Results For Enrollment
Please Login to see 24 Best Practices Results
- Change Panel - Taibl, Gilmore & Murray
- Recruiting the Whole Student - Sherri Gilmore
- Turnarounds and Chaos - Col Jim Benson, USMC, Ret. (Riverside)
- Sizing up the Competition - Dave Taibl
- Video Strategies - Hans Mundahl
- TABS - Buxton
- Re-Recruitment Plan - Alison Lescarbeau (Farragut)
- Enrollment Reports and Annual Plan - J Michael Turnbull (Culver)
- Design for Enrollment - Kate Persons
- Learning Landscape - Brigadier General Doug Murray, USAF, Ret. (NMMI)
- Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats - Colonel Ray Rottman, USAF, Ret. (AMCSUS)
- Accession Policy and Recruiting - DOD - Personnel and Readiness
- Funding Streams - Major General Mack Hobgood, USAF, Ret.
- Year in Review - Col Ray Rottman, USAF, Ret. (AMCSUS)
- Substance Abuse - Dr. Amelia Arria
- NROTC Update - Captain Donald Nisbett
- Accession Policy - Christopher Arendt
- AFROTC Update - Colonel Steve Biggs
- Advisory Program - LTC Sarah Jones, PsyD. (VMI)
- Opportunity Orange - Kriscia Tejada (North Valley)
- The Millennial Generation - Col Barry Bizzell, USMC, Ret.
- State of Independent Schools - Dave Taibl
- Naval ROTC - Mr. Mark Gough
- SMC AFROTC - Col Sherry Stearns-Boles
- Keynote: Mission Guidance - John Buxton (Culver)
- Year in Review - Col Ray Rottman, USAF, Ret. (AMCSUS)
- Content Marketing - Andrew Erickson
- AFROTC SMC - Col Jim Parsons
- Naval ROTC - Mark Gough
- Air Force JROTC - U.S. Air Force
- Cadet Command Update - U.S. Army
- Year in Review - Col Ray Rottman, USAF, Ret. (AMCSUS)
- Matriculation - Captain Mark Black, USN, Ret. (FMS)
- Interviews - Billingsley (FUMA) & Smith (NMMI)
- Improving Student Communication with Texting - Andrea Palmer
- NROTC Update - CAPT Donald Nisbett
Marketing - Brig Gen David Wesley
The best schools, military or otherwise, effectively market their unique characteristics in a clear and concise way that enables prospective students and their families to rapidly assess and react to those characteristics, so that they can visit the campus or ask for further information, if the school is a good fit for that individual student.
Is your marketing plan effective?
There are many ways to assess your marketing plan and, as we'll see later in this chapter, an outside perspective can be helpful in making that assessment. Internal methods include qualitative and quantitative comparisons of the current student body with: 1) historical norms for the school, 2) Board-stated goals for enrollment, and 3) physical plant/staffing limitations. It does little good to pursue an enrollment level your campus and staff cannot adequately educate and care for. What will you do if the students actually show up? What if the now larger student body is made up of students who are a poor fit for your mission?
Resolve in the first instance to obtain genuine agreement between the Board and the head of school on the appropriate goal for your marketing efforts and then move out to define that plan in terms all can understand and execute.
What makes a strong marketing plan?
A strong plan is a comprehensive set of techniques designed to use available channels (Internet (including, but not limited to: social media outlets, blogs, and other venues that specifically appeal to today's student audience), print media, word of mouth, radio, television, and other outlets) to make the public aware of what your school offers. The most effective plans develop detailed intelligence about the locations where prospective families might be found and what the demographics of those families are. This enables targeted advertising of the school's characteristics to those who, based on a number of demographic facts, are likely to be favorably disposed to utilize that information to learn more the school and, ultimately, to enroll students there.
Like so many other areas of military school administration, marketing should be the primary responsibility of a single senior staff member with the authority to plan and execute and effective marketing campaign that is consistent with the school's mission and its heritage. Reporting directly to the head of the school, this senior staff member must be resourced with sufficient staff and budget to reach, influence, process, and admit the right number and quality of students. Determining this level of staffing and funding is not an easy task and industry standards are of little help, given the myriad circumstances that combine to make each school unique.
When funds are available, the head of school should hire an outside consultant to evaluate the marketing effort and provide fact-based recommendations on the staffing and budgetary requirements to attain the school's stated enrollment goals. There are a host of firms and more than a few individuals who offer this service and their prices can vary widely, as can the ways in which they conduct their data gathering and analysis.
Who are we?
Central to this marketing effort must be a dedicated effort to clearly state the school's identity. Yes, you're a military school...but why? Yes, you're a college prep school...so what? These things are givens on some level, but what do they say about your institution and what it will deliver to families about to part with hard-earned dollars in an effort to prepare their children for a bright future?
Devote a block of time to an internal staff discussion to refine who you are as an educational institution and why you provide a unique value to your students. This isn't a "pie in the sky" aspirational discussion - who you are determines, for good or ill, what benefits you can reasonably expect to provide to your students. Those benefits are what parents truly seek when they opt to pay for a private school education.
