetter Director LTC Bryant A. Murray’s Veterans Center Excelsior College Q: To begin with, could you please provide a brief overview of Excelsior College’s history, mission and curriculum?
type of course that helps servicemembers and veterans decide what’s best for them in school and beyond.
A: Excelsior College is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution who’s served the military for more than 40 years, revolutionizing online adult higher education. Our Center for Military Education supports a number of initiatives to better serve the needs of America’s military. We are members of branch-specific partnerships such as Go-ArmyEd, Navy College Distance Learning Partnership Program, Air University Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative, Marine Corps Academic Explorer Program, Army National Guard Education Support Center, and the Coast Guard Institute.
Q: What are the most pressing tasks and issues that the college currently faces?
Q: What makes Excelsior College unique in the benefits and programs you offer to military servicemembers? A: We accept more credits, offer more options, and remove residency requirement barriers to make education affordable and attainable. With the launch of the LTC Bryant A. Murray Veterans Center, we continually work to improve military, veteran, spouse, dependent and DoD civilian resources and tools. Excelsior has helped more than 60,000 servicemembers achieve their objectives. And, we are consistently ranked by Military Advanced Education and G.I. Jobs as a top military-friendly college and the Military Times Edge, Best for Vets publication, for their service to the U.S. military. This is a testament to the value of an Excelsior education. Q: What online degree and certificate programs do you offer and how do these distance learning programs fit in with the lives of active duty and transitioning military personnel? A: Excelsior offers more than 30 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and certificate programs in business, technology, liberal 28 | MAE 8.4
arts, nursing and health sciences. They significantly leverage military training for credit. Our popular programs include: criminal justice [bachelor’s: administration of criminal justice, law enforcement and public safety, and homeland security, and a master’s: homeland security and emergency management]. We also offer: cybersecurity, network management and nuclear technologies, all relevant and cutting edge. A big milestone is our work with the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy since 1998. About one-third of each Academy graduating class is also earning a degree from Excelsior. In 2006, we received the Council of College and Military Educators’ Institutional Award for our work with the Academy, and in September 2009, we began providing face-to-face instruction at the academy. Q: What are some of Excelsior College’s main goals in meeting the future challenges of online education for the military? A: The challenge will be to meet the demand for our newest generation of military community members. We work closely with the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command to develop a program that will lead to an associate degree for young enlisted soldiers in their first term of enlistment under the Army’s College of the American Soldier. We have a course called “Success Strategies for Military and Veterans,” which provides tools and strategies for college and career success. It’s this
A: Maintaining real world educational program options for post-9/11 servicemembers and veterans is a key focus. We will continue demonstrating our commitment to our students by providing relevant degree programs to allow for a smooth transition to a civilian career. Q: What have been some of the biggest lessons you have learned since assuming your current position? A: Delivery diversified programming, college accreditation, degree relevance, and the ability to interact with fellow military community members is fundamentally the most critical components to a seamless and successful transition. Using a holistic, reciprocal approach ultimately helps every individual affiliated with the military education community with a means of degree attainment. Moreover, capitalizing on the different, albeit unique variables which surround the military community serves to be a measurable testament surrounding the caliber of the Excelsior institution. Q: Do you have any closing thoughts? A: Education is the key. A smarter veteran will seek out veteran benefits information. An educated veteran is better prepared for the workforce. A healthy veteran is capable of reintegrating back into society more seamlessly. With the impending closure of two long-standing wars, our military community would be wise to utilize their educational benefits. To this end, this collective community must be encouraged at every level to use these educational benefits. The number of unemployed veterans is unacceptable and education is the key to a better their life, family and nation. O www.MAE-kmi.com
ARM YOURSELF FOR OPPORTUNITY WITH A CYBERSECURITY DEGREE.
To win the battle in cyberspace, we need more cyber warriors. University of Maryland University College (UMUC) has answered the call, educating the next generation of cyber security specialists in the public and private sectors. Our accessible online degree programs have been recognized for excellence by NSA and DHS. And many of UMUC’s courses address industry-standard certifications, including many on the DoD 8570 list. UMUC is affordable, too, with scholarships for those who qualify, interest-free monthly payment plans and participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Because the nation’s battle for cyber security can’t afford to be without you.
© 2013 University of Maryland University College
AT YOUR SERVICE SINCE 1947
University of Maryland University College is the nation’s largest public university.
Learn more • 877-275-UMUC • military.umuc.edu/cyberdefense