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CCME Grapevine 2015 February

MAE 2015 Volume: 10 Issue: 2 (March)

A Successful Symposium

This month the 2015-16 CCME President Dr.Jeff Cropsey shares one of the highlights of the 2015 CCME Symposium in Anaheim, California.

The 2015 CCME Symposium is over and it was a great success! Special thanks goes to our 2014-15 President Mr. Jim Yeonopolus of Central Texas College. Jim and his great CTC team oversaw a great conference with outstanding inspirational speakers, informative sessions and terrific networking opportunities. It was the premiere conference of military education in 2015 and over 700 attendees can attest to that. Thank you Jim for all your great work!

One of the most attended sessions was the ESO/Director Roundtable. This year the Services were ably represented by Army, Ms. Pamela King, ESO Ft. Stewart HUB, Georgia; Air Force, Ms Joan Landers, Chief Education Services Luke AFB, Arizona; Marines, Ms Melora McVickers, ESO Marine Base Quantico, Virginia; Navy, Mr. Jon Richardson, VOLED Regional Director West, San Diego, California; and from the U.S. Coast Guard, Ms. Debra Stancliff, ESO , Buffalo USCG Sector, New York. Combined these folks had over 100 years of ESO/Director experience and provided great insights into the current situation with base level voluntary education issues.

The first topic discussed was that of the greatest challenge facing ESO/Directors. The panel was unanimous in declaring, staffing, staffing and staffing! Recent personnel cuts have greatly hampered the ability of base level voled personnel to serve the military. The ability to provide individualized counseling and advisement has been greatly affected by personnel cuts. The panel felt that often service members were left on their own to determine educational choices, not a desired situation from the viewpoint of the panel.

Regarding some good new initiatives that the panel sees on the horizon, one promising one has come the State of Georgia. Military students going to Georgia state schools no longer have to pay the myriad of special fees associated with enrollment. This saves the military and the service members thousands of dollars each year.

The ESO/Directors were united in saying that each of their Services abides by the Department of Defense MoU and have set up systems to provide base access for schools wishing to visit with 20 or more of their students. The Air Force has even automated the process through its portal system.

When asked about shortcomings in educational programs the panel had several suggestions. First, more emphasis needs to be placed on acceptance of military credits through the Joint Service Transcript (JST). Second, new programs would be welcomed in cyber security and other vocationally oriented areas. Health care programs are much in demand and the possibility of virtual labs to deliver lab courses on-line and to remote areas was discussed.

When asked the question the panel agreed that education programs need to be offered to support two goals. One is support of the service members career while on active duty the other is to help prepare them for post service life. Service members are motivated to take education programs that fulfill both of these goals.

The group was asked about what is the most prevalent complaint heard at Education Offices. The responses from the panelist were varied. More challenging and rigorous course work was mentioned. The incredible high cost of books was echoed by all. The ESOs/Directors also often hear complaints about the bureaucracy of both the military and the educational institutions. A desire for much clearer directions on how to navigate degree plans and course work was also brought up by the panel.

All those that attended the ESO/Director Roundtables got a good look at what is going on currently with military education. It was clear from the great panel tha we had, that voled is alive and well at the base level and is considered one of the great quality of life programs in the Armed Forces. Our panel made it clear that they view the program as a partnership between the Services and the education institutions. One that they are eager to support and enhance as we work together to provide great educational opportunities for our service members around the world!

This conversation will continue at the 2016 CCME Symposium in San Antonio, Texas, 15-18 February 2016. Hope to see you al there!

Jeff Cropsey Dr. Jeff Cropsey is 2015-2016 CCME President