RECOGNITION OF CYRIL HOULE’S AND THURMAN WHITE’S WORK IN
ADULT EDUCATION AND THE ARMED FORCES
2003 Hall of Fame Conference
When Cyril Houle began his teaching at the
The War Department, on
By 1945, USAFI had extension branches in
General Educational Development (GED) testing grew out of USAFI. Dr. Francis Spaulding, former Dean of Education at
Spaulding had this idea that for men in the military who had
been drafted out of the high school classroom as they did in World War II, to
take an examination and be granted a high school diploma. Now, of course,
Spaulding knew that Dr. Lindquist in
The USAFI staff designed the
GED battery of tests to measure the major outcomes and concepts generally
associated with four years of high school education. At first, the tests were
administered only to active-duty military personnel and World War II veterans
to assist them in readjusting to civilian life and pursuing higher educational
and vocational goals. The Veterans Testing Service administered the GED Testing
Program under the policy direction and supervision of the Commission on Accreditation
of Service Experiences of the American Council on Education. In 1947 the tests
were administered to non-veteran adults for the first time.
Correspondence instruction and testing were only two of the many initiatives forged in the Armed Services during World War II. At the instigation of USAFI, the American Council on Education commissioned a series of extensive studies involving education of military personnel during World War II. Ginzberg and Bray (1953) provide considerable information on the problems of illiteracy confronting the Army in World War II and efforts to overcome them. Their work was particularly noteworthy in identifying a deep conviction held by many leaders of the Armed Forces that development of literacy was not a responsibility of the military but of the civilian education community. Perhaps the most comprehensive efforts in documenting Army training of illiterates during World War II was done by Samuel Goldberg (1951). His work is valuable for its detail of program development, philosophy and purposes, actual content, and evaluation efforts accomplished. But perhaps the most significant evaluation study was accomplished by Cyril Houle, along with E. W. Burr, T. H. Hamilton, and J. R. Yale. Their research resulted in The Armed Services and Adult Education (1947). Houle concluded that through this very struggle for democracy adult education had been forged as a "new implement for democracy."
In the last chapter of The Armed Services and Adult Education, Houle took the "panoramic description" of the "great variety of activities carried out on an enormous scale" throughout the military during World War II and drew implications for civilian adult educators. Houle designed the conclusions of the evaluation to help civilian adult educators become aware of the resemblances between adult education programs conducted in the military with their own programs and to speculate on whether such resemblances may help solve problems in the greater adult education community.
Houle developed 51 implications that may have bearing on all adult education (see Figure 1 at the bottom of this document). For example, he found the following:
The American Council on
Education's (1994a) Principles of Good Practice for the Voluntary Education
Programs on Military Installations and its companion volume, the Principles
of Good Practice for the Institutions Providing the Voluntary Education
Programs on Military Installations
(1994b), are, in many respects, an extension of Houle's 1947 "Implications." These Principles and
applicable questions serve as categories of review for evaluation of adult
education programs on
Houle's experience with adult education in the Armed services provided him an excellent foundation for lifetime contributions as a world renowned teacher, writer, mentor, and consultant and all that has meant for the adult education movement within the United States and abroad.
An individual that Cyril Houle touched was Thurman White, one of his students. White's contributions to adult and continuing education and the Armed Services must be placed in the context of the late 1960s and decade of 1970s – the Vietnam War and its aftermath.
The decade of the 1960's brought rapid change not only to higher education but also to the military. The community college movement spurred massive development of two-year colleges in many states. By then, nearly every post, camp, and station had off-campus college programs being offered on their installations. Meanwhile, the Vietnam War was heating up. By 1969, hundreds of thousands of American servicemembers were stationed in the
Nathan Brodsky, director for Education Programs and Management Training, Department of Defense (DoD), during an informal discussion at the 1971 Annual Spring Convention of the American Association of Junior Colleges (AAJC) meeting in
Why don't you stop criticizing the Department of Defense and do something about the way colleges and universities throw roadblocks at active-duty servicemen who are trying to get a college education! (Betts & Mallan, 1992).
Betts and Mallan remembered the discussion:
Having captured their attention with his passion, Brodsky continued his assault on the traditions of academe which, he implied, inhibited highly mobile active-duty service personnel from obtaining college degrees. He criticized college transfer policies that frequently erased many servicemember's earned academic credits when they transferred from one college to another and residency requirements which too often stipulated that the last 30 hours (or more) must be spent in residence at the degree-granting college.
