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Ivy League opening its doors to retired military officers

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

In their Wall Street Journal op-ed, Cheryl Miller and Jonathan E. Hillman argued that the military could strengthen ROTC on Ivy League campuses by creating new coursework and offering classes taught by its top officers:

the Pentagon shouldn’t be so quick to write off the rewards a renewed relationship with America’s top universities could bring. It should remember that ROTC was originally intended to create an officer corps that was truly national, reflecting the nation’s talents, social diversity and geographical expanse. Current student interest at elite institutions is low, but that’s a product of a 40-year estrangement from ROTC. Each incoming class is an opportunity to reignite student participation.

At Yale, for example, instructor Lt. Molly Crabbe has connected with 15 high-school seniors who are seriously interested in joining ROTC when they matriculate. And retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s success teaching a leadership seminar at Yale should encourage other battle-hardened officers to consider doing their next tour in the classroom.

The Program is pleased to note that several retired officers are following Gen. McChrystal’s lead. The New York Times reports that Ivy League schools are hiring former military officers to teach, based, in part, on the popularity of Gen. McChrystal’s  seminar on leadership, which “is nearly as hard to get into as Yale itself: this past semester some 200 students applied for a coveted 20 spots.” The Times continues:

“The first day I came here, they were expecting a demonstration,” General McChrystal, who is retired from the military, said in an interview after class, shortly before heading out to a New Haven bar for beers with his students. “And I was mad because there were only nine people” protesting his appointment.

Far from reacting with disdain or indifference, the Yale community has largely embraced him — just as the other Ivy League schools have started to open their doors to his peers.

Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will teach a class on diplomacy and military affairs at Princeton this fall. Adm. Eric T. Olson, the former head of the military’s Special Operations Command, is offering a course on military strategy at Columbia starting in September.