As situations around the world nowadays make abundantly clear, military engagement in the 21st century is as much about breeching cultural divides and building trust as it is about combat.
So when Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw at
Henshaw had some explaining to do to
But, working with Col. Thomas Kolditz, Chair of the Department of Behavioral Science and Leadership at West Point, he approached Warner Burke, coordinator of graduate programs in social-organizational psychology and Chair of TC’s Department of Organization & Leadership (and a former Army field artillery lieutenant) for help in designing and teaching a master’s program for mid-career Army officers, many fresh from tours of duty in Afghanistan or Iraq.
The program took its first cohort of officers in 2005 and begins its fourth year this fall. After 12 months of full-time study including weekly visits to the TC campus and a six-month internship, participants earn a master’s degree in organizational psychology. Most stay at
On Wednesdays, Burke and his colleagues travel to
The program Burke and his colleagues designed, and now teach, is very different from most traditional military training programs, which tend to emphasize physical as much as intellectual development. Without sacrificing physical training, the officers in this program also learn about psychology, counseling and coaching, adult development, organization development and leadership strategic planning—areas of study that enhance their ability not only to be strong personal role models for those under their command, but to lead large organizations and look more broadly at cultural and political differences, wherever they are serving.
Henshaw believes the program could radically change the military. “I am such a huge fan. If you think about the types of situations that the Army is going to be involved in over the next 20 to 30 years, they’re going to be cross-cultural. We’re going to need to understand people, understand organizations and institutions, understand markets, change populations, set up micro-societies. The more sophisticated those challenges, the more we will need programs like this. I wish somebody would say, ‘Henshaw, just crank it up to 100 [students per year]. Bring in the Air Force, the Navy—bring them all in.’
Published Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008