This challenge and atmosphere
set the stage for the development of Serviceman's Opportunity Colleges (SOC) (later
changed to "Servicemen's Opportunity Colleges" and still later
changed to gender neutral "Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges")
beginning with the American Association of Junior Colleges (now the American
Association of Community Colleges). By fall, 1972,
Nathan Brodsky approached Allan Ostar, executive director of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) about sponsoring a four-year SOC program. Ostar, a former infantry enlisted man in World War II and correspondence course writer for USAFI at the
It was Jim Nickerson who recruited Thurman White to represent the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) on the SOC Advisory Board and serve as its chair during the late 1970s. Nickerson had known White since the 1940s and wanted "this smooth, quiet and good adult educator" to serve on the SOC Board to help address the many contentious issues facing the Board in this highly troublesome Post
A SOC Advisory Board is constituted with the American Association of Community Colleges having four representatives, and AASCU and the cooperating associations such as NASULGC having one representative each. When White served on the SOC Advisory Board, only higher education members were voting members. The military services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense representative served on the board as non-voting members in an ex officio capacity. During White's service on the Board, it met twice each year for three days per meeting. It took great strength of character to engage in all the issues of the time as well as hammer out the SOC Principles and Criteria, which articulated SOC Principles, SOC Institutional Requirements, SOC Criteria, and SOC Institutional Operating Guidelines. Each institution subscribes to SOC Principles and Criteria as a prerequisite for institutional membership in the SOC consortium. In essence, SOC Principles embody institutional flexibility with thoughtful development of programs and procedures appropriate to the needs of servicemembers, yet recognize the necessity to protect and assure the quality of educational programs.
Following are the Principles upon which SOC was founded:
SOC Criteria stipulate that institutional policies and practices be fair, equitable, and effective in recognizing special and often limiting conditions faced by military students. As a minimum, each SOC institution does the following:
(1) designs its transfer practices to minimize loss of credit
and avoid duplication of course work;
(2) limits academic residency requirements for active-duty servicemembers to no more than 25 percent of the undergraduate degree program and avoids any "final year" or "final semester" residency requirement;
(3) recognizes and uses the American Council on Education's Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services (ACE Guide) to award credit based on military training courses and experience; and/or credits by the Community College of the Air Force
(4) awards credit through the use of at least one nationally recognized, nontraditional learning testing program such as the CLEP, ECE, or DANTES DSST.
The SOC Criteria constitute an
operational framework for each SOC college or
university to extend to servicemembers' educational opportunities that are
sometimes distinct from common institutional practice. The Criteria ensure the
flexibility that is essential to improving the access of servicemembers to
undergraduate education (see Figure 2 at the bottom of this document for the
complete 2003-2005 Servicemembers
Based on the strong foundation
molded during1970s, in part under the leadership of Thurman White, SOC in 2003
is a strong, broad consortium of national education associations and over 1600
colleges and universities are pledged to ease the difficulties of
servicemembers seeking a postsecondary education.
Within the broad consortium, SOC maintains several projects:
The SOC Web Site http://www.soc.aascu.org
allows military educators and students access to SOC information 24 hours a
In summary, it is important to step back and recognize the lasting contributions made by Cyril Houle and Thurman White. They are noted primarily for their work in adult education outside of the military environment. But they have, indeed, left an indelible imprint on adult education and the Armed Services. Servicemembers and veterans benefit greatly from the educational opportunities afforded them through the DoD Voluntary Education Program and the educational benefits administered through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Most of Houle's 51 "Implications" are as true in 2003 as they were in 1947. White has continuously insisted that servicemembers should have educational opportunities as available to other citizens. Further he has ensured that distinguished military educators are included in the International Adult and Continuing Hall of Fame and that recognition and honor are accorded them along with other men and women who have made distinguished contributions to adult and continuing education field throughout the world.
Council on Education. (1994). Principles of good practice
for the voluntary education programs on military installations.
American Council on Education. (1994). Principles of good practice for the institutions providing the voluntary education programs on military installations.
Anderson, C. L (1997). Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges 1972-1997 (Part of SOC Final FY 96 Report to DANTES).
Betts, L. J. & Mallan, J. P. (1992). SOC at twenty-historical reflections. Unpublished manuscript.
Ginzberg, E. & Bray, D. W. (1953). The uneducated.
: New York Press. Columbia University
Goldberg, S. (1951). Army training of illiterates in World War II.
