ECU becomes technology partner to the National Defense University

A unique, on-line master’s degree program at East Carolina University has produced a cooperative project that will attract military, civil service and industry leaders as ECU graduate students and will give the campus assistance in exploring the uses of technology for research, teaching and learning.

The new Partnership for Academic Excellence in Digital Communications will link ECU’s School of Industry and Technology with the National Defense University’s Information Resources Management College. The school is located in Washington, D.C. A formal ceremony to recognize the agreement will take place there on Dec. 9.

Under the agreement, ECU will apply 15 credit hours toward its master’s degree in Industrial Technology for students who complete the accredited Advanced Management Program at the Information Resources Management College. Students admitted under this arrangement may complete their remaining 21 hours of academic work by taking a concentration of courses in digital communications that will be taught on the Internet by ECU industrial technology professors.

Dr. A. Darryl Davis, dean of the ECU School of Industry and Technology, said the National Defense University sought ECU’s participation because of its on-line masters degree programs in industrial technology. The graduate program permits students with a computer and a connection to the Internet to take courses from their locations anywhere in the world. Classes meet at regularly schedules times and inexpensive cameras and microphones are used to give the on-line students visual and voice interaction with their professors and classmates.

The National Defense University was established after World War II on the grounds of Fort Lesley J. McNair, southwest of the nation’s capitol. The school serves as the umbrella organization for the military’s National War College, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, the Armed Forces Staff College and the Information Resources Management College (formerly the Department of Defense Computer Institute).

While the school provides in-depth training in military strategies, industrial management and the development of technological resources, it does not award academic degrees to its military and civilian graduates. However, the National Defense University has established two other graduate program agreements with Syracuse University and the University of Maryland for courses that are usually taught in traditional classrooms in the Washington, D.C., area.

Dr. J. Barry DuVall, professor and director of the School of Industry and Technology’s Global Classroom, said the new partnership with the National Defense University will link ECU to an “acknowledged leader in the field of information resources management education.”

He said faculty at both campuses have agreed to support each other through combined research and by sharing knowledge and ideas on ways to use computer and information technologies.

The ECU School of Industry and Technology began its on-line teaching in 1994, as a result of the school’s $1.2 million project to explore “The Factory as a Learning Laboratory.” The project was part of a national program to provide education benefits to industry workers who lost jobs because of defense industry downsizing and military base closings.

About 100 students in 18 states and seven countries are enrolled in the manufacturing and safety concentrations of the degree program. The newly developed concentration in digital communications will be offered for the first time next spring.