Story and photo by Pfc. Andrew Ingram
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Military and civilian educators discussed changes in the Army’s education program during the College and University Presidents’ Conference at Penrose House in Colorado Springs, April 3.
During the event, representatives of universities and colleges from Colorado and throughout the U.S. explored ways the Army and civilian education establishments could better partner with each other to benefit Soldiers and their Families, as well as the institutions.
Maj. Gen. Joseph Anderson, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, explained a few of the changes the military currently faces to the audience of academic leaders.
“The theme today is transition,” Anderson said. “The Army is getting smaller, and a lot of our Soldiers will be getting out of the service earlier then they may have planned. That means many of them will be headed back to school.”
As the Army enforces stricter requirements for promotion, education will also become a priority for Soldiers striving for advancement, he said.
Anderson encouraged the representatives to examine the benefits of a strong partnership between the military and academic society.
“These Soldiers are disciplined,” he said. “They know what they need to do to succeed. They are going to show up to class, they are going to listen to their professor and they are going to engage with the class material.”
Following Anderson’s brief, Dr. Pamela Raymer, director, Army Continuing Education System, stressed the need for educational institutions to take into account the military training and on-the-job experience Soldiers accumulate during their service.
She encouraged the educators to gauge Soldiers not just on the courses they completed at their institutions but also on their personal accomplishments.
“I think (the speakers) did a wonderful job recognizing the challenges and opportunities that are facing student Soldiers,” said Lance Bolton, president of Pikes Peak Community College. “It is important to recognize that maybe we aren’t where we want to be, but we are doing some good things. (The general) challenged both the educational community and the military to do better.”
By focusing specifically on military education issues, the attendees took a large step in ensuring Soldiers will continue to thrive both in the service and after leaving the military, said Skip Blancett, Fort Carson education service officer.
“There has never been a very strong dialogue like this before,” said Blancett. “It is important because the civilian education system needs to understand how much we appreciate them and all they do for us. It is also important for them to know that there is going to come a time of transition when thousands of Soldiers are going to be released from the Army alone.
“That means they are going out into the civilian world. We need help from the civilian community to help these Soldiers prepare for the future,” he said.