: Teachers College, New York . Columbia University
[EXCERPTS FROM THE ARMED SERVICES AND ADULT EDUCATION, by Cyril O. Houle, Elbert W. Burr, Thomas H. Hamilton, and John R. Yale (1947)]
(An explosion of educational opportunities for servicemembers occurred during World War II with the formation of the Army Institute in
are the implications of an of the off-duty education programs of the armed
services for all of civilian education? ...when programs of the magnitude of
those of the armed services are to be related to the extremely diverse
enterprises of modern civilian adult education, it is necessary to make careful
distinctions lest one fall into a morass of confusion and uncertainty. There
are two ways in which one adult educational program may be said to have
implications for another: (1) when the first is similar in character to the
second, and (2) when the existence of the first materially changes the
character or scope of the second. ...All lines of evidence available indicate
that the phenomenal growth of adult education will continue. Only yesterday the
high school was attended by the few; now it is attended by the many. Similarly
adult education even yet is for the few; it is reasonable to suppose that, as a
result of broad social forces and an increasing individual realization of the
values of learning, it win become the concern of the many. ...In the future it
is likely that the Army and Navy off-duty programs will be considered to have
been among the first of the large-scale adult educational activities. It
appears important, therefore, to identify and record any principles which
educators in the armed services discovered or which they supported by additional
data, even through such principles cannot be stated with any finality or
1. Interest in education on the part of adults is very widespread. The success of many of the Army and Navy efforts serves as a powerful argument that, when programs are geared to real adult needs and interests and carried out effectively, mature people will respond.
2. A large "number of service people have been introduced to education as part of their adult experience and will be motivated to continue learning if opportunities are present for them to do so. This conclusion seems clear for two major reasons. First, adults who have become accustomed to the idea of learning will not consider it strange to go on doing so. Second, many have discovered new interests which will lead them on to further learning."
3. Adult educational activities should be introduced into the primary associations and institutions to which people belong. The Army and the Navy were basic social organizations influencing and commanding loyalty of their personnel. Because those organizations themselves conducted programs of adult education, it seemed more natural and right for their personnel to participate in them. ...In civilian life, this same principle obtains, to the extent that there is a community of interest in an ongoing organization.
4. The more education mature people have, the more likely they are to want more. Again and again, both the Army and the Navy found that there was a positive correlation between formal education and participation in their programs. ...This fact has several meanings for civilian adult educators. As more and more of the population is made up of people who have had formal schooling, there will be greater and greater demand for adult education. The most immediate market for adult educational activities is among those who have had formal schooling. And finally, as those who have not had formal schooling are introduced into adult educational activities, the motivation to continue to learn will be increased.
5. Adult educational programs are especially successful where opportunities for recreation are limited. Numerous observers have reported that interest in Army educational programs varied inversely to proximity to organized forms of amusement. On the surface this implies that civilian adult educational agencies will be more successful when they have less competition with organized amusement. More basically it means that people, in their leisure time, will want to do things that they enjoy or from which they get some creative satisfaction.
6. Participation in adult education activities will be increased if they are located geographically close to the students. Army and Navy libraries, for example, found that their circulation was increased if they used a number of branches scattered through a camp or base rather than if they had one single central deposit of books. It might seem that this principle is too obvious to mention were it not for the fact that many adult educational agencies now place primary emphasis on concentrating their program in a few centers of a single location.
7. Adult educational activities may provide for marked increases in racial, religious, and social tolerance. Two different kinds of evidence support this conclusion. Some programs-notably the Army I and E activities-attempted to teach tolerance directly; those responsible for such efforts concluded that they had had some measure of success. More broadly, representatives of all different racial and religious groups participated together without serious difficulty in educational programs. They, therefore, had direct experience in working together toward common objectives.
IMPLICATIONS CONCERNING OBJECTIVES
Programs of adult education must be directed toward the achievement of goals
which the students feel to be real and significant. With monotonous regularity,
programs succeeded when they were based on needs and interests and failed when
they were not.
9. The success of an adult educational program is enhanced if it starts at the level of the student and then proceeds to more abstract or broader things. This, too, is a commonly understood principle which has been borne out by Army and Navy experience. Men who were at first interested in relatively trivial books or classes could be led to have a much broader pattern of interests and understandings.
10. In any large group of mature people, the demand for adult education will be highly diversified and may change greatly from year to year. Those responsible for the Army and Navy programs quickly found that they were dealing with men and women who came from a broad range of backgrounds and therefore had a variety of needs and interests. Programs which were restricted to a few activities never drew as many people as did those which offered a varied bill of fare.