Compare your internally-perceived image with your public documents (your Bylaws, your Strategic Plan, those glossy magazines mailed out to alumni/ae, your local town's impression of the school, and more). When you are confident you have the genuine character and values of your school in mind, discuss these things with your Board to ensure they see things in the same way and normalize any disconnects. With these things in hand, you can begin to craft (or re-craft) marketing efforts that let the public know, "If THIS is what you're looking for, WE are your school!"
Accrediting bodies, consultants, fellow heads of schools, and others can help you think through next steps as you align your now-current vision of the school with the vehicles you've established to convey that image to those who might soon select you to educate their children.
Where are the other resources?
Beyond the excellent background and research AMCSUS provides, you can glean a remarkable amount of marketing intel and guidance from the National Association of Independent School's (NAIS) online databases and the materials provided by The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS). Of particular utility are the demographics you can obtain through the use of the NAIS database found at http://dasl.nais.org/.
Membership (and access to these materials) is not inexpensive, but provides a wealth of insight into all aspects of administering and marketing an effective private school, as well as superb treatment of important topics like governance, safety, discipline, health guidelines, employment law, management of physical assets, among others.
Socratic Leadership - Dr. Frank Giuseffi
Missouri Military Academy
Incorporating the Socratic Method in Leadership Development at Military Schools.
This is an exciting time in education. Educators must continually be aware of a global market that is demanding non-routine work and employees committed to a service sector that requires innovation, problem-solving and creativity in the work force (Kay, 2010). Associated with this reality, is a pivot in leadership that requires, as one military scholar noted, the qualities of a Lewis and Clark (Thomas, 2009) the explorer, risk-taker and discoverer. School leaders, at the secondary and college level, must be ready to develop curricula that equips students with the necessary skills to become leaders for such current demands. The military school, whether at the high school, junior college, or four-year college level, is in a unique position to take advantage of the current educational landscape and workforce requirements. Military schools have always been identified as places for leadership training. Yet, while the concept of leadership remains constant in military schools, the methods and programs concerning leadership are changing. Successful professionals in this century must possess character, creativity, problem-solving, communication skills, teaming and leadership (Basset, 2009). Ironically, analyses of the ways we, as educators, can best lead our developing cadet leaders toward these skills of the future is by looking to the past, to the work of Socrates. As one scholar noted "If we harness them correctly, we can blend the best of our traditional intellectual linear culture Socrates' wisdom of the 5th century BCE with the current digital culture, creating a new learning environment consistent with the cognitive and expressive demands of the 21st century" (Cookson, 2009). It behooves military school leaders to consider employing the Socratic method in order to prepare students to become productive leaders.
In this chapter I shall present a brief overview of the Socratic method. I will then offer practical information on conducting Socratic discussions. We will then look at a research study I conducted that investigated how sustained use of the Socratic method influenced cadet leadership skills. Lastly, I will present my findings and recommend future work military schools can do to improve cadet leadership skills through the Socratic method.
The Socratic Method
We obviously find early traces of this ancient technique in the teaching of Socrates. Socrates asked probing questions to his interlocutors and tested answers "against reason and fact in a continual and virtuous cycle of honest debate" (Cookson, 2009). As the facilitator of conversations, Socrates analyzed the relationship between ideas, played the devil's advocate and was conscious of the feelings and dynamics of the group (Gose, 2009). This "virtuous cycle of honest debate" is also known as the elenctic method questioning and answering through cross-examination (McPherran, 2011). In several dialogues Socrates' elenctic method showed this consistent pattern: First, Socrates asked the interlocutor a question, for example from the dialogue, Meno "Can virtue be taught?" Once the interlocutor answered the question, several other questions were asked by Socrates that led the interlocutor (depending on which dialogue one reads) to modify his original answer, state a new answer, be unable to speak to what he actually knew, claim ignorance, was replaced with another interlocutor, or left in anger and bewilderment (Benson, 2011). We find examples of the above in the Euthyphro, Hippias Major, Charmides, and the Gorgias (Benson, 2011). Knowledge of these Platonic dialogues would be helpful to the serious Socratic practitioner.
Although educators may have knowledge about Socrates and his method, it is nonetheless essential that instructors who wish to be Socratic practitioners have, at their disposal, working definitions of the technique. Ultimately, the Socratic method is "a shared dialogue between teacher and students in which both are responsible for pushing the dialogue forward through questioning" (Reich, 2003). The facilitator of the discussion, whether that be the instructor or student, uses a variety of techniques in order to ensure that he or she is advancing (pushing) the discussion. In my experience, these techniques have included:
- Opening the discussion with an overriding, essential question
- Asking several other questions that supports the overriding question
- Including "real-world" examples in the supporting questions
- Paying attention to the body language of students; ensuring they are not always looking at the facilitator when speaking
- Caring for the dynamics of the group; helping develop mutual respect and civility
- Starting with a shorter, relevant text before assigning lengthy readings
- Including spontaneous questions when appropriate in the dialogue As someone who regularly used the Socratic method in his classes, it dawned on me that along with improvement in critical thinking, thoughtful questioning, civility and intellectual confidence, this same method may be able to enhance leadership. This led me to a dissertation topic that asked if the Socratic method could influence the leadership skills of JROTC cadet leaders. The following is a description of my research study. Research Study on the Socratic Method and Leadership In the Spring of 2012 and the Fall and Spring of 2013, I, as the action researcher, set out to discover if the Socratic method influenced five of my students in my Western Intellectual History course. All cadet participants were JROTC leaders. As the action researcher, I collected data in the following ways: 1) a pre- and posttest using The Student Leadership Practice Inventory developed by Kouzes and Posner (2013); 2) weekly journal entries based on writing prompts; 3) a videography; 4) a Socratic method observation instrument, and 5) end of the year interviews. The Student Leadership Practice Inventory, a leadership instrument I would recommend military school educators consider using, is comprised of five "leadership practices." These practices are Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act and Encourage the Heart. Each one of the leadership practices was further defined by six characteristics. This inventory was the pre- and post- test each cadet participant took in order to reflect on their leadership skills. The intention
was to see if the emerging themes discovered through the other data collecting mechanisms (journal entries, videography, Socratic method observation instrument, and the end of the year interviews) aligned with the five leadership practices.
