People – The Citadel Today https://today.citadel.edu Fri, 18 Jan 2019 18:12:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 https://today.citadel.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Citadel-Favion-new-150x150.png People – The Citadel Today https://today.citadel.edu 32 32 144096890 Life Lessons Abroad https://today.citadel.edu/life-lessons-abroad/ Thu, 17 Jan 2019 22:25:19 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=5646 Logan MillerLogan MillerWhen presented with the chance to go outside of his comfort zone internationally, Logan Miller accepted not one but three study abroad opportunities during his four years at The Citadel.]]> Logan MillerLogan Miller

“The road less traveled,” a phrase adapted from a Robert Frost poem that is often used to describe The Citadel experience, made a lasting impression on Logan Miller while he was exploring colleges with his family.  Today Miller is a senior cadet-athlete, a Spanish and exercise science double major, and an aspiring physician assistant in the Air Force.

“The Citadel pushes you out of your comfort zone,” said Miller.  “It’s not meant for everyone—you need a certain type of passion, drive and motivation to come here.  The Citadel teaches you about yourself and your ability to make a greater impact on the world.”

When presented with the chance to go outside of his comfort zone internationally, Miller accepted not one but three study-abroad opportunities during his four years at The Citadel.

Miller studied in Spain and Ecuador, but it was his final trip to Lithuania that allowed him to shadow healthcare providers and see medicine first hand.

Capt. Sarah Imam, M.D., Miller’s mentor at The Citadel, began a new study abroad program in 2018 to give students an opportunity to gain shadowing experience with health care professionals for four weeks.  Lithuania was selected for its universal health care system and because it ranks among the top 20 percent of health care systems in the world. Imam envisioned a program that would expose students to a completely different kind of health care system, where they could observe the strengths and weaknesses of that system and learn the importance of empathy in health care.  Imam wanted an experience that would shape the budding medical professionals.

In Lithuania, Miller shadowed specialists in endocrinology, neurosurgery, intensive care, rehabilitation, and abdominal and thoracic surgery. It was his experience with patients, however, that made him realize the importance of patient-centered healthcare.

Through travel Miller learned to be adaptable, and he honed his problem solving and critical thinking abilities—skills Miller believes will improve his ability to serve a wide population of people as a physician assistant.

“I want to be culturally competent and aware of the backgrounds and issues of others. I want to be tuned into different ideas and perspectives. Most importantly, I want people to feel safe and welcome when I treat them because it’s all about the patient.”Click To Tweet

Miller also took advantage of an optional research project during his Lithuania study experience.  His project compared the Infant Mortality Rate in Lithuania to the United States.  Together he and Imam interviewed neonatologists to learn what measures they take to prevent infant mortality.  Miller is submitting the findings of his research and hopes to present his study at the 2019 Global Health Conference in Chicago.

Since returning from Lithuania, Miller has been accepted into the physician assistant program at the Medical University of South Carolina directly–a rare feat. He is among about four percent of those admitted to the PA program directly from undergraduate studies.

“The Citadel’s mission is to make principled leaders in all walks of life.  I want to be that principled leader who makes a profound impact on patients, no matter who they are or where they come from.”

To view more student and cadet stories, visit mighty.citadel.edu.

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Tradition of cadets serving at gubernatorial inaugurations continues with Governor McMaster https://today.citadel.edu/citadel-cadets-inauguration-governor-mcmaster-south-carolina/ Tue, 15 Jan 2019 11:00:06 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=5491 Citadel Cadet Richard Johnson playing bagpipes at inauguration as Gov. McMaster descends stairsCitadel Cadet Richard Johnson playing bagpipes at inauguration as Gov. McMaster descends stairsAs The Military College of South Carolina, members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets have served in many of the state's gubernatorial inaugurations going back more than 100 years.]]> Citadel Cadet Richard Johnson playing bagpipes at inauguration as Gov. McMaster descends stairsCitadel Cadet Richard Johnson playing bagpipes at inauguration as Gov. McMaster descends stairs

As The Military College of South Carolina, members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets have served in many of the state’s gubernatorial inaugurations going back more than 100 years.