11. The motivations for learning grow in part out of the social climate in which the students live. Army and Navy programs built on interest inventories which explored the desires of individual men and women were frequently not as successful as those which studied the patterns of values created by immediate social groups. A group of "buddies" wanted to take courses together; the choice of the group depended on its pattern of values, frequently being most influenced by the opinions of the natural leader of the group.
12. The attitudes of adults may be changed at least to some extent by the provision of factual information. The orientation programs supported this contention fairly clearly.
13. Almost all people without the basic tools of learning can achieve them if courses are well taught. The Army literacy program succeeded in giving almost all of its students at least fifth-grade competence after several weeks of full-time training.
14. Adults may be more interested in studying broad cultural subjects than has heretofore been thought likely by educators. On a number of Army and Navy bases and in the Army universities overseas, the demand for art, music, dramatics, philosophy, and other kindred subjects far outran expectations. Clearly such courses must be directed toward adult interests but if this condition is met a very broad area of development appears possible.
IMPLICATIONS FOR ADMINISTRATION AND ORGANIZATION
Adult education cannot be successful unless those in charge of the total
organization within which it works are impressed with its role. Always,
throughout the Army and Navy experience, the quality of the off-duty program
was in part a reflection of the interest and cooperation of the higher authorities
in the chain of command. An educational officer could sometimes surmount many
of the obstacles placed in his way by his commandant, but his program was
always made more difficult by them.
16. The organization and administration of a program of adult education should be kept, as far as possible, under local control, and initiative and the development of aspects of the program, uniquely suited to local conditions, encouraged. It may appear surprising that this principle should grow out of the experience of the armed services which, in popular fancy at least, are the best examples of centralized control. One educator who had an excellent opportunity to see the Navy program in many circumstances, however, points out that "the Educational Services officers who depended on the Bureau [of Naval Personne1] became frustrated and beaten individuals; those who lived off the land and developed their own programs on the basis of their own talents and local support they could obtain were, on the other hand, extremely successful in achieving the objectives of the program."
17. An adult educational program will succeed only when there is inspired and driving leadership. It would appear that, in both military and civilian practice, adult education cannot succeed without administrators who are in part leaders and in part promoters in the best sense of that term.
18. Supervisors should be given frequent opportunities to test the practicalities of their recommendations. The Army continually stressed the importance of going to the field-particularly overseas-as the best way to help Pentagon supervisors build programs of real and practical assistance. Civilian programs might well follow the Army's example.
19. Courses offerings in adult education should be organized in integrated blocks of work, each requiring a limited period of time for completion. A large number of Army and Navy officers felt this principle to be of importance. It was particularly appropriate in a situation in which men were often transferred, but it appeared to be true as well in other locations. Most men in the services-like most civilian adults- are not as yet used to extensive learning programs and would rather pursue several short courses, each complete in itself, than one long one.
IMPLICATIONS FOR METHODS
Adults will learn to do a task better if careful explanations are given as to
both the immediate steps to be taken and the larger goal. This principle is
borne out by extensive (Army and Navy) experience and by research investigation.
This principle has applications for virtually every organized and sequential
learning activity designed for mature people.
21. The learning of skills is enhanced by a presentation of the basic theory involved. In a study of inductees at a
reception center, men were placed in two paired groups. One group was asked to participate in a class which presented basic theory and the other was not. The men who participated showed an 18 percent gain in mastery over those who did not participate. 22. The use of a variety of methods is better than reliance on a single method. This principle was followed again and again in the Army and Navy off-duty programs, particularly in attempts at orientation. It rather effectively negates the yearnings of some extremists to establish some one method-usually discussion, apprenticeship, or the presentation of audio-visual aids-as the chief or indeed the only valid method of adult education.
23. At every stage of the instructional process the student should see clearly how his learning is related to the other aspects of his mature life. The functional approach is designed to relate closely to life experiences and needs; by its very nature it promotes and sustains interest. Through this approach the program offers the student immediate use and application for his skills. ...Thus, he comes to realize that education pays profits. Reinforces by this knowledge, he often turns to his studies with renewed interest and effort.
24. Learning will be improved if the student is constantly made to feel responsible for his own education. ...Mature people simply do not understand learning experiences unless they feel they need them. The Army and Navy found that this initial motivation must be maintained or the learning program failed.
25. Informality of approach is helpful in the teaching of adults. Adults expect this kind of freedom and they will respond to it as well in civilian as in military life.
