The President’s Corner

 

President Schneider. Photo by Norwich University

At Norwich University, your college experience includes world-class academics, and a robust and enriching campus full of opportunities that range from membership in the Corps of Cadets to athletics, outdoor activities on Payne Mt., to cultural events and many varied student clubs and intramural sports.

In order to better understand how administrative decisions affect the student experience, it is necessary to survey the community every now and again, and we are currently involved in that process now. There are two different surveys: one just for first year students and seniors, the second for all full-time matriculated students.

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The President’s Corner

Want a voice in what happens at Norwich? Join the SGA, and vote

Student Government Association (SGA) elections are coming up Feb. 25 – March 1. This is a great opportunity for you to exercise your right to participate in the shared governance of the university. The SGA is the student organization that is committed to working on maintaining a positive relationship between the student body and the administration by serving as a hub for communication and the source of problem-solving efforts for issues of concern to students.

The SGA is a vital component to student life on campus and works closely with the faculty senate and staff council to work out issues. This is what it means to be an engaged citizen. Students: I implore you to vote in a couple weeks. Then, next year, run for office and learn first-hand what it means to govern. The opportunities for effecting meaningful change for the everyday life of students and the community are limitless.

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Norwich’s legacy of innovation will be showcased in April symposium

Norwich University has long been at the forefront of innovation, beginning with its visionary founder, Captain Alden Partridge. Two hundred years ago this July, Partridge’s radical views on education cost him his post as superintendent of West Point. And yet, his prescient ideas about experiential learning, educating across the disciplines, and preparing youth to “discharge, in the best possible manner, the duties they owe to themselves, to their fellow-men, and to their country,” are more relevant today than they have ever been. [Read more…]

22nd Annual Colby Symposium offers a look back at the legacy of World War I

  “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.” –Aldous Huxley

One hundred years ago today, on April 6, 2017, the United States formally entered World War I. In the months leading up to that day, President Woodrow Wilson officially severed diplomatic ties with Germany, and our nation readied itself for war. Six weeks later, the first U.S. infantry troops landed in France to begin training for combat.

The entrance of U.S. military forces into the four-year long global conflict helped turn the tide in favor of an Allied victory, but at a tremendous cost to American lives. When the Armistice was signed on Nov.11, 1918, of the more than two million U.S. soldiers who served on the battlefields of Western Europe, some 116,000 made the supreme sacrifice, 14 of them Norwich alumni. [Read more…]

With heads held high, Norwich band, drill team did school proud

Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States (1801–1809), and one of the influential framers of the Constitution, was the first U.S. president to be inaugurated at the Capitol in Washington D.C., a city he helped plan. In his first inaugural speech, delivered on March 4, 1801, he said the famous words that are paraphrased in the Norwich University mission statement: “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union …, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which … opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”

I bring this up because I received some negative feedback not long ago in response to the news that our Regimental Band and Drill Team would be performing in President Donald Trump’s inaugural parade. Now mind you, the vast majority of the feedback we received was overwhelmingly supportive of our students, but there were some detractors who were upset that our students were participating at all, and others who were unhappy with the statement that our students were “representing Vermont.”

We live in a country where, thankfully, difference of opinion is tolerated. It is our right as American citizens to think as we choose—a right that many have fought and given their lives for. But it is important to remember that opinions are not the same thing as principles. Two sentences prior to the above quote, Jefferson says: “Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.” I believe he is alluding to our Constitution, which comprises several principles, among them, the sovereignty of the people, the limitations of government, the separation of power, checks and balances, and so on. It is these democratic principles which guarantee Americans their freedoms and unify us as a people, regardless of our differing opinions.

Whether our students were consciously aware of it or not, these unifying principles were front and center at their performance on Jan. 20, 2017. They marched not just for Norwich University, but also for our democracy, for our founder, Alden Partridge, and for all Norwich alumni since Alonzo Jackman, our first graduate. With heads held high, they marched absent of any political agenda, and with only pride for their regiment, their university, and their country.

As Norwich University’s president, I could not be prouder of our students for continuing this Norwich tradition—one that dates back to the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy in 1961. At least one member of the class of 1963 who marched in that parade recalls being starstruck as he caught sight of the young president—so much so that he stopped beating the bass drum. In true Norwich fashion, the other band members continued on in perfect step, not missing a beat, until the bass drum struck up again two measures later. Such opportunities as this bring honor and prestige to our university, and help to form the Norwich bonds and memories that last a lifetime.

Take responsibility for your future

As we approach the end of the fall semester and the beginning of the long winter break, our students ought to be thinking about their futures—both immediate and long-term. The weeks away from the Hill afford underclassmen the opportunity to start lining up summer employment or internships, while seniors should be finalizing their post-Norwich plans.

The future is not something you should put off addressing. As young adults, the decisions you make now will impact your life for a long time to come. Set goals for yourself and work toward them diligently. Make a new year’s resolution to visit the Career and Internship center weekly when you return from break, and utilize the resources they provide. [Read more…]

An American Journey: General Gordon R. Sullivan, ’59

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “…our responsibility as lucky Americans is to try to give back to this country as much as it has given us, as we continue our American journey together.”

I personally know of few individuals who have lived their lives according to that quote more than 32nd Army Chief of Staff General Gordon R. Sullivan, Norwich Class of 1959.

Raised under humble circumstances in Quincy, Mass., Gordon Sullivan enrolled at Norwich in 1955 as a scholarship student, served as a waiter in the mess hall, penned a column for the Guidon, worked construction in the summers, and graduated as a senior buck. He is not ashamed to admit he is the last person his classmates would have predicted would rise to the highest-ranking position in the United States Army. 

