By Karen Spurgeon, Ed.D., Civilian Education System ProfessorMarch 14, 2008
Assisting in the development of civilian leaders who thrive in diverse situations is one of the tasks of the Army Management Staff College. Creating multi-functional leaders for the future is one of the tasks of the U.S. Army Materiel Command Fellows program.
Watching these two functions align was a privilege.
Since AMC Fellows are already challenged to be successful in a variety of settings demonstrating knowledge and skill across disciplines, welcoming Fellow, Ursula Burkhalter, to the recent Intermediate Course at Fort Leavenworth, was a pleasure.
She brought a confluence of energy and ideas to every group discussion. She willingly reevaluated her competencies at every phase, following the models provided in collaboration with other veteran leaders/students from the class.
In doing so, she encouraged all of us to increase our awareness of our thought processes and actions. She frequently noted that the lessons were an "innovative means for delivering leadership education."
Burkhalter took every opportunity to observe and question her seminar classmates, commenting, "The Intermediate Course is like a jigsaw puzzle; each class experience fits together perfectly with the next. The final puzzle, however, is unique to each individual."
Her enthusiasm was magnetic, and she continually challenged her own knowledge and expertise. In fact, the class comprised of many other successful Army civilians who joined her in accomplishing the many critical tasks of the course. Everyone benefitted from the dynamic conversations and outcomes.
Since reflection and thoughtful introspection are key elements of IC, Burkhalter said, "The self reflection involved in this course is amazing. The group activities are designed to allow you ample opportunity to examine how your own values and principles impact your role as a leader. The Intermediate Course is not a textbook course with direct instructor to pupil instruction-it is a journey of active learning about leadership principles."
Special accolades should be included for the AMC mentorship panel. It demonstrated the foresight to allow this Fellow to participate in our civilian education opportunity. The mutual advantage is obvious. Few internships offer the kind of support and benefits provided by AMC for their fellowships. When AMC recognized the value of connecting educational lines with AMSC leadership development courses for their recruits, the significance was exponential.
In her concluding thoughts Burkhalter said, "The Army Management Staff College places great emphasis on developing leaders with the adept ability to exercise critical thinking-that correlates with the Army Transformation strategy."
Since transformation and rightsizing are clearly the future for Army civilians, (bringing with it an additional requirement for capable multi-functional leadership) we can be confident that Burkhalter and others like her are up to the challenge.