It’s time for another episode about the U.S. Army War College’s Distance Education program. COL Heather Smigowski, Chair of the Department of Distance Education (DDE), is back in the studio, and this time she’s brought along two joint military and one civilian graduate of the DDE program. Ken Hills, Donna Jenkins and Mark Nibert join Heather and podcast host Ron Granieri for a conversation about their time in the program. The discussion focuses on how to prepare for the two-year program, what surprised each of them about the curriculum, some tips and tricks for success, and where they’ve seen payoffs since graduation. No surprise, the recurring themes are that time management, discipline, and sacrifice are necessary to take full advantage of the tremendous opportunities distance education offers.
And just in case the Army’s DDE program doesn’t work for you, Ken was contractually obligated as the Vice Commandant of the Global College of Professional Military Education to mention the distance education opportunities the Air Force offers at https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/GCPME/.
The camaraderie was absolutely amazing. The people, the networking—it’s weird to be in an environment where there’s a team project and everybody jumps up to lead and do the work. That is definitely not my experience from private sector education.
Kenneth Hills is a lieutenant colonel and a B-52 Weapon Systems Officer in the U.S. Air Force. He has twice served as an Air Liaison Officer aligned with the 2nd Infantry Division. He is a 2021 graduate of the Army War College Distance Education Program as well as a 2023 graduate of the Air War College Resident Program. He currently serves as the Global College of Professional Military Education Vice Commandant at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
Donna Jenkins is a captain in the U.S. Navy with 30 years of experience and a 2022 graduate of the Army War College Distance Education Program. Her current reserve assignment is U.S. Joint Forces Japan, where she is putting the AWC lessons to good use.
Mark Nibert is a federal employee at the Defense Information Systems Agency and is located in Fort Meade at their HQ. He works in defensive cyberspace operations and insider threat. He is a 2022 graduate of the Army War College Distance Education Program.
Heather Smigowski is a colonel and an Army Strategist (FA59) and serves as the Chair for the Department of Distance Education, U.S. Army War College. Prior to assuming her current position, she was a Politico-Military Planner and the Executive Assistant for the Deputy Director for Africa, Joint Staff J-5. She holds Master’s Degrees from Clayton College of Natural Health, Regent University, and the U.S. Army War College. In 2015, she received her Doctorate in Organizational Psychology from Capella University.
Ron Granieri is Professor of History at the U.S. Army War College and the Editor of A BETTER PEACE.
The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, DISA or Department of Defense.
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