Student Project Burgeons Into US Grand Strategy Conference

By Kaitlin Nelson ’13 | College of Liberal Arts

December 5, 2014

Norwich University was founded on the educational philosophies of Capt. Alden Partridge, who was a strong proponent of experiential learning. Nearly two centuries later, Norwich students are still “learning by doing,” as demonstrated by the creation of the US Grand Strategy Conference this fall.

Sponsored by the Norwich University Center for Studies in War and Peace, the inaugural conference was born out of a yearlong independent research project led by Preston Huntington ’14 and William Cuervo ’14 on the basis and future of US Grand Strategy. Once started, the project took on a life of its own, as the two researchers soon found out. “When Will and I first began the research for our Independent Study,” Huntington said, “I don’t believe either of us really expected it to amount to what it eventually became as our senior year went on.” The project became fully immersive, allowing Cuervo and Huntington to engage in high level analysis as well as speak to experts in the field, including personnel from the Department of Defense, the various military branches, and the service academies.

Inspired by their research, the US Grand Strategy Conference was conceived, and a group of students in Professor Sarwar Kashmeri’s independent study class were tasked with helping bring this dream into fruition. Many highly specialized delegates were invited to attend, allowing Norwich students the opportunity to learn from the people who hold positions that many Norwich students would like to have in the future; it also allowed the students to gain experience in operating in professional environments.

Several of the invited delegates were professors from other military schools, including the US Military Academy, US Air Force Academy, US Army War College and US Naval War College. Military College professors were not the only academic representative present: there were also representatives from the University of Nebraska, Wayne State College, and Drew University. In addition to the scholars invited, there were representatives from the US Army, National Defense Industrial Association, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and several authors and columnists. Regardless of their diverse career choices, they all shared a common interest: Grand Strategy studies in the US. This group engaged in very intense debate on issues concerning US Political Influence and Military Power, as well as US Foreign Policy Priorities. A conference note was developed and publicized on the topics. The participants universally praised the event and Norwich, with the only criticism being that the timeframe (1½ days) was too short!

Reflecting on the conference, one of Prof. Kashmeri’s students, 2LT Julio Ceasar Basso ’16, USAR, said, “The Center for Studies in War and Peace here at Norwich University was able to bring in some brilliant minds, each with their own expertise. There was no delay in regard to conducting the dialogue, and there were plenty of opportunities to reflect on this dialogue to provide a consensus of thought regardless of background or ideological differences.” Another of Prof. Kashmeri’s students, Matthew McKenzie ’16, agreed. “I felt that overall the conference was a success. The delegates were extremely well qualified, and the diversity of [their] backgrounds allowed for insight into a multitude of areas.”

One of the invited delegates-William Goodman, the Vice President for Policy at the National Defense Industrial Association-gushed about the conference’s attendees and topic choice. “The conference was everything a practitioner could hope for-theoretical enough to step away from the day-to-day concerns of official Washington, but also practical enough to have real meaning for the problems I face every day pertaining to defense budgets and military capabilities.” He added, “Although it is difficult to address a concept like grand strategy and make it fresh, that was exactly what the delegates managed to do, and I was grateful to learn from them and their insights.”

Another invited delegate, Wolfe Schmidt, an International Affairs Consultant and Foreign Policy Association Board Member, struggled with the time constraint, but found the US Grand Strategy Conference to be an enlightening experience overall. Schmidt said, “The agenda was almost too ambitious for the weighty subject; however, the questionnaire was useful in guiding the discourse and the way the plenary sessions were moderated was very productive as well.”

To learn more about the conference, visit the Norwich University US Grand Strategy Conference web site.

Norwich Student Radio Station WNUB Livestreams

By Isabel Weinger Nielsen | College of Liberal Arts

December 5, 2014

WNUB is now streaming live, and anyone from anywhere around the world can listen. It is available on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops at libarts.norwich.edu/WNUBstream/. Whether you are alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, prospective students, or friends of Norwich, you can listen to a variety of music, entertainment, news and information programs wherever you are. And, if you’re in the Northfield area, you can still tune to 88.3 FM to hear WNUB on the radio, 24 hours a day.