Governor Henry McMaster’s inauguration on January 9 was no exception. A cadre of 29 cadets participated in the ceremonies in some way, whether it was as a member of the color guard, playing bagpipes for the prayer service or ceremony, or walking down the capitol steps as a ceremonial escort for dignitaries.

The cadets are chosen to participate based on their positions as officers within the Corps, the Regimental Pipes Band, or the color guard and their overall performance as cadets.

Examples of some of the South Carolina gubernatorial inaugurations where cadets served in ceremonial positions include Gov. James Francis Byrnes in 1951; Citadel alumnus, Gov. Ernest F. Hollings in 1959; Gov. John Carl West in 1971 and Gov. Nikki Haley in 2015.

Who was there

Citadel cadet escorting VIP guests at Gov. McMaster inauguration
Citadel cadet escorting VIP guests at Gov. McMaster inauguration. Photo provided by Shell Suber ’89

The cadets selected by to participate in the ceremony by The Citadel’s Office of the Commandant included the following:

Pipers

  • Richard Johnson
  • Patrick Johnson

Color Guard

  • William Hope
  • Jacob Moule
  • Cullen McCoy
  • Krishawn Royal
  • James Shields
  • John Butler
  • Jacob Ramseur

VIP Escort Cadets

  • Sarah Zorn
  • David Days
  • Robert Hudson
  • Richard Dekold
  • Cedric Barnes
  • Andrew Snoke
  • Mitchell Felt
  • Elijah Melendez
  • Chase Kinsey
  • Brennen Zeigler
  • Henry Brown
  • Richard Snyder
  • Mitchell Dobin
  • Morgan Meredith
  • Marc Thackson
  • George King
  • Hamilton Rhinehart
  • Hannah Murray
  • Robert Young
  • Greyson Young
Citadel Cadet Robert Johnson at Gov. Henry McMaster Inauguration Jan. 201
Citadel Cadet Robert Johnson at Gov. Henry McMaster Inauguration Jan. 2018. Photo provided by Shell Suber ’89

As seen on WCIV-TV

Citadel cadets were included in this news report, “McMaster takes oath of office, lawmakers optimistic about productivity,” by WCIV-TV (ABC/News4) reporter Bill Burr.

 

 

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Rwanda: Mission Accomplished https://today.citadel.edu/rwanda-mission-citadel-cadets-africa-abroad/ Mon, 14 Jan 2019 19:22:04 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=5499 Citadel Regimental Executive Officer, David Days with school children in Kigali RwandaCitadel Regimental Executive Officer, David Days with school children in Kigali Rwanda"Our team did not speak Kinyarwanda, but we did speak the language of service, humanity and love which as we saw in Kigali are truly universal," Citadel Cadet David Days said.]]> Citadel Regimental Executive Officer, David Days with school children in Kigali RwandaCitadel Regimental Executive Officer, David Days with school children in Kigali Rwanda

They describe it all at once as enlightening, uplifting, sobering and joyful. The four Citadel men also believe their mission trip to serve school children in Rwanda was probably more beneficial for them than it was for those they served.

Rhaei Brown, David Days, Elijah Melendez and Marcus Milhouse are back in their regular campus routines after completing their mission to bring Vacation Bible School to children in Kigali, Rwanda.

Left to right: Elijah Melendez, Rhaei Brown, Marcus Milhouse and David Days in Rwanda in Dec. 2018
Left to right: Elijah Melendez, Rhaei Brown, Marcus Milhouse and David Days in Rwanda in Dec. 2018

The mission was lead by Citadel Class of 2004 alumnus, Maj. Aaron Meadows USAF, through the Charleston Wesleyan Foundation which has a chapter on campus. The cadets were part of a nine member team, which included two College of Charleston students and two other ministers.