Journal entries were assigned every Friday. The prompts usually dealt with the philosopher's thoughts being studied and its relationship to leadership. An example of a writing prompt was "How could Aristotle's concept of the "mean" help leaders make informed decisions?" The videography consisted of video-recording four class sessions. The intention was to see if there were any emerging leadership themes that could be recognized. The Socratic Method Observation instrument consisted of "Socratic educational themes" the researcher deemed important; they were: critical thinking, listening skills, respectful behavior, probing questions, encourages thinking and participation in others, ethical behavior, and values and principles. Every Friday I would grade each cadet participant on each of these skills, giving them a grade of 1 (No evidence), a 2 (Some evidence) or a 3 (Full evidence). Lastly, the End of the Year interviews consisted of nineteen questions that included biographical data, experiences as a cadet leader, the relationship between ethical decision-making and class discussions, and the influence, if any, of the class discussions on their personal leadership development.
Readings in the Western Intellectual History course consisted of a survey of Western Philosophy, beginning with the works of Plato and ending with the thoughts of Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss. Students were assigned nightly readings and had to discuss those readings the next day in class. As mentioned, I exclusively conducted the class using the Socratic method, and usually was the facilitator, though, at times, I gave opportunities for students to lead the class discussions.
At the end of the research time period, these themes emerged from the cadet participants:
Emerging themes Journal entries
- Connection as a leader to people's interests
- Understanding of "self" and others
- Everyone working together
- Being a just leader
- Respect for subordinates Emerging themes End of Year interviews
- Helping and caring for subordinates
- Improved confidence
- Intellect preceding will (thinking before acting)
While both the videography and Socratic Method observation sheet helped me reflect on my pedagogy, neither data collecting instrument indicated enough consistent, thematic information to articulate any coherent findings. Although a small sample, the findings were no less significant. Three out of the five cadet participants in this research study felt, after the pre- and post test, that they had improved their leadership skills as defined by the five leadership practices. The emerging themes found from the journal entries and end of the year interviews aligned with the five leadership practices which was the question I, as the researcher, initially wanted to know.
Along with these results, there were other unexpected findings that should be noted. First, the importance of journaling. Based on my experience, students master information and reflect on their own thinking and actions when they write down their thoughts. This keeps students focused on the material and connected to what is being covered in the course. Interestingly, the philosophers' ideas specifically those from Aristotle and Machiavelli made a direct impact on the cadet participants' ideas on leadership. Indeed, the cadet participants seemed to appreciate Aristotle's ideas on the "mean" in ethical behavior and Machiavelli's analogy of the prince depending on the situation, act as either a lion or a fox. A question for military school leaders and educators to ask when developing a leadership curriculum is: Can Western philosophy assist in leadership formation? Based on this study, the answer would be yes.
This essay looked at Socrates' teaching style that has come to be called the Socratic method. It also offered a practical working definition of the teaching method along with detailed information on implementing the method in class. Lastly, a specific research study that saw improvement in leadership skills through the Socratic method was presented. Although this was just one study, it would be beneficial for military school leaders, educators and instructors to begin research on how the Socratic method could influence leadership development among cadets. Military schools, through their JROTC and/or leadership departments, can use the Kouzes and Posner leadership inventory to gauge cadet self- perceptions of leadership while participating in Socratic dialogue. The action researchers can also inquire as to whether actual cadet leadership behavior based on real-world scenarios changed in any way after regular participation with the Socratic method. Military school Deans, Curriculum Directors and Instructional Designers can encourage classroom teachers to be action researchers, investigating the impact their use of the Socratic method can have on their cadets' leadership skills.
I began this essay with the assertion that it is an exciting time in education. Military school leaders can benefit from this excitement by turning their schools into learning laboratories where teachers and administrators become researchers and inculcate in their cadets a desire to participate in deep, thoughtful Socratic discussion. The experience can enhance their leadership in a world that is calling for intelligent, productive leadership.
Bassett, P. F. (2009). Demonstrations of Learning for 21st Century Skills. Independent School Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.nais.org/Magazines-Newsletters/ISMagazine/Pages/Demonstrations-of- Learning-for-21st-Century-Schools.aspx
Benson, H.H. (2011). Socratic Method. In D.R. Morrison (Ed.), The Cambridge companion to Socrates (pp. 179-201). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Chafee, J. (2012). Thinking critically (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Cookson, P.W. (2009, September). What would Socrates say? Educational Leadership, 67(1), 8-14.