26. In using the discussion method on a sequential basis, greater response will be found if the meetings are regularly scheduled without too much intervening time, if the leaders have some authority and are especially trained, and if the topics are of current or personal importance. This rather specific set of dicta grew out of a study of the Army orientation program in which it was clearly demonstrated that men favored a once-weekly meeting, leadership by the company commander or officers specially trained, and topics pertinent to their immediate situation.
27. The use of the discussion method in educational activities has implications for the more effective performance of the basic work of an agency. It was found in both the Army and Navy that the educational program gave an opportunity for natural leaders to manifest themselves, for men to relieve personally felt tensions, and for problems which need special handling to come to light.
28. Correspondence instruction is a useful device for educating adults. The Army and Navy programs gave great impetus to this kind of instruction and indicated its potentialities to many people.
IMPLICATIONS FOR INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS
The armed services have developed a large number of materials which may be used
directly or with little change by civilian programs. Many instructional
materials were developed to meet such specially
service-related needs that have no peacetime application. A vast range of
others, however, would be exceptionally useful if they could be made available.
Such use requires some method of channeling the resources.
30. Much of the instructional material used for adult education must be especially developed with that use in mind. The Army and Navy found again and again that textbooks and other materials built for high school students were not appropriate for use with adults. Teaching was markedly improved if special materials adapted to the particular purpose of a program were developed centrally by experts, tested out in sample situations, revised, and then made generally available.
31. Instructional materials for adults should be oriented toward the life situations in which mature people usually find themselves. The Army literacy program, for example, loaded its content heavily with content that stressed the military tasks ahead. The individual is made to realize that he cannot be successful in the Army if he is unable to read, write, and perform simple calculations. Motivation thus is intimately associated with the soldier's life pattern as are the instructional methods used.
32. Those who took part in military programs will have an increased respect for print as a vehicle of communication, instruction, and recreation. Books of all types were used by men who had not used books before. Advancements in rating and increase in pay came chiefly through reading and passing examinations-through some other less respectable methods were occasionally used. Survival itself depended in part on learning information contained in books.
33. Instructional materials can be made more widely usable through the inclusion of self-teaching devices. The idea of self-study is an attractive one to Americans, as the success of various "self-teaching" books on bridge, foreign languages, social dancing, and muscle-building clearly shows. The editorial staff of USAFI continually worked to change regular textual materials into self-teaching materials.
34. Phonograph records, coupled with instructional manuals, provide an effective method of teaching foreign languages, music, shorthand, and radio code. The materials used by USAFI proved this rather specific contention beyond any question.
35. The range of knowledge about and experience in the use of audio-visual aids was greatly extended. The Army and Navy used audio-visual aids very extensively and, as a consequence, learned something about them. ...It gradually began to be realized by all but extremists in the field that audio-visual aids are valuable only when they can be fitted easily and well into a program and are directly related to the objective sought.
36. The use of a variety of kinds of materials is more effective than the use of a single kind. It was shown on many occasions in the Army and Navy that visual devices were more effective when coupled with other methods of presentation.
IMPLICATIONS FOR LEADERS AND LEADER TRAINING
A large number of persons were for the first time concerned with the teaching
and administration of adults educational activities.
The successful conduct of the off-duty programs required a large number of
persons to serve as leaders. Since such persons do not exist in large numbers
in civilian life, it was necessary for the Army and Navy to impress into this
kind of service a wide variety of people-school teachers and administrative
officers, college teachers, librarians, and many others whose connection with
formal education had been even more tenuous. Such persons had to learn about
adult education the hard way, but many did learn. They returned to civilian
life with some competence in adult education. ...Also significant will be the
interest of many persons who are not connected with formal education in
civilian life but whose experience as leaders in the off-duty programs will
lead them to give support and encouragement as citizens and possible leaders to
38. Students in the armed services programs considered the quality of the instructor to be one of the most effective factors in the success of such programs. While this principle can hardly be considered new, it is interesting and significant to realize that civilian experience was borne out in the military programs.
39. Many persons who have marked competence in subject matter skills or understandings may be used as instructors for adult educational activities. Both the Army and Navy were able to organize classes nearly anywhere and in nearly any subject-matter area.
40. The ability of teachers of adults may be markedly improved by training in methods of instructing mature persons. The Army particularly stressed method and attempted to give some training in this regard to the people who took part in its program.
