Transitioning from Soldier to Scholar

by George Leef

Members of the military learn a lot of useful skills. The problem is that their knowledge often doesn’t transfer well into college credits — which are (alas) far too important in our credential-mad country.

Today’s Martin Center article by Jay Schalin, “Easing the Transition from Soldier to Scholar,” looks at this problem and points to some beneficial developments.

Schalin writes, “One Defense Department program created to address the problem is known as the Military Micro-Credentials (MIL-CRED) project. According to its website, MIL-CRED aims at ‘designing, developing, and testing a standardized micro-credential model that facilitates the transition of military personnel to civilian careers and educational opportunities.’” This system, he continues, “mirrors the competency-based education model adopted by some innovative civilian institutions, such as the online Western Governors University.”

Another approach entails “providing veterans with college credit that is gaining popularity is to treat military service as ‘experiential learning,’ or ‘prior learning experience,’ in which college credits are given for knowledge gained outside of the classroom.” Most vets who enroll at the University of North Carolina receive at least six credits for their learning while in service.

Schalin foresees increasing cooperation between the military and higher education (well, not all of it of course, but generally). He concludes, “The increasing focus on making them more compatible, such as turning military training into Carnegie credit hours acceptable to academia (when applicable), is indeed a welcome strategy.”

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