Gose, M. (2009). When Socratic dialogue is flagging: questions and strategies for engaging students. College Teaching, (57)1, 45-49.
Kay, K. (2010). 21st century skills: rethinking how students learn. In J. Bellanca & R. Brandt (Eds.), 21st century skills: Why they matter, what they are, and how we get there (pp. xiii-xxxi). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Kouzes, J.M. & Posner, B.Z. (2013). Student leadership practices inventory. San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass.
McPherran, M.L. (2010). Socrates, Plato, Eros and liberal education. Oxford Review of Education, 36(5), 527-541. doi: 10.1080/03054985.2010.514433
Reich, R. (2003, Fall). The Socratic Method: What it is and how to use it in the classroom. Speaking of Teaching, 13(1), 1-4.
Thomas, J.J. (2009, October). Leader development in the U. S. Department of Defense: a brief historical review and assessment for the future. Paper presented at the International Military Psychology Conference, Tel Aviv, Israel.
You're In Charge... Now What?! - Maj Gen Randal Fullhart
Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets
When leadership fails to understand the root cause(s) of a problem, they often waste critical time, energy, and resources addressing only the symptoms.
This chapter is written from a new Head of School's perspective...though it could certainly be used by the leader of any component area of a school's operation: enrollment, academics, athletics, facilities, etc.
The underlying theory here is called the Theory of Constraints. It is a theory coined by the late Eliyahu Goldratt who wrote the best-selling book, The Goal, which illustrates the five thinking processes of the theory. The setting for the book is a manufacturing plant that is struggling to produce both the quantity and quality of product, at a price that is sustainable and that provides for a profit. The head of the plant is confronted with the reality that if things don't improve, the plant will be closed. He must figure out what is wrong and turn it around...quickly...without the benefit of additional personnel, facilities, equipment, or money. In other words, he must fix things with what he has available while continuing to operate the plant.
Sound interesting? Sound familiar? Instead of parts going through the plant and coming out the other end as a finished product think of students coming to our programs, progressing through our system, and emerging after graduation as successful scholars that are disciplined and honorable people ready to go to the next level.
Needless to say... I encourage you to read the book, The Goal. In the meantime, permit me to prime the pump.
If you are coming in as a new Head of School, then you are doing so along the line of a spectrum that begins where the previous head was fired, left, or retired. The school is somewhere on the spectrum of struggling, maintaining, or thriving.
You'll also face some realities regardless of where you are at on those spectrum. Whatever it costs to operate today, will cost more in the future. Even if you have the perfect team, people will leave for other jobs, or retire. Worse case, you don't have the perfect team and you'll need to be able to compete for high quality replacements. Your facilities will not get younger...meaning repairs and renovations will increase, nor will they likely grow significantly in capacity without expansion. The demographics and population of your potential students are going to change over time. Your sources for funding will continue to come from two major areas: Tuition & Fees and Endowments & Donations. Your competition will range from "free" public education, to private schools, to private boarding schools, to private, military boarding schools.
The Theory of Constraints is based on physics in that there is a cause and effect relationship between all things. Some of the things that affect the success of your school are within your direct control, some you influence, and some are outside of your control. Your focus should be on the first two areas.
Given this, the diagram that follows this article represents a rudimentary suggestion of how this might be applied to a school. (Note: take the two sheets and align them left to right.) This is called a Future Reality Tree and is read in the form of "If...Then"...from left to right...from box to box. Some things require more than cause to be in place to create an effect. That's what the circle with the "and" means.
You'll see that it begins with the makeup and inclination of the Board to support the institution's mission, the ability to provide for resources, and the selection and support to the Head of School. You may infer from this that if this is not present, the rest of the endeavor will be very hampered if not doomed to fail.
From there it flows into major components of the program to include admissions, academics, athletics, facilities, etc. For purposes of this article I've limited the complexity somewhat in order to illustrate the point.
At the far right, it illustrates the desired outcome of our programs and suggests that this can lead to increased resources and increased demand for the school enrollment. In short...a virtuous circle.
What's the benefit of such a diagram for your organization?
It gives you a place to start to analyze the health and well-being of what exists, and what is going to be necessary to move things forward. It is important to note that if you don't know what causes a situation to exist, you will be tempted to work on the symptom and not the problem.
As an example, if you go about repainting the dorm without realizing that the underlying cause of it looking dilapidated is that you don't have the financial support from your board, you will may get a freshly painted dorm in the near-term but it is only a matter of time before the problem surfaces elsewhere.
Is this diagram perfect as it currently stands? Is it a perfect reflection of your situation? The answer to both questions is, "No." As military experts will tell you it is not the "plan" that is important, it is the "planning."
My hope is that this will be encouragement to develop the diagram that reflects your desired outcome. What it takes to create the reality that you wish to achieve. In so doing you will discover the underlying relationships and prerequisites for achieving success in all aspects of your organization.
And here is the most important part...
