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Jan. 29, 2016
Northwest Missouri State University and the Missouri Army National Guard (MOARNG) on Friday celebrated their agreement to establish the Guard Officer Leadership Development (GOLD) Program, a partnership that develops commissioned officers and provides a pathway to degree completion.
“We are truly excited about the opportunity to revitalize military leadership training education on the Northwest campus through the GOLD program, which will allow our students to complete a degree while becoming future officers in the Missouri National Guard,” Dr. Michael Steiner, dean of Northwest’s College of Arts and Sciences, said as the representatives of both institutions gathered for a signing ceremony. “Over the past couple months, it’s been our pleasure to work with a number of officers with the Missouri National Guard in quickly preparing a way for this partnership that will build on the strong relationship we already have with the 129th Field Artillery Battalion located in Maryville.”
Representing MOARNG were Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Wells, Master Sgt. Brent Young, Capt. Jonathan Holem, Capt. Ryan Jennings, Capt. Scott McCollum, Col. Scott Zimmerman and Maj. Gen. Stephen Danner, who is adjutant general in the Missouri Army National Guard.
Danner referenced Northwest’s reputation for delivering quality education programming and its string of national championships while trumpeting the partnership.
“It’s a great partnership and it’s going to help not only fill the Missouri ranks, but more importantly it’s focused on education,” Danner said. “When these men and women decide their time in the Guard has ended, they will be very productive citizens because they’ve been able to receive that education through working with a partnership such as the Missouri GOLD Program.”
|Missouri Army National Guard members at Friday's signing ceremony to establish the GOLD Program at Northwest|
The GOLD Program works to develop qualified Missouri citizens into commissioned officers in MOARNG through classroom instruction, leadership laboratories and physical conditioning training. It is designed to provide a pathway to becoming an officer in the MOARNG at schools that do not offer Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs.
The GOLD Program prepares candidates for the rigors and challenges they will face at Officer Candidate School (OCS). Participants will attend military science classes during their freshman, sophomore and junior years at Northwest. During the summer between their junior and senior years, each participant will be required to attend accelerated OCS training, which consists of eight weeks of intensive leadership training in South Dakota.
To be eligible, students must be MOARNG members and accepted to enroll at Northwest. Graduates of the program are eligible to become commissioned officers. Upon commissioning, participants will return to the University to assist cadre and to finish their degree.
Under the agreement, MOARNG will administer the program and provide a commissioned captain or major to serve as professor of military science, and Northwest will provide a primary instructor to oversee the academic areas of the program. The program will have an office in the Garrett-Strong Science Building on the Northwest campus.
The GOLD Program at Northwest will launch in fall 2016 and be the third such program in the state. Missouri Southern State University and Southeast Missouri State University launched the GOLD program on their campuses in 2013. During its first three years, more than 200 individuals have graduated from the program and it is producing about 30 new officers per year.
Danner said the program is important because it places an emphasis on education while most officers serve an average of six years of active duty.
“Whether you serve six years, 17 years or 30 years, you still have life after that in which you’re looking to move into the community and be part of that community,” Danner said. “That’s what the Guard is all about – citizen soldiers where every day we go to work, whether it’s downtown Maryville as a small business person or out farming. On the weekends, we answer the call.”
Northwest President John Jasinski noted the GOLD program is another piece in Northwest’s lengthy history of supporting veterans and military programs. Northwest served as a Naval Shore Station for the U.S. Navy during World War II and today has been recognized for four consecutive years by Victory Media as a Military Friendly School.
“We support military veterans in so many ways and I can’t tell you how proud we are as we put this memorandum of agreement together,” Jasinski said. “This is important for young men and women, for Northwest Missouri State, four our region and for our country.”
Northwest is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers a range of degree and certification programs that benefit military students. Northwest also is VA approved, gives credit for the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) and DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST). The University follows American Council on Education (ACE) recommendations when granting credit for military experience or from other regionally accredited institutions as transcripts are evaluated by the Office of Admissions.
Further enhancing its services for veterans, Northwest and the Missouri Veterans Commission partner to host a Veteran Service Officer in the University’s Dean L. Hubbard Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). Office hours are 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. during the first and third Mondays of every month in Room 1222 of the CIE. The service is free and patrons may learn more by calling the CIE at 660.562.1710.
Additionally, a Northwest advisor assists veterans with career placement, and the University has full-time veteran counselors on its staff. Northwest has veteran organizations on its campus, including a Northwest Student Veterans Association. Northwest also offers a variety of scholarships for military personnel and veterans, and military students called to active service may return to Northwest without a penalty.
Founded in 1905, Northwest is a four-year university that offers a broad range of profession-based undergraduate and graduate programs on its Maryville campus as well as locations in Kansas City and St. Joseph.
With an enrollment of 6,600 students, Northwest recently was ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the top moderately selective regional university in Missouri for the second consecutive year. Northwest’s graduation rate is in the 85th percentile of the University’s national peer group, while 97 percent of Northwest bachelor’s degree earners and 99 percent of master’s degree earners secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, according to the most recent data.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468