IMPLICATIONS FOR GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING
The need for counseling and guidance among adults is very great. It is
frequently thought that mature people have achieved a stage in life in which
they are able to solve their own problems satisfactorily. The experience of the
Army and Navy would uniformly tend to disapprove this conclusion. The need for
counseling was emphasized perhaps more than any other point by persons who were
consulted by the authors of this study. They (service personnel) require assistance
in analyzing their educational needs and selecting those learning experiences
which will help them to meet them.
42. A truly effective adult educational program cannot be established or maintained without guidance procedures. Both the Army and the Navy found that, where guidance was not available, men and women failed to engage in those activities which would be most helpful to them; consequently the retention rate was often extremely low.
43. A sound program of guidance rests in part on effective testing and evaluative procedures. The enormous size of the armed services required classification systems of great magnitude. These systems were based in part on comprehensive testing programs. It was found by both the Army and Navy educational officers that guidance was greatly facilitated by the information thus provided. In addition, specialized testing procedures were used in many programs.
IMPLICATIONS FOR STUDENT RECRUITMENT
The more people know of the availability of adult educational programs, the
more they will participate. Studies in both the Army and the Navy showed that
men who knew of the availability of the educational program and had a good bit
of specific information about it were more apt to participate. Both services,
therefore, used extensive publicity, based on modern advertising methods, to
45. Basically recruitment of students rests on the excellence of the program. Despite the necessity for the use of promotional techniques as pump primers, there is a great deal of evidence to show that the most effective asset for recruitment in both the Army and Navy was a good program, and that educational officers who concentrated on sound objectives and techniques had no difficulty in securing students.
IMPLICATIONS FOR EVALUATION
Research in evaluation will improve the effectiveness of an adult educational
program. The research findings supported sound educational principles which
would otherwise have lacked concreteness and concerning which it might have
been particularly difficult to convince old-line Army and Navy officers.
Individual student progress was also evaluated extensively; as a result
students were given ideas concerning their accomplishment and the respects in
which they needed further improvement.
47. Attitude surveys are a helpful means of attuning an educational program to the needs of adults, particularly since such surveys are welcomed by participants. The value of such studies has been amply demonstrated in the preceding pages (of this work).
IMPLICATIONS FOR FINANCE
If a program can be objectively demonstrated to be useful and practical,
objections to expenditures for it are less intense. This technique was used
again and again with telling effect by those responsible for both Navy and Army
49. Evidences of student interest in an adult educational program make it more possible to secure funds. Despite the fabled rigidity of control from the top down in the Army and Navy, officers tended to be impressed if the men in their command showed a wholehearted enthusiasm for the educational program. Such enthusiasm was used as an effective argument for more funds. Frequently adult educational agencies, particularly those provided at public expense, are timid about extending their program, pleading that they do not have adequate resources to extend a new service to all the people who might use it. The military experience would indicate that, if people like a service, their enthusiasm may be used to secure greater financial support, particularly when those served are themselves taxpayers.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PHYSICAL FACILITIES
Facilities used for adult education should be informal, flexible, and
attractive. This principle is true for all education but it is particularly
required for adults who voluntarily attend educational activities and who
expect to find the facilities available attractive and useful. Both Army and
Navy found that this principle held true.
51. Physical facilities must be designed in terms of the physical size of adults. It would seem almost impossible for a principle to be more self-evident than this one. Yet both military services and civilian agencies were often satisfied to undertake programs in facilities which were ludicrous for mature men and women. As a result, programs were seriously hampered and the drop-out rate was high.
Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC), a consortium of national higher education associations, functions in cooperation with the Department of Defense (DoD), the Military Services including the National Guard, and the Coast Guard to help meet the voluntary higher education needs of servicemembers.
Hundreds of thousands of servicemembers, civilian employees of DoD, the Military Services including the National Guard, the Coast Guard, and family members enroll annually in programs offered by more than a thousand colleges, universities, and postsecondary occupational and technical institutions. These voluntary programs are a significant joint venture and require strong commitment and coordination among academic institutions and agencies, the Military Services including the National Guard, the Coast Guard, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).
SOC is a vehicle to help coordinate voluntary postsecondary educational opportunities for servicemembers. SOC does this by
achieve its goals, SOC is founded on principles agreed to collectively by the
higher education community through the SOC Advisory Board, the Office of the
Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Military Services including the National Guard,
and the Coast Guard.
SOC Principles are predicated upon such principles as those set forth in the Joint Statement on the Transfer and Award of Credit of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), the American Council on Education (ACE), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and are drawn principally from the cumulative experience of educational institutions and agencies judged successful in their work with servicemembers. The Principles embody a needed institutional flexibility with thoughtful development of programs and procedures appropriate to the needs of servicemembers, yet recognize the necessity to protect and assure the quality of educational programs.