Once you have that understanding, conduct a clear-eyed assessment of where your organization stands (in each element of the diagram) and trace they symptom(s) back to the problem that is causing the symptom(s) in the first place. That's where you need to put the bulk of your time and effort. And once you get things the way they should be...don't rest on your laurels because external realities and the march of time will soon be along to drive the need to address the cause that is now limiting your organization's success.
Learning and Leadership - Brig Gen Doug Murray
New Mexico Military Institute
Section 1 Overview
Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one
not only power of concentration but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.
In a very significant way, these words by Martin Luther King resonate with the role of academics at a military school. However, this chapter is not simply about academics. Its focus is broader; it is about learning of which academics is a part for inherent in that concept can be found the underlying reason if not foundation for the military school. This chapter therefore is written to be a bellwether in comprehending why we must have military schools and learning must be a part. Learning, after all, has the power to "transform today's promising ideas into tomorrow's powerful outcomes." It does so because it entails knowledge through education of the mind, skills through training of the body, and experience with which to exercise both upon which character and leadership emerge. As such learning is the lynchpin of the essential and fundamental systems upon which every school and learning enterprise is founded and functions. Those systems derive their purpose and direction from the institutions' vision and mission development through a strategic planning organization and process and identified in its Strategic Plan. The systems include:
1) The Learning System that encompasses what is to be learned and the associated pedagogy - in brief the curriculum.
2) The Support System which entails all the structures, organizations, resources and processes to enable the learning to take place. Admissions, food services and facilities are a few examples.
3) The Accountability System centered on the school's vision and mission which includes the organization and process for assessing the level of student learning in terms of learning outcomes and those for evaluating the support programs in terms of goals and objectives centered within the Strategic Plan.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide insights into the learning system and how it is central to answering "the why" of a military school. It is to pose some key questions and suggest the answers. The components of the two other systems are treated elsewhere in this work.
Question 1: What is the relationship of Learning to the Military School? The Essential Elements
In writing about why military schools are critical in the formation of character and leadership, Dr. Kelly C. Jordan quotes Colonel Robert S. Goss, Superintendent of the New Mexico Military School. He quotes:
"Let it be clearly understood that if this is not a military school it is nothing. By this is meant not only the outward forms and visible signs of military government - the drills and parade - its tinsel and glare, but what is of more importance, the indoor government - the inner, private life, manners and habits of the cadet, the close, constant, kindly supervision over the cadet in every respect - checking him here, urging him there - in the privacy of his room , at his meals, in recitation or at drill - on duty - off duty - at work or play - is the spirit and purpose of [a] military school."
Jordan continues by pointing out "this quotation...captures beautifully the subtle, timeless, potent and effective process of formation and development that occurs within military schools... the combination of military structure and educational focus."
President John Kennedy put it this way, "Leadership and Learning are indispensable to each other."
As one begins their tenure at a military school, the central and enduring question that they must always ask: Is leadership and learning central to the mission of this school that I now head? If it is, they must know that success is only possible if these two concepts, are effectively and productively related. To relate that to what Colonel Goss said, I would put it this way:
"If we do not inspire in the cadet a passion to lead and learn by inquiring, discovering, and understanding the world within us and around us, we do nothing and our academy, it is nothing."
That is the central challenge to the new President, Chief Academic Officer, Commandant, Headmaster or Principal. Answering the challenge is where they must start.
Question 2: How Do We Get Started?
The military school is first and foremost a learning enterprise dedicated to preparing the graduates for success at the next step of their development. It must provide a solid foundation in learning upon which to design a career, not just to make a living, but more importantly a life. Because the demographics of our student bodies are diverse in age, background, preparation, interest and commitment, it is not about defining for them a specific future, but it is about discerning for them the pathway to that future.
The critical task for the leader for this to occur requires the designing, development and implementation of the curriculum, the mortar that holds every academic institution together. It entails both content and methodology. The origins and sustainability of the curriculum are found within the school's mission statement which for the military school is leadership. It is that emphasis on leadership that distinguishes the military school from the many other educational institutions at all levels in the United States. That curriculum must be built on two foundational and enduring principles of learning. 1) a liberal education, and 2) through the development of the whole person - mind, body, and soul/character.
The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) defines Liberal Education as "an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity and change. This approach emphasizes broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g. science, culture and society) as well as in depth achievement in a specific field of interest." The Association points out "reflecting the traditions of American higher education since the founding, the term 'liberal education' headlines the kinds of learning needed for a free society and for the full development of human talent, liberal education has always been this nation's signature educational tradition...(building) on its core values: expanding horizons, building understanding of the wider world, honing analytical and communication skills and fostering responsibilities beyond self."
While the focus of these statements deals with colleges and universities, the guidelines and promise of a liberal education that integrates liberal arts (music, language, psychology, the arts, etc.) with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) are applicable to primary, secondary and post-secondary levels of learning.
