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Members of U.S. Army War College Visit Campus

March 14, 2014 - by Hannah Shaffer

ALLIANCE, Ohio – For the fourth consecutive year, members of the Eisenhower College Series Program at the U.S. Army War College visited the University of Mount Union.

Students at Mount Union and community members gained knowledge on the armed forces, leadership styles, military life and balancing values while hearing from the guests in a variety of formats.

While in the Eisenhower Program, these high-ranking officials work toward an open dialogue with the general public, sharing their honest personal views and answering questions about an array of topics through visits to approximately a dozen schools per year. 

The visitors commented that less than one percent of the American population is currently in the military so the Eisenhower Program strives to increase conversations between those in the armed forces and everyday civilians.

Visitors this year included Lt. Colonel Stephen Van Riper, Colonel Michael Daniels, Lt. Colonel Paul “Tim” Brooks, Lt. Colonel Deydre Teyhen and Department of the Army Civilian Ann Wood. Larry Miller, a member of the faculty at the war college, accompanied the group. 

In an open session with students, participants discussed leadership, peacemaking, family life and national security. 

Each had something different to offer to the discussion but agreed that in order to be a good leader, one must care about others.

“Take the time to invest in your people,” Lt. Col Van Riper said.

In regard to making change and keeping peace, Wood explained that patience is necessary as it takes a long time to change attitudes and behaviors. Van Riper stated they will always look for a better solution than war, but people will not always be peaceful.

“You can’t have equality without security,” Lt. Col Van Riper said.

When asked whether leadership skills are within an individual or can be taught, the group was in agreement that it is 50% nature and 50% nurture. While Col Daniels stated, “you can’t teach empathy,” he also agreed with Wood’s statement that education can help people become engaged and interact.

Students learned that military families have many opportunities along with numerous hardships. While they may have the chance to travel to exciting locations all over the world, they also must endure countless moves and separation from schools, family and friends they love.

Wood pointed out that far more men than woman hold leadership roles in the military as most women opt out in exchange for family. She assured that the military has recognized this and is questioning how they can make a change so bright, educated women can fulfil those roles without giving up a family.

 “This life gives us the chance to give our family many opportunities. You just have to make sure to nurture the family and relationships,” Lt. Brooks said. “As long as I am given challenges in my work, I want to stay. It’s a great life.”

In addition to the open session for all students, the high ranking officials also spent time visiting courses including Asian Civilization, Phycology of Gender, Introduction to National Security and Intelligence and Research Methods and Evidence Based Medicine among others covering multiple topics and sharing with more 150 students throughout the day.

After visiting the classroom, the War College students did an interview with Channel 11. 

A public roundtable dinner discussion concluded the visit with approximately 60 community members, students and faculty in attendance.  During this session the guests spent time in intimate conversations with small groups. 

“Tonight was a wonderful program, it was a great opportunity to discuss an array of topics with current members of the armed forces,” said community member and former U.S. Army helicopter pilot Joshua Cioci. “Their knowledge and experience gave all of us a unique perspective on current issues.”

Students in attendance also enjoyed the event.

 “Listening to these men and women speak was a great experience,” said senior Sarah Kelly. “Their stories and wisdom made for an extremely interesting evening.”

The day’s events were coordinated and sponsored by the Regula Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement at Mount Union.

Harry Paidas, Director of the Regula Center, feels this is one of the Center’s best programs.

“We were grateful to have the U.S. Army War College ambassadors at Mount Union,” Paidas said. “Their sessions with our students and the general public are insightful as we determine the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ behind the ‘whats’ of our military strategy. Their visit fits well with the Center’s mission of trying to drive people towards public service of all kinds.”

The Regula Center at Mount Union executes a range of activities for students while doing outreach in the community as well.  More information can be found at www.mountunion.edu or by contacting Abby Honaker, Assistant Director at honakeal@mountunion.edu.

The Eisenhower Series College Program is a United States Army War College program that was created in 1969. The program provides institutions the opportunity to encourage interaction between students in the program and the general public while creating interest regarding national security matters, public policy issues and military life.

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