Professor Doug Smith, who manages WNUB and teaches Broadcasting Techniques, Radio Production, and Introduction to Mass Media, worked with Norwich’s Information Technology Services to get the project off the ground. Streaming began this past June, at a bit rate of 128 Kbps-MP3 quality. He hopes streaming will serve as a means for alumni to stay in touch with Norwich as well as interest and attract prospective students to the Communications program.

WNUB-FM, on the air since 1967, is the community radio station of Norwich University and operates in conjunction with the College of Liberal Arts’ communications major. Students gain hands-on education in radio, print journalism and television documentary production. According to Professor Smith, the idea to stream WNUB began when families wanted to hear their Norwich student on the radio.

Each semester, Norwich Communication majors take to the airwaves with live two-hour shows on Sunday through Thursday evenings. In addition to music, weather, and announcements, listeners can also hear one to three minute educational programs such as The Academic Minute, Radio MD News, A Moment in Time, and Sound Beat, a 90-second show which provides a back story about a specific recording’s place in history.

WNUB is fortunate to have local community members as DJs for several shows. Northfield’s own Dex Rowe hosts a five-minute local news program The Northfield News, Monday–Friday at 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. He also hosts The Weekday Oldies from 9–11 a.m., Monday – Friday, and The Weekend Oldies from 6 – 8 p.m., Friday–Sunday. Other music shows hosted by Northfield residents include Other Voices, Other Rooms–Music by Mark, Fridays from 8-10 p.m., A Night in My Backyard, Fridays from 8 p.m.–12 a.m., and The Morning Jam with Joe, Saturdays from 7–9 a.m.

Special campus events are also covered, such as the Writers Series, through 30-minute interviews with visiting writers hosted by Jacque Day.

Convocation was recorded and rebroadcast in August. As listenership grows, WNUB may broadcast more live events on campus, such as graduation and sporting events. So tune in! View the complete program schedule.

Mentors Connect Undergraduates to “Dream Jobs”

By Isabel Weinger Nielsen | College of Liberal Arts

December 5, 2014

“What are your three dream jobs?” That was the question asked of all senior College of Liberal Arts students this fall, and with the assistance of Duane Martin ’67, students are being paired up with Norwich alumni to help them attain those jobs. During last year’s pilot program, Norwich seniors were mentored by alumni employed by such organizations as the US Border Patrol, Vermont State Police, Secret Service, FBI, and Lockheed.

Martin, a member of the COLA Visiting Committee of the Board of Fellows (BoF), was looking for a way to contribute to the future success of Norwich students. He conceived of the idea of starting a mentoring program and presented it to the COLA BoF Visiting Committee and Dean Andrea Talentino, with enthusiastic results. Martin believes that all students can benefit from an alumni mentor, and feels it is important to help students find the jobs they want. Since the University has upwards of 24,000 living alumni (between its undergraduate and graduate programs) who work or have worked in just about every job Norwich students aspire to, he decided to start matching them up.

High-Caliber Students

The mentoring program began as a pilot last year, with a dozen students invited to become mentees. Martin used a personal approach, contacting prospective mentors directly by telephone to explain the program and determine their interests. His tactic worked: The alums Martin approached were incredibly enthusiastic, and went above and beyond Martin’s expectations. Not only did they talk to their mentees, but in many cases they came to campus to meet with them, and even brought students to shadow them in their workplaces. Martin has also been extremely impressed with the quality and caliber of the students. “They are incredibly respectful, bright, and really appreciate the opportunity to have an alumni mentor,” Martin says.

This year, eighteen students have requested mentors, and alumni have responded in a big way. Baylee Annis ’14 is living in Wales and wants to be a writer. She is now in contact with Bob Porier ’66, the author of several history books and numerous published articles. Seth Cecchett ’15 is a history major who aspires to work with the Vermont State Police. He has been paired with Michelle Leblanc ’92, a Vermont State Trooper in the K-9 Unit. Emily Cahill ’15, a Political Science major who hopes to work for Homeland Security, has been introduced to Scott Shelton ’97, a Senior Fellow with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and one of our newest Board of Fellows’ members. Jacob Alderman ’15, an English major with a minor in business administration, will explore a variety of employment opportunities with Robert McElhinney ’04, who works for the US State Department.