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Where leaders learn

Fort Leavenworth officers gain higher degrees through K-State


Cheryl Polson (center) and the spring class of K-State graduatesMajor Josh Higgins wanted to pursue a master’s degree while attending U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

He found the K-State master's program in adult education offered at the fort to be an excellent fit.

"This program draws on what I do in the Army and will help me significantly with what I'll do when I finish the Command and General Staff College program," said Higgins, who will soon be a battalion executive officer.

"When you really boil it down, training is education, and I've come to the realization that every soldier and officer is an adult learner."

Higgins is one of 45 Fort Leavenworth students -- 30 majoring in adult education, 10 in security studies and five in operations research -- who received their master's degrees from K-State in May.

K-State has been offering courses at Fort Leavenworth since the 1970s, but the degrees and formats have changed over the years, said Cheryl Polson, director of K-State-Fort Leavenworth, associate dean of the Graduate School and professor of educational leadership.

K-State serves the Leavenworth area with courses and degree programs including master's degrees in adult education, security studies and operations research, and doctorates in adult education, military history and security studies.

Most classes are offered on post and are delivered in a variety of methods: face-to-face and via video teleconferencing and the Web, Polson said.

The master's degree program in adult education is the largest, with 45 to 50 graduates each year. It offers two cohorts, one starting in August and the second in February.

"This degree has a direct application to the work that military professionals do on a daily basis, be that in the course of conducting training, presenting briefings and developing leaders," Polson said.

"While at Fort Leavenworth, students at the United States Command and General Staff College are instructed in the tactical and operational art, and the adult education program assists them in understanding how to effectively impart that knowledge," Polson said.

Will Bowman, a major who earened a master's in adult education, said he sought a school that had a long history of being well respected.

"K-State has a great reputation, and this degree essentially reinforces what I do in the military," Bowman said. "I'm learning about putting together programs for adult students, and in the Army there is a lot of training and education of soldiers."

Bowman and Higgins agree that interaction between faculty and students has been one of the most rewarding aspects of the program.

"All of the instructors are incredible," Bowman said. "They come from all walks of life and they bring unique perspectives."

The program "really complemented what we were learning at the Command and General Staff College," Higgins said. "Now I have a strong educational foundation for my future and what I'll do after my military career."


Photo: Cheryl Polson (center) and the spring class of K-State graduates at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. The popular master's degree in adult education "has a direct application to the work that military professionals do on a daily basis," Polson said.