Recognizing the centrality of leadership, the second organizing principle that encompasses the curriculum content of a military school is rooted in the "whole person" concept - development of the mind, body, and soul or character. The tenets of such curriculum are not new; in fact, they date back to the ancient Greek city-states of Athens and Sparta. To develop the "whole person," the military learning model integrates two worlds which many think of as the antithesis of one another - the military and the intellectual or academic. John Lovell explores these two worlds and their relationship in his book, Neither Athens Nor Sparta?. The city-state of Athens valued learning, education, inquiry, the development of the mind, the arts; its citizens were to be learned. Athenian democracy required it. The city-state of Sparta, on the other hand, valued the martial arts, discipline, courage, character, honor, the development of the body; its citizens were to be warriors. The learning model of a military school integrates the values of Athens and Sparta into a single curriculum translated into a hierarchy of learning outcomes. The learning outcomes link those aspects of the curriculum that are the responsibility of the Dean (mind), the Athletic Director (body), and the Commandant (leadership/character).
Question 3: How can You Sustain the Effort? Benchmarking Attributes
There are certain attributes, I would say benchmarks that must be constantly assessed and evaluated if success is to be sustained. When these are not met, the entire institution will suffer. These include:
A curriculum that is relevant real world oriented focusing on the fundamentals and one that advances learning in core disciplines in the liberal arts and STEM inculcated with a value system upon which character and leadership can be founded.
A pedagogy that recognizes that all students do not learn the same subjects, the same way in the same time frame and effectively blends personal one on one contact between the teacher and the student with state of the art educational technology
A highly qualified faculty that can address the needs of all students regardless of achievement level or socioeconomic position
A learning environment that is safe, secure, healthy and drug free
Necessary resources and facilities sufficiently maintained and upgraded
Partnerships with all sectors of the community and the school's parents, alumni and other shareholders
Continuous review of the interface and integration of the learning, support and accountability systems - their organizations and processes
An established cooperative, coordinated, consensus oriented, and mission driven decision environment especially between the Dean and the Commandant
In the benchmarking of these attributes, the leader must be attentive to the shortcomings present in much of America's education today. These include: lack of creativity, innovations, self-discipline, and organization; in ability to work as a team; shortfalls in communication competencies, analytical reasoning, the soft skills, and the importance of civic service; and above all the lack of emphasis on integrity and values. It is these shortcomings that must not exist at a military school, and the academic leadership must be responsible to guarantee that.
Question 4: What is the Future:
I always liked Yogi Berra's answer to this question when he opined the future ain't what it used to be. These words offer us a caution. Education in America for the past twenty years has been undergoing a significant and long lasting transformation. It is nothing less than the development of a new paradigm of learning that impacts every aspect of a school's organizations and processes. It has been precipitated by what some have termed the crisis in education and resulted in the development of a series of alternatives to how our youth are educated. The growth and diversity of charter schools, expansion of home schooling, and online schools are a few examples. It is not within the scope of this chapter to discuss these. However, it is important that the new academic leader understand the parameters of this new paradigm for the tenets may challenge some of the major structured aspects of the military school.
I like to think of this transformation in learning occurring in two phases. A "First Phase" to design a new paradigm for learning is not new. It actually dates to before the beginning of this century with an emphasis on the learner rather than the instructor and on learning assessment through the development and identification of learning outcomes. Some would argue this transformation began with a small Catholic nursing school in Milwaukee. Realizing it was no longer meeting the needs of the medical institutions in Milwaukee, and facing declining enrollment, Alverno College took a drastic step by developing an approach to learning focused on an ability-based curriculum and what it termed an "assessment-as-learning approach to education". The centerpiece of the approach requires students to master eight core abilities that include communication analysis, problem-solving, valuing in decision-making, social interaction, developing a global perspective, effective citizenship, and aesthetic engagement.
Nationally, the major catalyst of this first phase was the Association of American Colleges and Universities, AACU, which in 2005 launched a decade-long initiative titled, "Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP)". In 2007 the publication, College Learning for the New Global Century (LEAP) appeared. The publication sets down the essential learning outcomes and guiding principles for America to compete globally. According to the AACU "The essential learning outcomes provide a new framework to guide students' cumulative progress from school through college". In 2008, they became formalized in the publication by the AACU of the Strategic Plan 2008-2012. The five goals that underlie all aspects of the effort include:
A guiding vision for liberal education that rejects a view that liberal education is more than students in the arts and science disciplines and that it is non-vocational
Intentional and integrative learning
Civic diversity and global engagement
Authentic evidence through advance assessment practices
The resulting essential learning outcomes to be realized by the application of knowledge, skills and responsibilities included:
Knowledge of human culture and the physical and natural world
Intellectual and practical skills
Personal and social responsibility
However, it is what I categorize as the "Second Phase" of the effort to transform learning that is new and that offers the greatest challenge in the years ahead to a military school. In part, this phase is a result of technology, which in a number of ways makes it possible. However, it is more than hardware, software, and the latest fad in educational technology. It is an overall and comprehensive approach, perspective, framework or paradigm of learning that challenges the way earlier generations learned. The new paradigm replaces the traditional pedagogy with concepts like "classroom without walls", "project-based learning", and "learning anytime, anyplace, 24/7". It argues that the school as it has been known will no longer be the "self-contained center of learning". Sir Ken Robinson, author and educator wrote,
"The current systems of education were developed in the 19th century to meet the needs of the Industrial Revolution, and it shows itself in two ways. One is in the organizational culture of education, which for the most part is very regimented. It's organized a bit like an assembly line. Children are divided into age groups, for example, as if the most important thing they have in common is their date of manufacture. Why? We don't do that in families or in the general community. It's done in schools for reasons of organizational efficiency, not for effective education. We divide each day up into 40-minute periods, for the same reason. And then the day is divided in to separate subjects. We have standardized testing at the end of it. It's very much like an industrial process, and it's not an accident, because our systems of mass education were developed in the 19th century to meet the needs of the new industrial economies and they were designed for efficiency, like other systems of mass production."
