PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Oct. 30, 2013) -- The Armament Academy, the first-of-its-kind doctorate degree-granting institution at Picatinny Arsenal, welcomed the first cohort of students, Sept. 6.

Admission into the program was competitive with 17 students admitted out of 25 applications.

The program offers a unique curriculum that is catered to the specific needs of the students drawn from the Armament Research, Development and Engineering workforce.

"We can teach things that we just don't have the ability to do in a public forum at a level of rigor that is way beyond what can be done in a focused short course," said Don Carlucci, senior research scientist for computational structural modeling, and who is also the Armament Academy Provost. "We can test the students on it too."

The courses are team developed and taught to harness the expertise of different faculty members and increase opportunities for peer coaching on the instruction teams, according to Donna Sampson, Team Leader at Armament University.

"Students have been getting about 10-12 hours of homework per week, which is probably going to be the norm," Sampson said.

Classes were cancelled on Oct. 4 due to the government shutdown but have resumed.

"I think we all kind of knew what to expect and nothing (unexpected) has emerged yet but I am sure it will, especially when we have to register multiple classes simultaneously," said Carlucci.

The instructors, all of them ARDEC personnel, continue to participate in faculty development workshops on effective teaching, applying critical concepts of instructional design, and mentoring new faculty members.

"It is a real humbling experience working with the whole faculty, staff and students," Carlucci said. "They are both real dedicated and real smart."

The Academy continues to work towards becoming fully accredited.