By Melissa Bower, Fort Leavenworth LampOctober 15, 2009
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Oct. 15, 2009) - Faculty at the Command and General Staff College and community members participating in adult education programs at Kansas State University read textbooks written by nationally known experts in the field of education.
A few times throughout the year, they get the chance to meet those experts in person through the K-State-CGSC Teaching Scholars lecture program.
"This is a great way to expose them to the folks whose books they read, get them a chance to interact with them and get them a chance to hear firsthand from the best minds in America in adult education," said James Martin, associate dean of academics at CGSC.
The program has been ongoing since 2005, bringing two or three experts a year to Fort Leavenworth. For Oct. 7 the speaker was Robert Kegan, professor in Adult Learning and Professional Development at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. The next teaching scholar is scheduled to visit in the spring.
Ellen Bogdan, director of faculty and staff development division at CGSC, said the program also helps CGSC faculty fulfill their professional development requirements. The sessions are open to anyone in the community, Bogdan said, and civilian and military staff from directorates around Fort Leavenworth often participate.
"We have asked the staff and faculty what areas of interest they have, and we've tapped into professionals that are going to enhance the instructional effectiveness of folks who work here at the college and who work in other teaching directorates on post," she said.
Royce Ann Collins, assistant professor of adult education at K-State, said the program helps expose best instructional practices to people with military backgrounds and little experience in teaching.
"Many of the CGSC faculty and staff are new to the field of education," she said. "They have spent their lives in careers that give them expertise to teach a content area, but do not understand the art of creating a stimulating learning environment. The Teaching Scholars program provides tools for these faculty to take back to their classrooms."
Collins said she strongly encourages her master's and doctoral students to take advantage of the Teaching Scholars sessions.
Cheryl Polson, program coordinator for K-State, said there are 50 CGSC faculty and students working on their master's in adult education and 25 pursuing doctorates through the university.
"K-State recognized that CGSC has many excellent instructors who have already completed their academic degrees but were still seeking professional development opportunities," she said.
Polson said the program was initially created to support CGSC faculty development phase 4, continuing professional development.
"A byproduct has been the unique opportunity for faculty pursing their academic degrees in adult education to engage in dialogue with leading scholars and authors whose work has been critical to the field's literature base," she said.
Jon Moilanen, senior military analyst, researcher and writer at the Training and Doctrine Command G-2 Intelligence Support Activity, participates as an Army contractor. He said the credentials of the teaching scholars highlighted the quality that the K-State partnership brings to Fort Leavenworth.
"We learn from each other," he said. "We perceive the educational challenges and opportunities in the coming decade. We charter programs of educational excellence to enhance success of operational missions in the U.S. homeland and diverse locations around the world."
Bogdan said CGSC faculty and staff are notified through e-mail of the Teaching Scholars program before each event.
"I think that what we have learned is the partnership between K-State and faculty development has offered some of the best scholars in the areas of assessment, of adult education, of transformation - and we're bringing them here," she said. "And, I think it is really sparking a lot of interest in topics that are critical to teaching and learning."