Army Civilians: Virginia or Kansas?
January 26, 2012
FORT STEWART, Ga. - The Civilian Education System Intermediate Course, currently offered at Fort Belvoir, Va., will soon be moving to a different building … different area … different state.
That information came from John Hart, director of the Intermediate Course.
"All army commands have been briefed that all civilian education courses are being consolidated at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.," said Hart.
The Basic Course is already there, so joining it would be the Intermediate and Advance courses.
The intent is to have courses in place by Sept. 30, but if that date is not met, it is definitely scheduled to happen. The date may shift due to movement and placement of Civilians to support the new academics.
"This is not going to effect the students who plan on attending the courses," Hart said. "It only shifts the location."
Why Leavenworth? "There has always been a portion of the CES course there, and the move is the most effective," Hart said. "The facilities there are being updated and some expansion is still ongoing."In the mean time though, Hart said that students can still apply to attend the on site course at Belvoir. "Courses are programmed through September 2012. If anyone applies, they can expect to come here, but there could come a time where they may be notified of the change in venue for schools."
Hart, who has been the director since October 2006, has seen over 2500 graduates come through the IC.
"The intent is to improve leadership at the organizational level. In IC, they get to exercise skills and competencies required for a Civilian organizational leader," said Hart.
Students in attendance have come from every command and location throughout the Army, which includes such places as the Marshall Islands, Korea, and Europe.
Hart revealed that the course is not limited to Civilians. Any military person who supervises Civilians is allowed to attend the course offering. However, they would have to be funded by their own organization.
When asked for the profile of the students who attend the IC, Hart noted that they are typically GS 12-13 or equivalent; has six to 10 years of federal service; and have less than one year of military service.
Randy Scales, Call for Fire/FSCATT training instructor with Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization, and Security, attended the first class for Fiscal Year 12 at Fort Belvoir.
"I truly enjoyed attending the course", said Scales. "It gives you an opportunity to share ideas, test your skills, and abilities with other Army Civilian leaders. The course challenges you to think outside the box and forces you to take an honest look at yourself as a leader. It also places you in a position to work as a team with others who may have a different style of leadership than your own."
Six months after course graduation, Civilians who attended and their supervisors, will be reached for input regarding the benefits of the course.
Hart noted that in the recent responses from supervisors, 60 percent relayed they a lot more confidence in employee performance; over 75 percent believe the curriculum taught is current; 90 percent can see improvement in their employees; while 98 percent stated they would recommend the IC.
The 96 percent of IC graduating students have stated they are better organization leaders. The other four percent had not reached a level/position of leadership.
Not to be left out of the equation are the instructors who lead the students toward their improved leadership.
"This is an absolute phenomenal faculty," said Hart. "The pool of instructors come from other Army Civilians who meet the skill sets announced in the job."
When it comes to the academics of the IC, Hart states that he has a pretty good comparison of Army school instruction, as he has been a graduate of every army school of the officers to include the Army War College.
"Our focus is on skills required for a Civilian," said Hart. "We are not teaching skills for an army officer or army NCO would receive. These skills we teach make a Civilian become more effective as a leader."
Fiona Burdick, PHD, professor of civilian leader development of IC and Basic agrees with Hart. Having taught over 600 students, she also strives to incorporate knowledge of leadership community skills, feedback, and problem solving.
"I have gotten feedback from students which included appreciation for the help to them getting promoted. Regardless of where a person is in their government career, coming to the Intermediate Course can definitely help them learn a lot."
Going to the IC is not for those who are going just to 'check the block' or who have no desire to expound on their career set.
"Coming here is for those who want to continue and develop their skills in the Army" concluded Hart.