USASMA commandant visits NCOA, talks Penn State Fellowship Program

| April 29, 2016 | 1 Comment
Defreese

Defreese

Master Sgt. Pete Mayes
Information Operations/Joint Visitor’s Bureau
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The Army is investing in education opportunities for its Noncommissioned Officers Corps in order to help them prepare the next generations of NCOs.

That is the key message the commandant of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy wanted to impart to senior enlisted Soldiers at a round table discussion during his recent visit to the 25th Infantry Division Noncommissioned Officers Academy.

“They’re investing in us … in our education and our readiness. We have to be smart about this opportunity and not mess this up,” said USASMA Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis E. Defreese.

Defreese and the USASMA deputy commandant, Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Huggins, were on the island visiting the division’s NCO Academy in order to learn more about how they conducted professional development and training of its NCO Corps.

They also took the opportunity to discuss USASMA’s Penn State Fellowship Program, which is intended to offer 20 sergeants major enrolled in the academy a chance to earn a master’s degree in adult education from Penn State University.

Command Sergeant Maj. Jeffrey R. Huggins, deputy commandant of the United States Army SergeantÕs Major Academy, answers questions during a roundtable discussion on the Penn State Fellowship program at the NCO Academy, Wednesday, April 20. The fellowship program is part of a new initiative that will offer brigade level command sergeant majors an opportunity to obtain a masterÕs degree from Penn State University in exchange for becoming an instructor at USASMA as a follow-on assignment.

Command Sergeant Maj. Jeffrey R. Huggins, deputy commandant of the United States Army Sergeant’s Major Academy, answers questions during a roundtable discussion on the Penn State Fellowship program at the NCO Academy, April 20. The fellowship program is part of a new initiative that will offer brigade level command sergeant majors an opportunity to obtain a master’s degree from Penn State University in exchange for becoming an instructor at USASMA as a follow-on assignment.

The yearlong program offers those sergeants major selected as fellows to completely focus on working toward a master’s degree in adult education, as well as a couple of one-week certification courses to be an instructor. After receiving their master’s degree, they can be assigned to the academy for three years as an instructor in the Sergeants Major Course.

Huggins told a group of about 35 promotable master sergeants and battalion-level sergeants major about the need for this fellowship program.

“Officers’ education is required by law. There is nothing that requires us to be educated. We’re trying to make changes over time that will give us what we want,” Huggins said. “When we retire and become civilians, we’ll have something to show for our time in service.”

Defreese said USASMA also has an education partnership with the University of Texas-El Paso for sergeants major wanting to pursue a master’s degree in public administration.

The commandant said he eventually would like to see the day that the Penn State Fellows from USASMA are one day teaching at the U.S. Army War College.

“We want to be able to show that our fellows are just as capable to teach officers,” he said.

According to USASMA standards, potential Penn State University fellows must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, must be active duty Army sergeants major and must be able to complete full fellowship and utilization without interruption. They must be able to pass the Army physical fitness test and be U.S. citizens, too, according to Military Personnel Message 15-045.

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  1. Roy Clariana says:

    I had the privilege to work with these Sergeants Major graduate students in one grad course, they are the best students ever in every category! Bravo!

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