A recent analysis in The Economist summarized this new future "Now at least a resolution is underway. At its heart is the idea of moving from a 'one-size-fits-all' education to a more personalized approach with technology allowing each child to be taught at a different speed, in some cases by adoptive computer programs, in others by 'superstar' lecturers of one sort or another, while the job of classroom teachers moves form orator to coach..."
The challenge this approach poses to military schools across this nation is better understood by listing a series of contrasts between the old paradigm and the new.
Each of the new paradigm traits may challenge the traditional structure of a military school with its learning environment bounded by a highly regulated top-down, directed and mandated plan of the day. But, it would be incorrect to conclude that the two forms of learning are mutually exclusive or that the new paradigm should be completely rejected.
Rather, the vision, initiative, ingenuity and commitment of this generation of military school leaders will ultimately determine how the two paradigms can be effectively integrated into the military school curriculum (content and methodology). In accomplishing that not so easy task, they might well provide the model for all of education and learning. What a future that might be!
Question5: What Are Some Best Practices?
Having briefly looked at the future, we now return to the present to identify ten best practices among the many that, if implemented, might help us realize that future.
Insure the leadership uses contextual intelligence obtained by numerous interfaces with all constituents, parents, alumni, and local community.
Develop linkages with academic institutions and associations both nationally and internationally. This would include public and private schools at the primary, secondary and post-secondary levels and organizations such as AMCSUS and AACU.
Faculty should engage with the accrediting organizations, and the President/Superintendent and senior leadership must become familiar with the accreditation process.
Define roles for faculty and staff in shared governance.
Promote practices, committees, projects that force the interaction of the Commandant and Dean and their staffs focusing on the institutional learning outcomes and mission.
The Senior leadership, not just the Chief Academic Officer or Dean should attend academic conferences.
Support faculty professional development initiatives.
Promote new pedagogies especially all aspects of education technology.
Keep current with critical educational issues at the local, state, and national levels and how they impact your school.
Understand the academic learning factors that impact access, persistence and completion.
Conclusion - Leadership and Learning
This chapter asked five fundamental questions whose answers identified the essential elements of academics at a military school. However, in the overview, it was pointed out that the focus of the chapter was more comprehensive and inclusive than just looking at academics. The subject of the inquiry and the results encapsulating all five questions and thus the essential elements can be characterized this way.
The role of the military school is to meet the learning needs of our cadets with an exceptional learning model founded on the tenets of a liberal education that helps shape the whole person, ensuring that each graduate is prepared to succeed at their next level of learning and inevitably become a leader serving others in whatever sector of society they enter. Our role, then, is one of example, yet also it is to reach out and share that others might adopt best practices from what we do. In that effort, our graduates are often our best ambassadors. Contextual intelligence alerts us that this role is more important than ever in light of the challenges this nation and our graduates will face in the near and long term in a global society and economy. This role is our heritage! It must be our destiny!
A Brief History of the Military School in America - Kelly C. Jordan and John A. Coulter
Military schools have a long and successful history in America, viewed by many as a particularly effective educational approach. Since 1802, almost 850 different military schools have operated in the United States, far more than anywhere else in the world. These schools have educated male and female students from the elementary through the collegiate level, receiving funding from both public and private sources.
The marriage of military structure with education began in Europe in the 18th century, when military schools were established to provide technical training and instruction. Proving themselves to be not only essential but popular, these schools quickly gained a reputation for providing students with both effective education and the means to advance their social status. After experiencing their heyday in the 19th century, military schools experienced a steady decline until they virtually disappeared from Europe by the end of the 20th century.
The American military school shared little with the European military school in terms of purpose, developing for very different reasons. American military schools reflected the countryâ€™s belief in the power of education to better oneâ€™s self by deliberate efforts to form the intellect and develop the character in disciplined and academically rigorous environments. Rather than increasing oneâ€™s social status, the goal of an American military education is to produce informed individuals capable of being transformed into effective citizens of a democratic republic.
Military schools began appearing in America after the Revolutionary War, initially to help produce "proper military officers" of honor, ability, and intellect for the nation. This purpose highlights both the social and educational advantages associated with the early American concept of military education. The country's first military school was established in 1802 as a result of the determined efforts of many of the Founding Fathers, including George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York was not only the nationâ€™s first military school, but it was also the nationâ€™s only engineering school until 1821, and it became the model for military school education in the United States. During its first one hundred years of its existence, West Point sought to discover the optimal balance of providing a comprehensive and sound technical education, along with relevant military training and effective character development.