Principle 1. In order to enhance their military effectiveness and
to achieve their educational, vocational, and career goals, servicemembers
should share in the postsecondary educational opportunities available to other
Principle 2. Educational programs for servicemembers should rely primarily on programs, courses, and services provided by appropriately accredited institutions and organizations, including high schools, postsecondary vocational and technical schools, colleges, and universities.
Principle 3. To enhance access to undergraduate educational opportunities for servicemembers, institutions should maintain a necessary flexibility of programs and procedures, particularly in admissions, credit transfer, and recognition of other applicable learning, including that gained in the military; in scheduling and format of courses; and in academic residency requirements to offset servicemembers' mobility, isolation from campuses, and part-time student status.
SOC INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP
Institutional members of SOC may be entire institutions or appropriate subdivisions (e.g., colleges, schools, or major divisions). To become an institutional member of SOC, an institution must meet three requirements:
INITIAL CONDITIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP
Institutional members must meet the following conditions:
Inherent in the SOC Principles are expectations and standards essential to their translation into performance and action. The SOC Criteria express those expectations and standards and constitute an operational framework for SOC member institutions to extend to servicemembers undergraduate educational opportunities that are sometimes distinct from common institutional practice. The Criteria characterize flexibility essential to the improvement of access by servicemembers to undergraduate educational programs. The Criteria stipulate that institutional policies and practices be fair, equitable, and effective in recognizing special and often limiting conditions faced by military students.
Criterion 1. Transfer of Credit.
Since mobility makes it unlikely that a servicemember can complete all degree program requirements at one institution, a SOC institution designs its transfer practices for servicemembers to minimize loss of credit and avoid duplication of coursework, while simultaneously maintaining the integrity of its programs. It is recognized that SOC institutions must maintain quality and integrity within a complex academic and regulatory environment where resource, regulatory, and academic realities sometimes militate against the broad spirit of flexibility that SOC advocates. Consistent with this reality and with the requirements of a servicemember's degree program, a SOC institution follows the general principles of good practice outlined in the Joint Statement on the Transfer and Award of Credit. Each institution may be required to submit documentary evidence that it generallyaccepts credits in transfer from other accredited institutions, and that its credits in turn are generally accepted by other accredited institutions.
Criterion 2. Academic Residency Requirements.
A SOC institution limits academic residency requirements for active-duty servicemembers to no more than 25 percent of the undergraduate degree program; recognizes all credit course work offered by the institution as applicable in satisfying academic residency requirements; and allows servicemembers to satisfy academic residency requirements with courses taken from the institution at any time during their program of study, specifically avoiding any "final year" or "final semester" residency requirement, subject to stated requirements in specific course areas such as majors. (Institutions joining SOC primarily for the purpose of participating in the Concurrent Admissions Program (ConAP) are exempted from this criterion.)
Criterion 3. Crediting Learning from Military Training and Experience.
A SOC institution provides processes to determine credit awards and learning acquired for specialized military training and occupational experience when applicable to a servicemember's degree program. A SOC institution recognizes and uses the ACE Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services in determining the value of learning acquired in military service, and awards credit for appropriate learning acquired in military service at levels consistent with ACE Guide recommendations and/or those transcripted by the Community College of the Air
Force, when applicable to a servicemember's program.
Criterion 4. Crediting Extra-Institutional Learning.
Recognizing that learning occurs in extra-institutional and non-instructional settings, a SOC institution provides processes to evaluate and award appropriate undergraduate level credit for such learning through practices that reflect the principles and guidelines in the statement on Awarding Credit for Extrainstitutional Learning. This shall include awarding credit through use of one or more of the nationally recognized, non-traditional learning testing programs provided for servicemembers by the OSD, such as described in the ACE Guide to Educational Credit by Examination. These examinations include CLEP, DSST, and ECE whether or not they supplement institutional challenge examinations or test-out procedures.
SOC INSTITUTIONAL OPERATING GUIDELINES
addition to the SOC
Criteria, some operating
guidelines can be drawn from the SOC Principles and the experience of
educational institutions and agencies that have shown success and quality in
their educational offerings to servicemembers.
