WASHINGTON — The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 signed into law Dec. 27, 2021, establishes the United States Naval Community College.
The NDAA also grants the USNCC authority to grant degrees under the condition that these degrees are accredited by a civilian academic credentialing authority.
“We are very excited to have achieved this milestone after all the work our team has put into developing a quality institution and program for our Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen,” said Randi R. Cosentino, Ed.D., president of the USNCC. “With this, we can continue to work towards the accreditation aspect of our school.”
Currently, the men and women of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard who attend the USNCC will have their degrees accredited and granted by the USNCC’s contracted partner institutions through an established consortium agreement. For example, the students pursuing an associate of arts with interdisciplinary courses focused in Military Studies will have their degree granted by Arizona State University, which is the institution contracted to teach the majority of the courses for that degree program. ASU was selected October 1 as the first institution to participate in the USNCCs current pilot program.
Achieving accreditation is a multi-year, complex process towards which the USNCC has already begun working with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
“The USNCC will be seeking accreditation through the MSCHE specifically because of its extensive experience with other military institutions – the US Naval Academy, US Military Academy, US Army War College, US Merchant Marine Academy – and is familiar with the unique funding and oversight structures necessitated by being a part of the federal government,” said Bob Kozloski, chief of staff for the USNCC.
Part of the accreditation process includes a review of the courses taught by the applying college. The USNCC began January 10, 2022, piloting its first course, Naval Studies 101 – Introduction to Naval Ethics and Leadership, with 127 students from the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. This group of students will pilot all five courses the USNCC intends to offer over the course of the year. These five courses comprise the USNCC’s Naval Studies Certificate, which will be the core of every degree program the USNCC offers.
“The course is off to a great start with students from all over the globe taking part in it from their locations on base and afloat,” said Chuck Cushman, Ph.D., dean of academic programs for the USNCC. “We are learning how best to support our students as they access the course, do their assignments, and communicate with each other and their faculty members.”
The first naval studies course provides students with the foundational knowledge to assist them in understanding their role as a member of the U.S. military. This is done through the use of a moral deliberation road map which includes moral deliberation, moral excellence, and the just war tradition. This course also provides a deeper knowledge of the ethical demands of combat and a basic understanding and contemporary thought on the theoretical complexities inherent in military service. As each of the naval studies courses are built with the intention of aligning with a comparable course at the other colleges in the USNCC’s consortium, the Naval Ethics and Leadership course is intended to align with an introductory-level Philosophy course.
“We are most lethal when we are trained and educated,” said Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy E. Black. “The U.S. Naval Community College provides our warfighters not only with the education to be a capable decision-maker on the battlefield, but also an accomplished decision-maker for our American society.”
Active duty enlisted Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen interested in participating in the USNCC’s pilot program can fill out an application on the USNCC website, www.usncc.edu.
The United States Naval Community College is the community college for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. To get more information about the USNCC, go to www.usncc.edu. Click on the student interest form link to learn how to be a part of the USNCC Pilot II program.