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Spotlight on Innovation: University of Charleston Selected as US Army Preferred Provider

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

ACA Spotlight on Innovation

University of Charleston Selected as a Preferred Partner of the United States Army

The University of Charleston (UC) has been selected as a preferred partner of the United States Army University’s Continuing Education Degree Program (CEDP) Leadership initiative. This initiative “creates the learning environment required to produce agile, adaptive and innovative leaders across the Total Force in support of the Army Operating Concept.”

In selecting UC as a bachelor-level provider, LTG Michael D. Lundy, Commander of the US Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, shared with program director, Dr. John Barnette, “The opportunities you and the University of Charleston have developed for our Soldiers, spouses, and Veterans are amazing. Thank you again for your pioneering effort to create educational programs for our Soldiers whenever and wherever they may be.”

Since its formal implementation on March 1, 2018, UC has enrolled 27 students in the Leadership Program. Moreover, its selection as a CEDP partner has led to additional partnerships with the U.S. Warrant Officer Career College, the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) School, and the Army Logistics University.

There are six competencies emphasized by Army University. These include communications, leadership, program management, operations, training management, and readiness. The UC Leadership degree program builds these skills through curricular design, content, and delivery.

  • Soldiers enhance their communication skills and learn to communicate efficiently and effectively through teamwork, presentations, discussion postings, and weekly chat sessions.
  • Soldiers recognize their leadership styles, the leadership styles of others, and are able to adapt those leadership styles in consideration of the situational context.
  • Soldiers learn project management through class projects that are organization-focused developing students’ ability to lead change. Additionally, the adult-learner design of the program permits flexibility, which requires students to learn self-management to balance the Army, familial duties, and their education simultaneously.

Additionally, the critical thinking and problem-solving skills taught in the leadership courses develop students’ knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary in a complex operational environment to adapt to contextual changes and create innovative strategies.  Soldiers develop knowledge and skills for creating and resourcing training management through learning about adult learners’ needs, leadership development, and human resource development so they can determine the time, effort, cost, and other demands required to accomplish a goal. The program complements Soldiers’ professional military education and training to further prepare them for their leadership roles and responsibilities and contribute to the readiness of the Army to meet the challenges of the future.

One of the many ways in which UC helps the Army achieve this strategic vision is to offer a customized Pathway to Graduation to each soldier who inquires about its leadership programs. The Pathway to Graduation is a customized degree plan based upon a Soldier’s individualized Military Occupation Specialty (MOS), training and certifications, and if applicable, civilian college credits. This Pathway gives the Soldier an estimated degree completion timeline, with military Tuition Assistance (TA) limits taken into consideration. Other ways UC is working to make education more accessible to Soldiers include:

  • Removing book costs for all the Organizational Leadership major courses.
  • Implementing the UC LINK program, which enables Soldiers to continue their education while on deployment—even if they do not have internet access.
  • Having a single point of contact for any problems, issues, questions, or concerns from the time Soldiers inquire through graduation
  • Having weekly class sessions using Voice-Over-Internet Protocol VOIP) technology and providing recordings of those sessions for later review; and permitting Soldiers without internet access to join through a phone app.
  • Maintaining flexibility in student scheduling to maximize benefits from tuition assistance (TA)
  • Being extremely responsive to student communications, with the goal of returning e-mail or phone messages within 24 hours after receipt
  • Employing faculty who are student-oriented and dedicated to student success, and who maintain academic rigor
  • Accommodating Soldiers from different time zones and with different duties by leveraging technology for access and extending office hours into the evenings and on weekends
  • For qualifying Soldiers, offering discounted tuition of $250 per credit hour for the Associate of Science in Frontline Leadership, Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership, and Master of Science in Strategic Leadership programs

UC’s Associate of Science in Frontline Leadership is a designed explicitly for E1s-E4s, who may or may not have attended college previously. It is a foundation program that enhances leadership skills such as presentation, team dynamics, self-awareness, and leadership awareness in newly enlisted Soldiers, improving their ability to lead small teams effectively. For those Soldiers at the E5-E7 level, the university offers the Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership (OL) program. The OL program enables Soldiers to enhance their team building, customer service, decisiveness, training, interpersonal and additional leadership skills. The curriculum allows the Solder to create and sustain high-quality relationships with superiors, subordinates, and colleagues.

At the E8, E9, and officer levels, UC offers the Master of Science in Strategic Leadership program that focuses on strategic thinking, developing others, creativity, innovation, resilience, leading others, conflict management, financial management, political savvy, and a variety of other skills. And, finally, at the E8, E9, and officer levels, the university offers the Doctor of Executive Leadership program that focuses on visioning, resourcing, collaborating, sustainment, developing leaders, and enabling Soldiers to become scholar-practitioners and stewards of the discipline.

“The self-discipline and responsibility required to be a member of the armed forces give these students a great foundation for success in college,” stated Dr. Edwin Welch, President of UC. “This is our way of opening the doors wider to the men and women who serve our country.”

For additional information regarding the partnership or the leadership programs, please contact Dr. John E. Barnette, Associate Dean of Leadership and Professional Development, or visit the webpage.


The Appalachian College Association’s “Spotlight on Innovation” series highlights interesting and creative strategies and programs implemented by its member institutions to improve student learning, business practices, or other components of its operations.