Wesleyan mission team from Charleston in Kigali Rwanda
Wesleyan mission team from Charleston in Kigali Rwanda

They knew they’d be working with children as young at three, so together they purchased and collected bags of art supplies and toys to share on the trip.

The team traveled for over 24 hours by plane to get there. For the first few days they became immersed in the culture, learning about the currency and memorizing new phrases from the local Bantu-based language called Kinyarwanda.  As part of the preparation phase of the mission they also visited markets, tried local food and enjoyed a safari in the Rwandan countryside.

“The safari was full of breathtaking moments like turning a curve to find an elephant on the road,” Brown explained. “We learned that Rwanda is a really beautiful country and different from what we had pictured before we left.”

Photo by Citadel cadet on safari in Rwanda
Photo by Citadel cadet on safari in Rwanda

Each night the student team planned their lessons for the days they’d be working at the Eglilse Anglicane Au Rwanda nursery school. They selected the Vacation Bible School themes, sorted supplies and gifts, and coordinated the discussion and the devotion portions of each day.

“We were concerned about how effective we would be in working with the children, who only spoke Kinyarwanda, so we really tried to get a few basics down,” said Brown.

School children in Rwanda

School children in the Rwandan school where the mission trip was centered

The cadets’ concerns about language barriers didn’t last long after they were greeted by the children who either ran up ready with hugs, or approached them shyly but eagerly.

Citadel Cadet Elijah Melendez with school children he worked with in Rwanda
Citadel Cadet Elijah Melendez with school children he worked with in Rwanda

The cadets believe their work with the children was a success.

“Our team did not speak Kinyarwanda but we did speak the language of service, humanity and love. We saw in Kigali while working with the children that those are truly universal languages,” Days said.

In the evenings, the cadets attended services with a local church, one in English and one in Kinyarwanda.

“We also visited the Rwandan Genocide Museum and Memorial, and were able to reflect on the causes and effects of that event, and the purpose of our mission in a country that is really still recovering,” said Brown.

Photo courtesy of: Kigali Genocide Memorial

“Visiting the Rwandan Genocide Memorial was a sobering experience, but it was a great testament of reconciliation,” said Melendez. “It gave me hope that we can settle our differences at home in America, if they can forgive and overcome such a tragedy in Rwanda.”

The four men agree it was a singular experience for which they are grateful.

“I thought I was going to Rwanda to serve people who needed my help more than I needed theirs, but I walked away feeling like I got more than I gave,” said Milhouse. “It was an exceptional experience that showed me how many things I take for granted at home.”

Read the first half of the story, “Cadets on a mission: Rwanda” here and watch a video from the mission trip below.

This story was written in conjunction with the help of Cadet Rhaei Brown, with photos provided by various members of the mission trip.

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Citadel cadets resurrect flying club to help address pilot shortage worldwide https://today.citadel.edu/citadel-cadets-resurrect-flying-club-to-help-address-pilot-shortage-worldwide/ Fri, 11 Jan 2019 21:58:18 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=5521 After almost four decades of dormancy, The Citadel Flying Club is operational again with about 240 members. ]]>

As seen on Live 5 News by Kaitlin Stansell

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The Citadel Flying Club has entered a new chapter to help address a looming shortage of military and commercial pilots.

The club was created in 1939 but dissolved in the 1970s.

Now, after almost four decades of dormancy, the club is operational again with about 240 members. Organizers hope the endeavor can give cadets at the military college a leg up in pursuing a career in aviation.

The club offers subsidized flight training to its members and hopes to award scholarships for cadets.

The club has purchased an old Citadel training center at the Charleston Executive Airport on Johns Island.

“We have a team of cadets that are going to go out there and paint it and make it kind of match Citadel colors and logo,” said Kirk Faris, the Citadel Flying Club’s president. “That’s where we are going to officially begin our official operations with more cadet flight training in February.”

Over the next two decades, almost 800,000 new pilots will be needed to fuel the aviation industry, according to the most recent projections from Boeing.

