Dr. Brad Lookingbill, professor of history and chair of the Department of History and Political Science, is spearheading the development of this program. He says that the concept for the program reflects the American military’s current emphasis on adaptive leadership. By fostering critical thinking and writing skills at the graduate level, the education that those individuals will obtain will help them to grow as professionals and to advance through the ranks. The outcome of the program will be the completion of a publication-quality thesis, which will be reviewed by a faculty board.
Some faculty initially expressed concern about the quality of instruction in the new program. Dr. Michael Polley, associate professor of History and Political Sciences, was among them. However, Polley said that when he learned more about the plans for the degree program his fears were alleviated because he knows that the right individuals are involved.
With the master’s degree in military studies on its way, Dr. Terry Smith, executive vice president and dean for Academic Affairs, said he hopes the program will be available to students as early as March 2011.
Tery Donelson, assistant vice president for Enrollment Management, said he thinks the addition of the Master of Arts in Military Studies degree to Columbia College is exciting. Not only does it increase the number of offerings within our graduate studies program and provide the college with its first graduate degree with a liberal arts flavor, it also will resonate with a significant portion of our student population--the military student, Donelson said. This program directly aligns with this student sector, providing the military student with a graduate education opportunity that directly relates to their work environment and will allow each military student to bring real-world experience into the classroom, he said.
Donelson compared the enthusiasm of instruction in the Master of Military Studies program with that seen among teachers in the MAT program, police officers in the MSCJ program and business executives in the MBA program. With the experience and numbers of our military student base, the discussions alone should provide quite an education, Donelson said.
Columbia College’s relationship with the military
Lookingbill discussed the college’s history of military friendly programs that dates back to the early 1970s. For almost 40 years, Columbia College has helped to pave the way for giving military service members, veterans and their families assistance on the path toward a successful life by providing a flexible, affordable and relevant option to achieve their educational goals.