University to approve naval science minor

Students in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program will be able to apply credits earned from ROTC classes toward a minor if the University approves the midshipmen’s academic request.

Members of the program petitioned the University to create a secondary field of study – effectively a minor – in naval sciences, so students were able to gain a degree from the credits earned. If it gains a formal approval, NROTC students will be eligible for the minor come fall 2011.

Midshipmen, as the students are called, take up to 30 credits in naval science courses at GW, in conjunction with their training.

“It’s just a matter of signatures now. It’ll be approved,” Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Academic Affairs Dianne Martin said, adding that she expects to formally approve the proposal in June, after several months of information-gathering and consideration. “It’s a recognition of the importance and academic rigor of this program.”

The demanding and selective program prepares students for the United States Navy. Last year, 150 students participated in GW’s battalion.

Jeffrey Lenn, associate vice president for academic operations, said NROTC is an academic department that does not belong to a specific college at GW. This lack of affiliation allows NROTC to maintain relative autonomy, but it has slowed the approval process, because leaders from all six colleges in the University had to review the request.

After each course was evaluated, the petition was approved unanimously by the Associate Deans Council, a group of leaders who represent each of GW’s schools. Then it was passed to Martin and Provost Steven Lerman, who must make a final decision, because NROTC does not reside in an individual college.

Lt. James Hostetler, assistant professor of naval science, declined to comment for this story, citing concerns about influencing the final decision.

ROTC is the only program of its size at GW whose students take up to 30 credits of coursework without graduating with a related minor, former ROTC participant and SA Executive Vice President Ted Costigan said.

“They work hard and are being shorted by not getting a minor,” he said.

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