Faris hopes the flying club will help prepare cadets for future aviation careers.

“It’s definitely a wise idea for them to get involved with the club due to the subsidized flight training we offer through scholarships as well as our partnerships with local flight schools,” Faris said. “It’s definitely the best route to prepare you for the military or if you want to go commercial. It’s definitely the best route to get you in the door for aviation.”

The goal is for the club and its training initiatives to become self-sustaining.

Freshmen will learn to fly drones. Sophomores and juniors will take flight instruction, and seniors, who have undergone both levels of training, will become the instructors for fellow underclassmen.

The flying club’s scholarship program depends on donations.

If you’d like to help or learn more about the Citadel Flying Club, visit https://www.citadelflyingclub.com.

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Cadets create indoor farm inside shipping containers https://today.citadel.edu/cadets-create-indoor-farm-inside-shipping-containers/ Fri, 11 Jan 2019 21:09:25 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=5513 Cadets look at lettuce in the sustainable farm container on The Citadel campusCadets look at lettuce in the sustainable farm container on The Citadel campusFrom the confined space of a shipping container, military college cadets grow and harvest hundreds of heads of lettuce per week for staff and students.]]> Cadets look at lettuce in the sustainable farm container on The Citadel campusCadets look at lettuce in the sustainable farm container on The Citadel campus

As seen in Mother Earth News

Inside three shipping containers on the campus of The Citadel, a military college in South Carolina, cadets are learning how to grow lettuce crops in a controlled indoor “farm” setting, producing organic produce in an environment that can withstand unpredictable weather conditions and disease. The cadets’ hands-on education comes from The Citadel Sustainability Project, in which the first shipping container functions as a hydroponic cultivation system for lettuce crops, the second container is a testing ground for various growing systems, and the third container will be outfitted by cadets who design and build the growing equipment as part of a corresponding independent study.

The Citadel STEM Center of Excellence initiated the project in 2016 as an interdisciplinary collaboration. Of the 20 or so students who are members of the Sustainability Club, several are STEM Scholars. We also have electrical engineers who are completing a design project on hydroponics. We’ve had students from almost every campus department — engineering, biology, business — who have worked with the project.

Prior to their graduation, Alex Richardson, who studied engineering, and Cameron Brown, who studied business, managed the growing container with the help of other students motivated by a passion for the environment.

“Cadets are excited about The Citadel Sustainability Project because it incorporates biology, chemistry, computer science, business, engineering, and community outreach. It gives us the opportunity to collaborate with students outside of our own programs on a project focused on global population needs,” Richardson says. “And seeing people on campus eat and enjoy our crops is gratifying.”

A sustainable food source

We’re currently growing more than 4,400 plants in the shipping containers, including collards, lettuce, spinach, and herbs. The nutrients used to grow the crops are recycled within the system’s 100-gallon reservoir and are managed through a smartphone application. The app tracks the metallic minerals in the water and sends nutrients to the plants every 10 minutes. It also displays the water’s temperature and the container’s carbon dioxide and pH levels.

Cadets walk down the middle of the sustainable farm container
More than 4,400 plants, including collards, lettuce, spinach, and herbs, grow in the container. Photo by Stefanie Swackhammer.

The transformation from seed to harvest inside the shipping container farm occurs in five weeks, compared with the 10 weeks the crops would need in an outdoor environment. Thanks to high-density crop production, the cadets harvest more than 800 heads of lettuce per week for the campus restaurant’s salad bar as well as events. Additionally, cadets get to eat the fresh lettuce in the student mess hall. If the growing container is running at full capacity, the 320-square-foot space can yield about 40,000 heads of lettuce per year.

Each container is valued at $115,000 after it’s outfitted. The cadets intend to make the project sustainable by putting profits from the crops toward the purchase of more containers.

