By COL Richard D. Kitchen
Professor of History
We would like to introduce you to a new endeavor at New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI). Our NMMI Graduates must be able to lead in a global society.” As part of our strategic direction we need to “develop organizations and processes … to meet the challenges and educational needs of a global society and those who will become its leaders.” These future leaders are to “become successful citizens of character capable of providing sound ethical leadership in challenging global environments.” In order to do so, one of our objectives is to “Establish and maintain programs that support global learning.”
This aligns with one of the goals stated in The Heart of the Matter, a report of the American Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, which is “Equip the nation for leadership in an interconnected world.” In order to do so they argue for the need to “Support study abroad and international exchange programs” in part, “because government agencies including the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce as well as the U.S. military require the kinds of expertise that students can acquire only through advanced study and immersion in other cultures.”
Charles M. Vest, former president of the National Academy of Engineering and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has also stated that “All the scientific and technological skills of which we can conceive will not solve our world problems if we do not build and adapt a base of human and cultural understanding; ethical and moral underpinnings; sensible rules of law for the 21st century; and integration with the insights, inspirations, and communications of the arts.”
As such NMMI is in the process of organizing a study abroad course, with plans to eventually morph into a program all departments can utilize. Cadets, 18 years or older, who demonstrate academic competence with a minimum of 2.6 cumulative GPA and are in good standing (No drug or alcohol related issues ever, no critical offenses ever) qualify for this program. No foreign language skills are required. Cadets will fulfill assignments and submit a Final Project for credit. This course is one example and part of, the Dean’s newly developed Internationalization Program that is defining NMMI as a Global Military School for Leadership Development.
Reasons for having Study Abroad
- The program will immerse students in a diverse, multicultural educational environment consistent with the NMMI mission, preparing its graduates for leadership roles in the global community.
- Cadets can develop the values and skills of civic participation through participation.
- Cadets can develop perspectives preparing students for participation in a world economy and global citizenship.
- Cadets can broaden cultural interests or civic awareness, contributing to cadets’ role as responsible citizens.
- Requires each participant to think, and inquire, for themselves.
- Study Abroad can open up more school and career opportunities.
- Today’s students need to have experience with different cultures in today’s complex and diverse world.
- Due to the variety of different scenarios faced, cadets can improve project management and decision-making skills.
- With the swift pace of technology, it is imperative that we stay abreast of other cultures as cadets interact with people from all over the world.
- As world cultures evolve and often clash it is important that our students study and understand the changing relationship of the United States with the new cultural atmosphere abroad.
- One study points out that “none of the elements of U.S. national power – diplomatic, military, intelligence, or economic – explicitly takes adversary culture into account for the formulation or execution of policy.” (Military Review April 2005)
- A press release in 2003 urged governmental leaders to improve cultural awareness training.
- The United States Army instituted a program in 2006 of sending mid-level officers to a Cultural Anthropology course to aid in their missions, especially addressing miscommunication problems. (CNN World News Online 6 February 2006)
- Cultural Anthropologists have been imbedded into military teams in Afghanistan. (New York Times Online 4 October 2007)
- A survey of global human resource executives revealed that “Cultural awareness/sensitivity/tolerance” and “international perspective” topped the list of valued attributes when looking at prospective employees. (Global HR News, April 2007) This means our cadets, especially considering our emphasis, need this perspective to vault ahead of others in post-college competition.
- Will help answer the following questions:
What will the interplay of all of these forces have on our students – our future?
How, for example, have recent changes culturally, economically, and politically around the world affected the United States militarily or the country at large? As these changes continue, what will the interplay of all these forces have on United States society and our students – the future leaders?
Benefits to NMMI and Cadets
- Students could gain credit during the summer, allowing a more open schedule for Fall and Spring semesters.
- It would help in recruitment by providing a program of interest to students and to possible later employers.
- Cadet retention could be improved through adding another program of interest that would require appropriate academic and corps standing.
- The program could be expanded later to include other areas and courses.
- The program will help NMMI stay current in this era of globalization while also expanding awareness of NMMI to international organizations and institutions.
- Faculty benefits as students would be able to spend more time on courses taken during the regular school-year.
- Students exposed to such programs have shown increased openness to other courses as well.
- Provides alternate methods of instruction, aiding understanding of topics.
- Studies have shown employers are interested in candidates with an awareness of other cultures in this era of globalization.
- It would increase recruitment possibilities as well.
Anyone interested in learning more about this program should contact either MAJ Cristhina Starke, Deputy Director of International Programs, 575-624-8372 or email Starke@nmmi.edu. You can also contact Dr. Richard Kitchen at 575-624-8177 or send an email to email@example.com.
Those interested in providing financial support can learn more by contacting BG Douglas Murray, Dean of Academics 575-624-8020, Dmurray@nmmi.edu, or LTC Kalith Smith, Director of Toles Learning Resource Center, 575-624-8381 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.