But, as General Sullivan has said many times, Norwich allowed him to discover who he really was. He credits his unlikely transformation to what he calls “Norwich’s secret sauce”—a unique combination of tradition, training, and esprit de corps that takes undeveloped adolescents and molds them into leaders of character.

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Summer internships can help pave the road to future employment

Spring has barely arrived in Vermont, but summer is close behind. Do you know how you are spending your summer break?

If you are like the vast majority of Norwich students, you probably spend the weeks between mid-May and mid-August engaged in temporary employment of one kind or another; but have you considered how your summer job might benefit your future?

Since its founding, Norwich University has promoted experiential learning as a method of acquiring real-world skills and competencies that prepare its graduates for useful, practical professions. Internships are one means to that end.

Usually, entry-level internships may not pay as much as, say, working for your uncle on a construction site, but they will pay huge dividends later in terms of building a career. Today’s job market is highly competitive—companies listing job openings are inundated with applications. Being able to list real-life experience on your resume can make the difference between landing an interview and being round-filed. In fact, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, nearly 70 percent of interns nationwide are offered full-time jobs at their internship site, and nearly two thirds of people hired straight out of college have some internship experience.

There are a number of tools and techniques available on campus to help you find and apply for internships. Familiarize yourself with the Career and Internship Center on the top floor of the Wise Campus Center. Their friendly, knowledgeable staff is experienced in helping students find and apply for jobs and internships being offered in Vermont and elsewhere. They can also teach you how to conduct your own job search using online tools. Email careers@norwich.edu or dial extension 2125 to schedule an appointment with Jim Graves, the internship coordinator.

Once you have identified which positions you are qualified for, the staff at the Career and Internship Center can walk you through the processes of building a resume and drafting a cover letter. They will even set up a mock interview so that when the time comes you will be poised and prepared. Learn more about their services at careers.norwich.edu.

Another way for Norwich students to pursue internships or jobs is to tap into the alumni network. Norwich graduates span the globe. No matter what your field, there are alumni employed by companies eager to hire Norwich students and graduates.

This year’s spring career fair is this Thursday, March 24 in Plumley Armory, from 12 to 3:30 p.m. Many of the representatives staffing the display tables are Norwich grads who have come to campus to actively recruit for their companies or agencies. They love talking with Norwich students, so take advantage of this fabulous opportunity to get face-to-face with alumni and discuss your future.

For students, ‘Coaching for Leadership’ is a vital opportunity not to be missed

You may have heard the quote, “Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.” What this means is that leadership is ultimately about doing and being – regardless of one’s station in life. It mirrors our university mission statement, which reads, in part, “We shall give our youth an education that … will enable them to act … ”

Every Norwich student, no matter what path they choose, can and will lead at some point in their career. It is inevitable, and is why leadership coaching is so critical to one’s future success. [Read more…]

Honoring the honor code

Recently, across several college and university campuses around the country, students and faculty members have raised the alarm about racism in response to incidents of harassment. As president at the oldest senior military college in the nation, the birthplace of ROTC and the place where leaders are produced, it is my duty to confront the reality of the insidious issues of racism and other forms of harassment in our own population. To that end, Norwich provides not only resources for responding to issues, but also the education and infrastructure to promote, support and enforce ideas of honorable living, which are at the heart of prevention.

Any person in the Norwich community experiencing harassment – racism, sexism, sexual assault, bullying, or any other kind – needs to know where they can turn for support.

• Our Employee Relations, Equal Opportunity and Title IX officer, Stephanie Drew, receives reports of misconduct and oversees investigations into them. Any member of the community can make a report to her office, which is located on the third floor of Jackman Hall.

• The Washington County Sexual Assault Crisis Team is a community partner with office space located in Marselius Hall, below the infirmary. We have been working with the Washington County Sexual Assault Crisis Team since the 1990s because they are victim advocates and the experts in the county. Together with their incredible work we are all stronger. Through this coordination, students and community members have access to the best resources; a range of options in dealing with these violent crimes and a level of accountability to the outside community and to the experts that address this issue in Washington County. Anyone can seek counsel there and remain anonymous until they wish to initiate an investigation.

• Counseling and Psychological Services provides free of charge to members of the Norwich community – students, faculty and staff – individual and group counseling in a confidential setting. In addition, thematic groups and psychoeducational workshops can be provided in response to specific needs. These services are conducted by a highly trained staff of licensed professional psychologists and doctoral level psychology interns. That office is located in Kreitzberg Library, Suite 405 or can be reached after hours (M-F 8-4:30) at 802-793-3093.

• Campus security is prepared to assist with any report of harassment and is located in the Hayden Building or by calling ext. 2525 or 2499.

• Less formally, any member of the faculty or staff can be a resource to a student or peer in need.

When Norwich students were getting harassed on social media last fall, I took action to both block the anonymous messaging site from Norwich servers and to order an investigation into the incident. I and the entire leadership at Norwich are committed to creating and promoting a safe environment for all.

The Honor Code provides a good compass to encourage honorable behavior. Integrity is the basis for honorable living and can be honed by internalizing the Norwich Guiding Values. By doing that, community members will possess knowledge, integrity and awareness to assess the moral-ethical aspects of every situation and the personal courage to take appropriate action regardless of consequences.

Norwich seeks to develop leaders of character. When you come to Norwich, you agree to follow these Guiding Values:

• We are men and women of honor and integrity. We shall not tolerate those who lie, cheat, or steal.
• We are dedicated to learning, emphasizing teamwork, leadership, creativity, and critical thinking.
• We respect the right to diverse points of view as a cornerstone of our democracy.
• We encourage service to nation and others before self.
• We stress being physically fit and drug free.
• To live the Norwich motto—I will try!—meaning perseverance in the face of adversity.
• We stress self-discipline, personal responsibility, and respect for law.
• We hold in highest esteem our people and reputation.