“Our self-propagating irrigation system uses up to 98 percent less water than conventional industrial farming does,” says Brown, who wrote the project’s business plan. “We want to expand, grow more, and sustain this Earth-friendly initiative, making our healthy produce available to more members of our community.

In addition to providing a sustainable food source, the goal of the project is to help young entrepreneurs and members of other disciplines gain hands-on experience.

We also try to bring in high school students. Last spring, students from Burke High School, which is next door to our campus, incorporated the indoor farm into one of their projects. Then, a 10th grade economics class wrote business plans for the container with data we provided, and followed up with two field trips to the container.

One of two containers is installed on The Citadel's campus
The container farm is installed in a corner of campus, leaving room for expansion. Photo by The Citadel.

The shipping container farm is located in a back corner of campus near the marsh, with plenty of room for expansion. We’ve submitted a National Science Foundation grant application with The GEL Group, AmplifiedAg, and SuperGreen Solutions to design a system that would filter excess nutrients out of treated wastewater and incorporate sustainable energy so the system could be viable anywhere. Ultimately, we’d like to expand the project to be able to produce more fresh food for the South Carolina Corps of Cadets, which comprises the college’s undergraduate population.

Our advice for other schools thinking about starting a small, sustainable farm like ours: Have a faculty member who’s invested in the success of the project and understands that student interest will wax and wane depending on schedules. It’s also important to have a succession and mentoring plan for students. Seniors mentor juniors; juniors work with underclassmen. That will keep the farm going strong.


Jennifer Albert is the director of The Citadel STEM Center of Excellence. Dalia Martinez graduated from The Citadel in May 2018, and is now a researcher at The Medical University of South Carolina.

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Dr. Sally Selden to serve as The Citadel provost and dean of the college https://today.citadel.edu/sally-selden-citadel-provost-dean-of-the-college/ Thu, 10 Jan 2019 14:55:12 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=5374 Dr. Sally C. SeldenDr. Sally C. SeldenThe president of The Citadel has selected his new second in command. Sally Selden, Ph.D., SPHR, will take over as provost and dean of the college in June. ]]> Dr. Sally C. SeldenDr. Sally C. Selden

The president of The Citadel has selected his new second in command. Sally Selden, Ph.D., SPHR, will take over as provost and dean of the college in June.

Selden is in her 18th year at University of Lynchburg (UL) in Virginia where she served in numerous leadership positions. Most recently, as provost and vice president for academic affairs, Selden helped lead that institution’s strategic planning process alongside the board of trustees. Prior to that, she was a professor of management in the College of Business and Economics at UL.

“Dr. Sally Selden brings with her a proven commitment to scholarship and to leading high impact learning experiences. Her expertise will help transform the lives of our cadets and students as they prepare for the future,” said Gen. Glenn M. Walters, USMC (Ret.), president of The Citadel.

The role of the provost

The provost is a vice presidential position responsible for all matters pertaining to the academic functions of the college and is the second-ranking official at The Citadel. As the college’s chief academic officer, the provost provides leadership in all academic areas, including curriculum and instruction, research and scholarly activity, program development and accreditation, admissions and financial aid, and academic support services.

“It will be a great honor to serve The Citadel with Gen. Walters and the college’s esteemed faculty and staff,” Selden said. “As I begin this new journey, I am eager to meet with faculty, staff, cadets, students and alumni to learn more about The Citadel’s tradition of excellence and the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Selden’s credentials

Selden earned a Ph.D. at the University of Georgia and a Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Arts at the University of Virginia. Selden holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification, and her primary teaching and research interests are in the areas of management, human resource management and leadership. She has published more than 150 books, book chapters, articles, papers and technical publications.

“It is my goal to continue to cultivate an inclusive, student-centered environment to fully support The Citadel’s mission to educate and develop principled leaders,” Selden said.

The selection of Selden as provost comes after national search that began in April 2018. She will replace Mark Bebensee, Ph.D., who has been interim provost since March. He delayed retiring from his 42-year career at The Citadel to help lead the college during the search following the departure of Connie Book, Ph.D., who left to be the president of Elon University.

