By Mr. Michael Maddox (ROTC)October 12, 2016
FORT KNOX, Ky. -- Students go to school to learn and expand their minds, and quality instruction is a key factor in their academic endeavors. In recognition of that, U.S. Army Cadet Command recently partnered with the University of Louisville to implement the first Cadre & Faculty Development Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
The CFDC consists of a summer 9-week resident phase at Fort Knox, and is followed by fall semester clinicals where the students apply the lessons learned over the summer in the classroom on campus where they teach.
The course, which graduated its first class in August, is designed to give Army ROTC instructors baseline facilitator skills to teach in a college classroom, which is a different setting when compared to a typical Army classroom, said Dr. Wes Smith, Division Chief, Cadre and Faculty Development.
"The outcomes we are looking for in this course are much different than those in a normal Army instructor course," he explained. "Our target audience is instructors who teach Cadets (students), so what we are trying to do is get them prepared to teach on a campus with other instructors and university faculty. They have a different audience and different peers than in an Army classroom and they have to interact with those folks."
The curriculum during CFDC reinforces the U.S. Army Learning Concept for 2015 (TRADOC Pam. 525-8-2), Army Leadership (ADRP 6-22) and the U.S. Army Human Dimension Concept (TRADOC Pam. 525-3-7).
John Lilygren, Commandant of the School of Cadet Command, said this is done by emphasizing more of an outcomes-based instruction method rather than a by the numbers process.
"We wanted to move from more of task-based training to outcome-based," said Lilygren. "For example, we moved from teaching them just the mechanics of squad-based tactics to start working on critical thinking, problem solving -- doing student centric instruction to help them be more dynamic thinkers."
"There's an overall benefit for everybody -- making sure they have the higher level learning sciences to work on facilitation skills in the classroom and perform on a campus," he added.
Along with the skills of providing a more interactive learning environment on campus, the instructors also gain a personal benefit -- college credits, said Lilygren. Graduate students receive 12 Masters level credits for the residence phase and an additional 12 for the clinicals at their campuses. Undergraduates receive 15 for the residence portion and 12 for clinicals.
"For our Professors of Military Science and Assistant Professors of Military Science, it can get them on the full track for a master's degree. There is also a big benefit for some of our NCOs who have some college credits or zero," said Lilygren. "This not only helps them in the classroom, but also with their professional personal development for their Army careers. It gets them on a direct path towards an associates, if they have no credit hours, and working towards a bachelors."
Lt. Col. Lavern Burkes, Professor of Military Science at Lincoln University, Missouri, said the course has better prepared him as a college professor in several ways.
"My passion is education, so attending CFDC was a phenomenal experience for me," he said. "First, the course provided me the tools and language to be a key stakeholder when interacting with university administration, which is vital to establishing legitimacy at meetings. Second, CFDC taught me how to design a course and deliver lessons that are student focused to enable all learning styles."
"Overall, the course was life changing and thought provoking, which influenced my decision to earn a master's degree in higher education administration from the University of Louisville," added Burkes.
Smith said another benefit of the course is that it also supports one of Maj. Gen. Christopher Hughes', commander of U.S. Army Cadet Command, main goals.
"I've heard him say several times that his number one priority is to produce high-quality second lieutenants, and his second priority is cadre and faculty development because he ties the quality of his faculty to the quality of the second lieutenants," said Smith. "I think there's a connection between this development program, the quality of it, and the CG's second priority."
During the summer residence phase graduation, Hughes praised the CFDC students for their initiative to grow as instructors and leaders.
"I believe you are not the only beneficiaries of your hard work. I believe your future Cadets, your Soldiers, your families and yourselves will be the beneficiaries for many years to come. This will not only improve your careers, but it will also improve your lives," he said.
"Our Cadets are not the only commodity we produce at Cadet Command. If I do my job right, each and every one of you will become leaders of Soldiers, leaders of Soldiers that are critical to the Army," Hughes added. "You will be more critically involved and possess new found methods of problem solving and developing multiple solutions to those problems. Our best operational commanders should seek out and recruit you for their formations because you now possess the tools to become some of the best leader developers in the United States Army."
CFDC will be held each summer during college summer break periods. Officers and NCOs who are SROTC program instructors are eligible to enroll in future CFDC classes, but must have at least 18-months retainability upon completion of the course. Each brigade is allotted a number of seats in each CFDC, and the brigades will then coordinate which staff will attend.