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College’s distance learning initiative fosters Marine Corps connection

Faculty members in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership, Foundations and Technology will soon play an integral role in preparing United States Marine Corps officers to effectively train those in their command.

A newly-formed partnership with the US Marine Corps College of Distance Education and Training external website will enable the college to offer its students opportunities to earn master of science degrees in adult education.

This initial step builds on Auburn’s reputation as a military-friendly university and as a leader in the distance learning realm. In January 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked the College of Education No. 2 in its survey of top online graduate education programs. G.I. Jobs magazine placed Auburn on its list of Military Friendly Schools for 2013 for “being among the top 15 percent of schools nationwide that deliver the best experience for military students.”

James Kaminsky
Dr. James Kaminsky

James Kaminsky, Mildred Cheshire Fraley distinguished professor and Foundations program coordinator in the Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Technology, said the collaboration will prepare students to meet the challenges faced in military leadership positions.

“Candidates for the graduate degree would have a bachelor’s degree and would usually have at least two deployments,” Kaminsky said. “Many of these field-grade officers are trainers of trainers. The kind of education they would receive at Auburn University will put them in a position to be effective leaders within the Marine Corps.”

The College of Distance Education and Training, based in Quantico, Virginia, is housed within the Marine Corps Training and Education Command and provides educational and training opportunities for active-duty Marines, as well as government employees and family members. While some of the students may aspire to become generals one day, others may use their graduate work to help prepare them for post-service career opportunities.

“It’s important for service personnel to get outside of the military mindset and to have contact with the public sphere so they start to get some feeling of the world outside of the Marine Corps,” Kaminsky said.

James Witte, professor and Adult and Higher Education program coordinator in the College of Education, sees potential for Auburn faculty to eventually serve members of other branches of the Armed Forces.

“The US Department of Defense is the largest single provider of adult education in America,” Witte said. “How to better, more efficiently train service members has been part of the military conscience since its very beginning. World War II brought a greater focus on education and training than ever before.

james witte
Dr. James Witte

“The adult education partnership with the US Marine Corps further emphasizes the recognized need for better trained, better educated service personnel to support the present and future needs of America.”

Auburn University’s relationship with the US Marine Corps College of Distance Education and Training resulted from the efforts of College of Education Dean Betty Lou Whitford and Graduate School Dean George Flowers, as well as Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Technology head Sheri Downer, faculty members Kaminsky and Witte, US Marine Corps College of Distance Education and Training Academic Dean John Hemleben, and US Marine Corps College of Distance Education and Training Director Terence Kerrigan.

Last Updated: Jun 12, 2013

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