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Staying fit in space: exploring exercise through project-based learning https://today.citadel.edu/space-middle-school-stem-citadel-nasa-astronaut-bresnik/ Wed, 09 Jan 2019 21:05:10 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=5469 Illustration of Astronauts playing tennis in spaceIllustration of Astronauts playing tennis in spaceAn excerpt from Science Scope, January 2019, Volume 42 Science Scope is the National Science Teachers Association peer-reviewed journal for middle level and junior high school science teachers. The publication]]> Illustration of Astronauts playing tennis in spaceIllustration of Astronauts playing tennis in space

An excerpt from Science Scope, January 2019, Volume 42

Science Scope is the National Science Teachers Association peer-reviewed journal for middle level and junior high school science teachers. The publication published a collaborative project by three professors from The Citadel who are committed to supporting STEM  and literacy education at all levels. “Staying fit in space” provides an interdisciplinary unit middle school teachers can use, based on a project during which students researched the effects of exercise in space. Part of their research was conducted in coordination with NASA and Citadel alumnus/astronaut, Col. Randy Bresnik, while he was commanding a mission on the International Space Station.

This is a consolidated excerpt from that journal article. Read the full article here, courtesy of Science Scope.
Science Scope logo

Staying fit in space

In space, astronauts have to exercise every day to prevent muscle and bone loss. However, exercising in space is much different from what we’re used to on Earth. Astronauts need to use exercise equipment designed for space because objects on Earth are much lighter in space due to microgravity, the state in which all objects fall at the same rate and appear to float.

To engage students’ prior knowledge about life in space, we start the lesson by showing them a video clip about the ISS, a research laboratory staffed with national and international scientists that continually orbits Earth at 402 km (250 mi.) above Earth’s surface. In a discussion following the video clip, students mentioned that “being in space is a lot more than just being hundreds of miles above the Earth’s surface.” This comment led to a discussion on how basic activities on Earth are very difficult to carry out in space. As a class, we list activities (e.g., walking, eating) that would be difficult to do on the ISS and activities (e.g., flying) that would be easier on the ISS. We then ask students to brainstorm what made some activities easier and others harder.

To connect to the central focus and goals of the learning segment, we ask students to brainstorm about how microgravity affects the human body and why it might be necessary but difficult to exercise in space. We suggest asking students to think of moments when they may have experienced weightlessness (e.g., jumping on a trampoline or riding a roller coaster). We then ask students to think about how we can measure the effects of exercise on the body. Most students have heard of an exercise tracker such as a FitBit. We suggest asking, “What does the exercise tracker monitor?”

Explaining

We begin the Explain phase with a discussion about the human body in space to prepare students for a collaborative research project. We tell students that the heart is made up of the unique cardiac muscle, which tirelessly contracts approximately 100,000 times a day, and then we ask why they think the heart needs to contract. Student answers varied, but many said that the cells in our body require oxygen and nutrients and that we need an efficient delivery system to supply the cells with their requirements and remove waste products.

We provide students with specific examples focusing on the role of the heart in the human body, saying: “Every time it contracts, the heart ejects blood at a high force around the body. Cells that work more need a greater supply of blood. For example, during exercise, muscle cells are working harder and need more oxygen and nutrients. The heart is also beating faster, generating a greater force and pumping blood around the body at a faster pace.”

Challenge

In the Elaborate phase, students select an astronaut currently serving on the ISS, design an activity tracker based on that astronaut’s profile, and create a video advertisement to sell their activity tracker to their selected astronaut. These activities engage students in authentic design-based thinking and problem solving and can be linked to technology, mathematics, and English/language arts standards.

Conversation with an astronaut

In the culminating assessment for this lesson, students have a conversation with an astronaut on the ISS. To prepare for the conversation, students create questions that draw upon their experiences with the class discussion, lab, and health band activities. As a class, students debate the merits of various questions and select five questions to ask astronaut Randy Bresnik during the LiveLink conversation.

