As higher education evolves, the U.S. Naval Community College (USNCC) stands out as a newly established institution within the Department of the Navy (DoN). The DoN’s mission is to maintain, train, and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas. Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen have an incredibly important responsibility to keep our nation safe while being prepared to dominate the battlespace in the case of conflict. The amount of training, preparation, and hard work that entails are unceasing and substantial.
To further the DoN’s mission of having the best prepared and most effective maritime fighting force, the USNCC was established to support and provide naval-relevant education opportunities for enlisted service members to make them better warfighters and connect them to lifelong learning.
The USNCC Pilot I began on January 1, 2021, and concluded this June. Approximately 550 students from all three services were supported in four different program areas - Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, Nuclear Engineering, and Military Studies. The purpose of Pilot I was to support data collection and validation for the USNCC while also providing access to funded college courses for our pilot students. In addition, the goal was to understand students’ interests, motivations, and challenges, as well as aspects of program design and delivery, and consortium approach.
The Consortium model is key to how the USNCC plans to deliver its degree programs. Specifically, the USNCC plans to deliver the components of the program that it is uniquely qualified to deliver (including the Naval Studies Core Certificate), and we will partner with a select group of institutions to support the delivery of other components of the program, including the professional concentration area.
As a newly established institution, we understand that there are many questions regarding what might be unique about the USNCC and why it is different from military Tuition Assistance (TA) programs that enlisted service members may access. Also, why is it important for the Department of the Navy to develop the USNCC, and what will make it valuable? Finally, what impact will there be on ACE credit recommendations in the future?
For answers to these questions, a review of our results of Pilot I, and plans for moving ahead in Pilot II, please join Dr. Randi Cosentino and AACRAO interim director, Melanie Gottlieb, in this upcoming AACRAO webinar on August 25.