Making the Grade with our Military Students
Almost everyone who is part of University of Phoenix—students, alumni, faculty and employees—knows that the University prides itself on its exceptional student support for military personnel of the United States. Although this is common knowledge within the University of Phoenix community, it may not be from an external point of view.
I began my career in the military and the approach University of Phoenix takes to educating servicemen and women plays an important role in helping these individuals transition back into civilian life. They learn the skills and technology needed for the job market. A team of advisors with military experience also supports them with the highest level of professionalism. From the facilities to the advisors, I don’t think there’s another institution that provides the support that we do. As a veteran and a faculty member, I am proud of the services and support we provide our military students and their families. A good education enables them to stay competitive in today’s economy and as war efforts wind down around the world, the demand is going to remain high for providing education to our military.
I believe that University of Phoenix programs are particularly well suited for the military professional. Had University of Phoenix online and on-base education been widely available like it is today, many of my peers might have earned their degrees online or through innovative technologies.
The reason University of Phoenix is such a viable option for active or reserve servicemen and women is because the learning format fits the busy schedule of a reserve or an active duty serviceman or woman. It provides great flexibility for them and, in the case of online education, has the ability to go where they go.
For those who want to continue their service to the country, besides preparing an individual for many things in the future, a degree may help him or her advance in rank. I can speak from personal experience about the correlation between higher education and rank in the military.
I graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1984. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, I worked in systems acquisition, where I helped procure electronic systems for the Air Force. Even though I was already an officer, I realized that I would only be able to reach a certain grade with a bachelor’s degree. In my experience, I learned that it was extremely difficult to achieve the rank of Major without a master’s degree. Likewise, if enlisted, soldiers will likely need a bachelor’s degree to become an officer.
I eventually obtained a master’s degree in Economics, which enabled me to teach at the Academy as well as University of Phoenix today. After leaving the military, my economics education was very helpful in transitioning me to civilian life. My education gave me the skills necessary to survive in the business world because I was able to evaluate complex business proposals effectively while also determining the profitability of business decisions. I tell my students that as a business owner, I use economic theory daily. Not to mention, getting an advanced degree is challenging and taught me the often overlooked skills of time management, effective communication and persistency.
Rank and hierarchy aside, military students differ slightly from my regular students. While many college students are extremely motivated, I have found that my military students tend to have an even higher level of motivation. This is one element that attracted me to teach at University of Phoenix. The discipline the Armed Forces teaches, as well as the need to transition back into civilian life, can be major motivating factors. Either way, I teach students who continue to grow after graduation and seeing the continued growth of innovative, online education only reassures my belief that we are putting out a quality education for military personnel, their families and anybody looking to reach their educational goals.
This article originally appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, UOPX Campus Viewpoints section. To review our current faculty articles, visit: https://chronicle.com/campusViewpoint/University-of-Phoenix/29/.