(Watch a video from the conversation below.)

Conclusion

This learning segment engages students in a variety of activities, such as discussion, debate, experimentation, design, and multimodal presentation, all of which support active learning about important STEM topics. Students also have the opportunity to think critically about potential STEM careers and career pathways.

As astronaut Randy Bresnik stated during the LiveLink”

We need people beyond us to do this job and take us beyond the space station. That’s you guys in school, you guys studying and looking at all these neat things in STEM, that are allowing you to figure out how to make things, create things, engineer things. You guys can be the astronauts to take us to Mars and beyond.

The authors 

Jennifer Albert, Ph.D., Director of The Citadel STEM Center of Excellence
Sarah Imam, M.D., Professor of Health and Human Performance
Robin Jocius, Ph.D.,  Professor and program coordinator for Literacy Education in the Zucker Family School of Education at The Citadel.

 

Need more information ?

For more information, please contact the director of The Citadel STEM Center of Excellence , Dr. Jennifer Albert, at jalbert@citadel.edu.

 

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Classical Liberalism and the Limits to Compromise https://today.citadel.edu/liberalism-economics-citadel-ebeling/ Wed, 09 Jan 2019 11:00:27 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=5457 American Institute for Economic Research logoAmerican Institute for Economic Research logoThere are elements of truth, reasonableness, and experience within both of these “extremes,” and the lesson to be learned, they argue, is to construct a compromise between the two.]]> American Institute for Economic Research logoAmerican Institute for Economic Research logo

As seen on AIER.org (American Institute for Economic Research)

By Richard M. Ebeling, Ph.D., BB&T Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise at The Citadel

Prof. Richard Ebeling, The Citadel
Prof. Richard Ebeling, The Citadel

The tense and seemingly polarized political environment in America today has raised the issue of whether there is some way to reduce the ideological and government-policy conflicts by finding some middle way between the “extremist” positions of “left” and “right.” The fundamental question in all of this is, Can and should liberty be compromised in the pursuit of such a middle-of-the-road alternative?

Senior staff members of the Niskanen Center have issued what amounts to a manifesto making the case for such a middle way in an article titled, “The Center Can Hold: Public Policy for an Age of Extremes” (December 2018). The authors are Brink Lindsey, Will Wilkinson, Steven Teles, and Samuel Hammond.

They basically argue that neither the libertarians nor the progressives and democratic socialists have the only or full and correct answer to America’s or the world’s social, political, and economic problems. There are elements of truth, reasonableness, and experience within both of these “extremes,” and the lesson to be learned, they argue, is to construct a compromise between the two.

Strengths and Claimed Weaknesses of Liberal Capitalism

On the one hand, they say, the market economy has now long demonstrated that it delivers the goods in the long run, sponsoring and creating incentives for work, saving, investment, and most especially the dynamic innovation that improves the material conditions of humankind. Markets and competitive prices are essential for the working of the free economy, but there are limits and problems inherent in the market system, they insist, that only government can effectively and justly correct.

In their view, business needs the restraining and overseeing hand of government policy to correct environmental and financial-market problems that cannot be prevented when the market is left on its own. What must be created, they say, is “a framework of rules designed to link the pursuit of private profit to the service of the public interest” because “it is essential to a properly constituted market where firms can’t make excess profit by pushing off costs onto others.” (See my article “Ten Years on: Recession, Recovery, and the Regulatory State.”)

In addition, capitalism is said to have a tendency toward excessive market concentration when free from government rules and regulations on the size of firms. “If you want competition, therefore,” they write, “you need an active governmental bias in its favor.” A paternalistic governmental hand is needed in the educational sphere as well — not only in the sense of government schooling, but governmental oversight of private and charter schools as well. Regulators must control who can open schools and when they are to be closed, because parents are too ill-informed without political assistance to know what to look for and to want in a school for their children. (See my article “Educational Socialism Versus the Free Market.”)

