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Corps carries record-setting momentum into summer training

Amir Casimir from the University of North Georgia waits to go through in-processing for the Cadet Initial Entry Training course. U.S. Army photo by Matt Lunsford.

The Corps of Cadets at the University of North Georgia (UNG) caps a record-setting year by earning its best-ever overall GPA and sending a record number of cadets to the Army ROTC summer development program for cadets.

This spring, the corps raised its overall GPA to 3.12 for the semester – the first time the Boar's Head Brigade has earned a higher GPA in spring semester than fall. The accomplishment continues a trend of improved academics and training that has brought national recognition to UNG, designated as one of six senior military colleges in the nation and as the Military College of Georgia.

Hard work from cadets and their instructors and a student-focused initiative from the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command are getting results in the mission to develop high-quality leaders, said Lt. Col. Greg McMahan, executive officer and director of instruction for UNG's Department of Military Science. The Adaptive Soldier Leader Training and Education methodology encourages seminar instruction over larger, lecture-style classes.

"We saw that this model for instruction worked for the first- and second-year cadets, MSIs and MSIIs, so we'll be continuing that model into the courses for more senior cadets," he said. "Because of high retention, we've added eight new course sections for MSIIIs and MSIVs to maintain those smaller class sizes."

The changes to curriculum are part of the Army's "Bold Transformation" initiative, which was implemented beginning in October 2013 and aims to transform leader development; connect with potential candidates; improve cadet recruiting, selection and branching; and develop high-quality military instructors. The focus encourages active listening and critical thinking from the very beginning of a cadet's professional development.

Changes also have been made to the Army ROTC summer development program for cadets. This summer, UNG is sending a record 105 cadets to the Cadet Leadership Course (CLC) in Fort Knox, Kentucky. Formerly called the Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC), CLC is required of all ROTC cadets who plan to commission into the U.S. Army upon graduation from college.

Additionally, a new Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET) course will be required for sophomore-level cadets beginning in 2016. This summer, UNG is sending 29 cadets to the course.

UNG's Corps of Cadets set multiple academic, training and co-curricular records during the 2014-15 academic year, including commissioning a record 83 cadets. Among those commissioned was Jonathan "Chase" Strickland, who was selected as the top graduating cadet in the nation out of 5,617 cadets on U.S. Army Cadet Command's national Order of Merit List. Four other UNG cadets were ranked in the top 10 percent in the nation and nearly one-third of this year's commissioning cadets were ranked in the top 20 percent.

The record number of cadet graduates coupled with a smaller number of incoming freshmen should put the corps' strength for the academic year 2015-16 at around 750. That's the fourth-largest in the history of the Boar's Head Brigade, but smaller than the record 810 cadets enrolled in fall 2014. 

Because of the reduced numbers, retired Col. James T. Palmer, UNG's commandant of cadets, will temporarily inactivate Echo Company for the 2015-16 academic year to maximize available bed space in Patriot Hall, one of three military residence halls on the Dahlonega Campus. The floor previously occupied by Echo will house 78 non-military students for the year.

"The decision to inactivate Echo for an entire year was a difficult one, and the primary reason Echo was chosen was because this same hallway has been used to house civilians previously," Palmer said. "The Office of Cadet Admissions is working diligently to bring in enough military freshmen in 2016 and 2017 to fill the entire military village, all 782 beds, with cadets. If this is the case, it is highly likely that Echo Company will be re-activated and returned to the top floor of Patriot Hall."

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