Fires Center of Excellence goes through TRADOC accreditation
November 7, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. (Nov. 7, 2013) -- The Fires Center of Excellence went through a rigorous education review as part of an accreditation process by the Training and Doctrine Command Accreditation Team Oct. 23-31.
Virtually every aspect of the FCoE, the Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery schools and Fort Sill Noncommissioned Officer's Academy was reviewed. Evaluators looked at everything from programs of instruction to students' barracks to range conditions to mentoring. The mandatory Department of the Army-level credentialing happens every three years.
FCoE commanders, leaders and directors were given an out-brief by the evaluation team Oct. 31 at Snow Hall's Reimer Conference Room. The briefing included a videoteleconference with Maj. Gen. Mark MacCarley, TRADOC deputy chief of staff.
Although the FCoE won't get its final report until late November, the FCoE did very well, said Chris Rader, TRADOC Quality Assurance Office acting director, at Fort Eustis, Va.
Rader led the team of 13 evaluators here, as well as several other subject matter experts who performed their reviews from their home forts through videoteleconferences and Defense Connect Online.
"We looked at most everything that touches the Soldiers [in training]," Rader said. "We looked at how training and education are developed, how the students are trained and to see if the outcome of their training was what the course was truly designed to give them."
Evaluators used 28 Army Enterprise Accreditation Standards (AEAS) to grade things such as the Morris Swett Technical Library, staff and faculty, test control, safety practices and instructional equipment. Each standard was evaluated and rated as met, not met, or met with comment.
If a standard is not met, or met with comment, the center must provide a get-well plan with a timeline, Rader said.
One standard the FCoE excelled at was Army Learning Model Management, which is learner centric, uses instructional technology when possible, and minimizes didactic sage-on-a-stage instruction,
Rader said. "They [FCoE] are head-and-shoulders above what a lot of other schools are doing."
Tim Voes, TRADOC CoE branch chief, reviewed the programs of instruction.
"Overall the accreditation went excellent," Voes said. "The (evaluation) staff as always digs down very deep, and we don't find problems -- what we do is find solutions."
Before the accreditation, the FCoE began an internal self-assessment one year ago looking at all 28 accreditation standards, said Jim Connolly, FCoE Quality Assurance Office director.
"Through the self-assessments organizations see what they needed to fix and began corrective action, and that got us to here," Connolly said. "So the TRADOC evaluators coming here was really a second look."
He noted the accreditation was not a competition among centers of excellence, but an organization's ability to meet Armywide standards.