Army officer Sylvanus Thayer was a distinguished scholar and soldier who, as the â€œFather of West Point,â€ succeeded in blending a demanding academic environment with disciplined military training and appropriate moral development into what became a distinctive American military educational model. Thayer believed in placing the responsibility for learning on the cadets themselves by requiring them to study the assigned material prior to attending class and then reinforcing the learning in class through a combination of group learning activities and active learning exercises under the watchful eyes of their professors. Compared to the rote memorization methods common to most other educational institutions, Thayerâ€™s approach represented perhaps the most innovative method of instruction in the country. Thayer also used daily grades to hold cadets accountable for their academic performance and a system of merits and demerits to hold them accountable for their conduct. Placed under such intense scrutiny while also receiving consistent and detailed feedback proved to be a quite effective educational approach. In the process, Thayer defined the model for American military education that is still valid and cherished by the nation today.
As the nation began to grow, so did its number of military schools. Between 1819 and 1866 the number of military schools in the United States increased to over 170 schools. Only two â€“ West Point and the Naval Academy â€“ were focused on producing active military officers.
The founding of the Virginia Military Institute in 1839 introduced an educational philosophy that shifted the collegiate military schoolâ€™s emphasis away from a narrow focus on training military officers for service and expanded the scope of the military school education beyond a technical and engineering orientation to include the liberal arts. At about the same time, the Kentucky Military Institute expanded the concept to secondary education, demonstrating its viability for preparatory schools. Like its VMI counterpart, KMIâ€™s curriculum focused on the natural sciences and incorporated the liberal arts into the eraâ€™s standard high school curriculum, combining the best of the West Point model with other educational innovations to produce a system for pre-collegiate schools that was influential, effective, and enduring. The success of these early military schools paved the way for the dramatic expansion of American military schools in the 19th century.
While serving as a brutal test of the effectiveness of the American military education model, the Civil War also checked the expansion of military schools in America. Military schools provided almost 20,000 alumni in the conflict (more than 13,700 for the South and around 4,800 for the North), including well over 400 general officers, along with thousands more at the levels from colonel down to sergeant. These contributions on the battlefield by military-school trained leaders came at a high cost to the institutions that produced them. The establishment of new schools ceased during the war, and military schools across the country closed as faculty members and cadets flocked to the colors of their respective nations. Cadets at the surviving schools served as drill masters, and several Southern military college cadet corps fought in combat.
After the Civil War, approximately one hundred military schools re-opened, bringing the total number to around 150 of mostly secondary education institutions. Enjoying renewed popularity, military schools reached their peak of 280 active schools during the post-Civil War period. The positive contribution to the Civil War of many military school cadets and graduates, the overall favorable view of the military within the country, and the adoption of the military school format by various Christian denominations and maritime organizations combined to help bring about this growth.
Viewed during this period as bastions of â€œgreat moral agency for goodâ€ that produce "better sons, better neighbors, [and] better citizens," military schools expanded their curricula further to include technical training in business. Incorporating many of the Progressive Eraâ€™s most alluring features, leaders of schools associated with the newly formed Association of Military Colleges and Schools in the United States (AMCSUS, founded in 1914) became very influential and respected educators in the early 20th century.
The decline of military schools began during the Great Depression. In response, military schools began reforming themselves, focusing more on college preparation at the expense of military training but bringing about an improvement in the courses and teaching. Though military schools were fewer in number, overall cadet enrollment peaked just prior to WW II as a result of these reforms.
The armed forces of the United States in World War II benefited greatly from the military school alumni, who were themselves much better educated and trained as a result of the depression-era changes. Just under 100,000 former military school cadets and midshipmen served, with the majority as officers. The strong emphasis on character development, most visible in the adoption of formal Honor Codes during the interwar period, proved to be of particular value as military school trained officers faced the varied and uncertain challenges of leading Americaâ€™s largest military in its most encompassing conflict against intractable foes determined to supplant Americaâ€™s way of life with their own ideologically motivated alternatives.
The ensuing post-war America was another flourishing period for military schools, lasting until the political unrest of the late-1960s and the coming of the Vietnam War. Between 1966 and 1978, over 70 military schools closed or transitioned from the military format. A small portion of military schools responded to this challenge by becoming reform schools for wayward boys. This short-term trend was particularly devastating to military schools in the long-term, tarnishing all and destroying public confidence in the military educational model. As a result of this decline and changing demographics, over 200 American military schools closed, bringing the total number of military schools in the country to an all-time low of 75 by the end of the 20th century.
Reaching its lowest point, several events occurred that helped revive the military education model in the 21st century. A new generation of parents began to question seriously the efficacy of public education. By 2004, an overwhelming majority of teachers and parents felt strongly that discipline was a key ingredient of success missing from public school classrooms. With parents and teachers seeking to restore more structure in the classroom, administrators turned to the military education model as a possible solution and found success. Public military schools using the military education model are an important part of the current growth of military schools in the country. The overall effect of this resurgence has been both positive and nation-wide in scope. As of 2016, there are around 100 military schools operating in the country, located in 27 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico.
Experiencing both the heights of popularity and respect, and the depths of discredit and distrust, the American military school continues to evolve and thrive in its quest to remain a relevant and viable choice within the cornucopia of American educational offerings. Characterized by alternating periods of stable continuity and dramatic change, this successful American educational format enjoys an increasing level of support and remains an effective educational approach for the 21st century and beyond.