Thanks to NavyTimes for this:
The United States Naval Community College (USNCC) pilot program is underway.
The USNCC enhances warfighting advantages and operational readiness by providing world-class, naval-relevant education to a globally deployed force.
Almost 600 students from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are participating in the pilot program, an online community college to help them in their pursuit of further education and associates degrees in relevant career fields.
“It is imperative we have a more educated enlisted force, grounded in the understanding of current events, allowing them to add context to the actions they may be ordered to do,” Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite said in a news release. “This will provide a critical advantage in any scenario, but specifically to the understanding of how they fit into our overall strategic goals and objectives.”
Current participating schools include:
Northern Virginia Community College, the University of Arizona, the University of Maryland Global Campus, Alexandria Technical and Community College and the State University System of New York (SUNY Online)
“Now that we’ve identified our collaborating schools we can move forward with our program to ensure we offer the best education to our service members and benefit all those involved,” Dr. Randi Cosentino, president of the United States Naval Community College, said in a Navy news release.
2021’s pilot program will be conducted from January to June and another round of the pilot program is slated for 2022. Those participating in this round of the pilot program were chosen per the recommendation from their chain of command.
“The pilot will allow us to collect important data that will inform the development of the USNCC,” Cosentino added. “Working in consortium with leading colleges will help us explore outcomes around the design of the program, the processes involved, working relationships and overall impact.”
Service members have the option to study nuclear field, cyber security, data analytics, English, math, and naval ethics as part of the initial pilot program — with more areas of study added as part of the second phase.
This effort would streamline existing institutions such as U.S. Naval Academy, Naval War College, Marine Corps University and Naval Postgraduate School under one Naval University system umbrella.
Braithwaite stressed that this initiative is particularly timely, given the rivalry with near peer competitors such as Russia and China.
“We are in an era of great power competition,” Braithwaite said. “Any advantage we can achieve over an adversary will increase our warfighting prowess. Innovating solutions through improvement of critical thinking skills will only serve to give our leaders more flexibility in the effective and efficient deployment of our naval forces.”
The USNCC team can be contacted at any time by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For assistance to pilot students or for general questions or future inquiries at email@example.com
Who can enroll?
At present, the plan is for active duty enlisted Service Members in the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard to be able to access relevant programs.
- In January 2021, 500-600 students selected by their service, will participate in a limited pilot program whereby they will take several college courses at partner Colleges and Universities.
- In 2022, up to 5000 students (as above) will be enrolled in degree programs through the USNCC and its partner institutions.
- In 2023, the USNCC plans to reach its initial operational capability (IOC) and enroll up to 7500 students.
What makes the USNCC unique?
I am often asked, what is unique about the USNCC, and why is it different from the tuition assistance program our enlisted service members may access. Why is it important for the Department of the Navy to develop the USNCC and what will make it valuable? In answer to these questions, I point to a number of facets of the USNCC that make up our delivery model and approach.
● Naval-relevant degree programs – The USNCC envisions offering 14-15 different associate of science (AS) pathways that are relevant to our Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – regardless of their rating or MOS – and cover both technical fields (e.g.nuclear, engineering, cyber) and generalist programs (e.g. organizational leadership, military history). These programs help ensure that a service member improves on their responsibilities today, while building their capacity to take on challenges of tomorrow.
● Naval Core – The program is centered around a Naval/Maritime Core that includes coursework providing all participants a similar grounding within the Naval Services, and is based in part on the USNA and NROTC programs future officers receive. It will support ethical leadership development, and provide an understanding of Naval History, Geopolitics, Civil/Military context, and force structure and organization. This Naval Core, plus classes in English and Math and other sciences, will provide a strong educational foundation for all enlisted service members.
● Stackable Certificates – While the ultimate goal will be an Associate of Science (AS) degree, students have an opportunity to get recognition and be awarded certificates in pursuit of that goal. The students can earn a Naval Core Certificate, and a Professional Certificate – which will be made up of the ‘major’ (or concentration) classwork for their given pathway (e.g. nuclear fields, organizational leadership, etc…)
● Online, flexible delivery – The coursework will be delivered online, asynchronously allowing Sailors to use their own time, ashore and at sea. The courses, pending feedback from the pilot, will likely be shorter (e.g. 6-8 weeks) to accommodate our service member’s schedules. Because the courses are delivered online, there is no requirement for time away from one’s duties.
● High Quality Academic Partners and Consortium – While the USNCC anticipates directly delivering Naval Core courses, among others, we also believe in partnering with the best institutions to deliver the education in a partnership model. We are partnering with a select group of the best colleges and universities for working adults, who are experts in the particular concentration or professional area.
● Military Friendly – The partner colleges are exceptional at providing high quality education to our enlisted service members, with a track record of positive results for the military, and policies that recognize the challenges of military service.
● Connection to Lifelong Learning – We will ensure, both as an institution, and as a consortium, we connect the service member to lifelong learning. We will work to maximize all appropriate transfer credit for our service members, based on their military training and responsibilities, prior credit, and ACE review. Moreover, we will build or access four year transfer pathways that will let the students seamlessly transfer their AS degrees into bachelor’s degrees with little to no loss of credit.
● Connection to Lifelong Learning, Part II – Finally, as these funded programs have the potential to allow service members to access associate level education at no cost, we are able to help our service members achieve certificates and degrees without incurring debt. In doing so, we are not only furthering operational readiness, but will ultimately support the growth of tens of thousands of individuals in achieving their academic goals.
On a personal level, the opportunity to join the Department of the Navy in developing its first-ever community college, to serve enlisted Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen is an honor and a privilege. As we begin this endeavor providing greater access to naval-relevant college-level education for our enlisted service members, I reflect on General John A. LeJeune’s mission on developing young Marines (1920) where he imparts it is a responsibility of the military to not only build strong warfighters, but to return those service members to society as better citizens than when they began. It is my sincere hope the USNCC can play a small role in advancing that mission.