From left: OU Outreach Assistant Vice President Shad Satterthwhaite, Advanced Programs Assistant Director for North America Lauren Mullica, U.S. Army Sergeant Major Daniel A. Dailey, CLS Recruitment Specialist Kasey Moore, Advanced Programs Assistant Director for Europe Jaime N. Harmon
M any people dream about taking a picture with someone famous. Few, however, think of the Sergeant Major (SMA) of the United States Army as their ideal candidate. In fact, most “civilians” probably don’t know what distinguishes the SMA. The SMA is the most senior-enlisted member of the Army, who acts as a spokesperson on behalf of central issues regarding personnel.
Since its creation in 1966, only 15 men have served as the SMA in U.S. history and, luckily, a few College of Liberal Studies (CLS) and Advanced Programs (AP) staff had a chance to meet him earlier this year.
In February, current Sergeant Major, Daniel A. Dailey, served as the morning keynote speaker at the Council of College and Military Educators (CCME) in San Antonio, Texas, where several CLS and AP employees attended. Also highlighted in ArmyTimes, he discussed his initiatives in education. According to AP employee and CCME attendee Lauren Mucilla, “Sergeant Major Dailey stressed the importance for educational institutions to review and consider allowing prior military training to count toward college credit.”
ArmyTimes reported Dailey is “working ‘very aggressively and very rapidly’” to see legislation amended to allow soldiers to utilize Tuition Assistance (TA) to pay for civilian-equivalent credentials. Essentially, this means that the army provides a transitional way for personnel to transfer their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) training and skills toward academic and/or vocational credits.
“He used examples of civilian students using internships at local agencies and businesses to gain credit toward their degree,” Mucilla recounted. “So why should it be any different for military training?” CLS Recruitment Specialist, CCME attendee and First Lieutenant in the Army National Guard, Kasey Moore, noted that for universities and colleges, personnel receive a lot of credit toward undergraduate degrees from their Joint Services Transcripts and Community College of the Airforce transcripts.
“We don’t offer much credit at the graduate level, but there are some cases that servicemembers can get graduate credit,” Moore said. Currently, the military and law enforcement are two of the few agencies that can apply job training experience toward transcript credit. The Army is also exploring ways to help apply military skills toward civilian institutions.
Currently, the Army is implementing a new program called Army University and according to ArmyTimes, Army University is meant to “improve learning, net more college credits and produce universal transcripts that outline every soldier’s training, education and experience.” Universal transcripts will serve as a tool to convert expertise acquired during enlistment into the civilian world. This is precisely what drove Sergeant Major Dailey to take on his educational initiatives.
At CCME, Dailey expressed he had tried to apply his service-related training toward a master’s degree program. When he discovered there was not an option for him, he took it as a blow. In ArmyTimes, he noted, “The ultimate goal is we [Army University] become a degree-producing agency while maximizing the amount of credit our soldiers get for the education they receive…The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is an engineering school. Harvard is a law and business school. Army University should be known as a leadership school.”
Dailey’s educational initiatives are particularly central to CLS and AP’s interests, because both programs maintain a substantial military demographic.
“We’re always thrilled to be involved in making advanced degrees for the men and women of the armed forces as accessible as possible,” said Assistant Vice President for University Outreach Shad Satterthwhaite. “Our servicemen and servicewomen acquire considerable skills in their service to our country and that should be recognized.”
Additionally, CLS’ most-awarded degree is Administrative Leadership, a degree of particular importance to military personnel. The program goes hand-in-hand with translating leadership skills acquired during years of military service into academic credit towards degree completion. With that in mind, both CLS and AP remain vested in growing that population within the college and university.
Note: The College of Liberal Studies was renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Studies in 2017.