These guidelines should be viewed as desired institutional behavior for SOC
Admissions. In recognition of the preparation and experience of many servicemembers, SOC institutions facilitate the admission and enrollment of qualified candidates by providing means to determine levels of ability and achievement of servicemembers. Admissions practices, developed primarily for recent high school graduates, often work to the disadvantage of a servicemember who may be qualified for college-level work, yet may be unable to satisfy commonly imposed requirements. Specialized training and experience in the Military Services or elsewhere, that may qualify individuals for college admissions and credit, often go unrecognized.
To facilitate admission and enrollment of qualified servicemembers, SOC institutions
Extra-Institutional Learning. The
military is an employer committed to providing genuine access to educational
opportunity clearly connected to military workplace learning. In recognition of
this commitment, SOC institutions help Service members and veterans to
incorporate credits in their degree programs based on collegiate-level learning
achieved not only through formal school training but also through occupational
experience, and nationally recognized, non-traditional learning testing
programs. This learning can occur both in the military and in civil society.
Military occupational experience represents a legitimate area of learning outside the formal classrooms of specialized military training courses. A SOC institution should recognize the value of such experience and award appropriate credit for Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) and Navy Rates and Ratings as recommended by the ACE Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services.
Learning may also be acquired through other experience, civilian non-collegiate courses, and collegiate non-traditional courses. Courses in the last group have evaluative mechanisms vouched for by the operating institution. Credit recommendations for training courses offered by business and industry, government, labor unions, and other public and private sectors are given in the ACE National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs, the ACE Guide to Educational Credit by Examination, and A Guide to Educational Programs in Noncollegiate Organizations by the Board of Regents, The University of the State of New York.
The portfolio evaluation method, sponsored by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and used in some form by hundreds of institutions, is also an important aid in determining credit equivalence and applicability of experiential learning.
Distance Learning. Increasing numbers of accredited colleges and universities offer distance learning opportunities to qualified students. Distance learning comes in a wide variety of modalities including on-line courses, video cassette courses, paper-based correspondence courses, instructor-enhanced independent study courses, and many variations of these and other methodologies. Instruction can occur synchronously among sites using a network of videoteleconferencing systems and locations. Most often instruction is asynchronous whereby students do not engage in learning together at a distance on a pre-set schedule. With distance learning, as with extra-institutional learning, SOC institutions must determine the comparability of the nature, content, and level of transfer credit in relation to their own course offerings. SOC institutions are diligent in evaluating the appropriateness and applicability of credits earned in transfer through distance learning from properly regionally and nationally accredited institutions. Generally SOC institutions can determine comparability by examining the course learning outcomes, course descriptions and other materials obtained from institutional catalogues, and from direct contact between knowledgeable and experienced faculty and staff at both the receiving and sending institutions.
DANTES provides useful listings of available independent study courses in its Independent Study Catalog and distance learning programs in its External Degree Catalog.
To enhance study opportunities for servicemembers, SOC institutions
Graduate Education. SOC Institutional Operating Guidelines facilitate graduate program admissions, enrollment, and degree completion by servicemembers. SOC institutions offering graduate programs:
Institutional Commitment. In order to
achieve consistent application of policy in offering programs for
servicemembers, SOC institutions make appropriate assignment of responsibility
and monitor institutional performance in the delivery of such programs.
Programs for military students, whether offered on-campus or on an installation, require added institutional attention and supervision. Procedures that may have been effective for the usual campus or student population no longer suffice. The nature of the institutional commitment to servicemembers needs to be made clear to institutional representatives as well as to the student.
Demonstrating their understanding of and commitment to servicemembers, SOC institutions
Veterans' Services. For
veterans returning to civilian life to begin or continue study, civilian SOC
institutions provide appropriate evaluation of their training, experience, and
prior study and other services similar to that afforded servicemembers. Some of
the SOC Criteria apply equally to the institution's treatment of
veterans-admission practices, transfer of credit and recognition of other forms
of learning, including military experience. When a servicemember has completed the residency requirement while
on active duty at a SOC college, that college is obliged to recognize that fact
when the servicemember becomes a veteran.
Although broader instructional offerings and services may be available to
returning veterans, counseling, evaluation, and planning are of particular
importance in assisting them to reach their personal and career goals.
Recognizing the continuing educational needs of veterans, civilian SOC institutions
Family Members' and DoD Civilians' Services. Families of active-duty servicemembers and DoD civilians, including Non-Appropriated Fund (NAF) employees, experience many of the same kinds of disruptions in pursuing a college degree as do active-duty servicemembers. Because of that, SOC institutions assist them by extending the considerations described for veterans under Veterans' Services.
Figure 2. Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges SOC Principles and Criteria