Furthermore, markets and society in general contain social legacies from the past, a past in which they may have discriminated against or excluded and harmed various minority groups. To break away from this negative intergenerational legacy, society and government must function with “a strong presumption of widespread opportunity and an openness to redistribution.”

Problems With Progressives and Needs for Government

This now gets us to the authors’ view of progressives and the political left. They declare a rejection of anything-goes, unbridled democratic decision-making under which majorities may do harmful and undesirable things to a minority, and which may have wider bad effects on society as a whole. And they tip their hat to public choice theory in that they warn of the dangers in which government regulatory and redistributive powers are used to provide concentrated benefits for narrow special interest groups at the expense of the majority in society, who bear the diffused costs of the gains for those smaller groups able to influence government.

“Democracy,” they say, “like the market economy, needs to be properly regulated to function effectively.” What is needed are “rules that correct for democratic pathologies, but without taking away from the people the right to rule themselves.”

They also discard the political left’s residual calls for old-fashioned socialist central planning and direction of economic and social affairs. They give a nod to Friedrich A. Hayek by stating that there is more knowledge dispersed among all the members of society than a handful of central planners can ever hope to fully and successfully master and apply. Instead, they want single-focused, direct regulatory or fiscal policies to move people and activities in the desired directions while leaving it to people in markets and society to adapt as they see best to reach the politically decided targets and patterns of human interaction.

The upshot of their critique of the “left” and “right” is to then offer a new package deal of their own: “the free-market welfare state.” They argue that societies with large social-welfare programs and wealth transfers “correlate positively” with free markets and “good governance.” Besides, as another economist they quote says, “The more wealth we have, the more government we can afford.”

Referencing the famous Austrian-born economist Joseph A. Schumpeter, they point out that capitalism is both creative and destructive. That is, competitive capitalism effectively replaces existing technologies, products, and ways of producing and marketing goods with new and better ones that all work to make human circumstances greatly improved over time.

But, in the shorter run, capitalism’s disturbances of the prevailing conditions of work and the social order disrupt how people make a living, the standard and quality of their lives, and their senses of community and shared meaning. People often resent and resist these changes to their lives by turning to political means that potentially restrain markets and sometimes weaken the democratic process.

Searching for a Middle Way for Policy

In the authors’ view, the only way to temper, if not to prevent, these antisocial tendencies is to counter them through the institutions of the welfare state that offer security-providing financial floors to prevent those negatively affected by market changes from falling too far, and through trying to otherwise prevent their fall through those anti-market policies that would hinder desired improvement from the wider social perspective.

For them, government is and should be viewed “as an insurance company with an army.” They point to what they consider to be the “comparative advantage governments have in pooling risk [that] produces enormous utility for society as a whole and is unlikely to ever be unwound, at least not without enormous levels of gratuitous suffering.”

All that needs to be done, the authors say, is that “government commitments are in line with available resources [as] an essential element of good governance.” Good government therefore “should interpret its role as defending programs like Social Security and unemployment insurance, ensuring their long-run integrity through prudent public finance.” (See my article “There Is No Social Security Santa Claus.”)

What is required is to put aside ideological perspectives and blind spots, to instead pragmatically judge each issue on its empirically observed merits of success or workability. If markets work, all the better. If they don’t achieve the social goals desired, then use the government to restrain, regulate, or replace the market, and to redistribute income and wealth so outcomes are more in line with desired social patterns of human affairs.

They call for an end to thinking about “politics as a war between liberalism and conservatism.… Rather, both sides hold a partial view of the good, which when balanced within a well-designed constitution can correct each other’s pathologies.… Our distinctive vision represents an attempt to learn from and incorporate what is best in a variety of ideological traditions,” they conclude. “With this approach, we hope to model the art of moderation … and [move] away from the toxic tribalism of our current politics.”

The Old German Welfare State Under a New Label

At one level, we have heard all of this before, more than 100 years ago. In the late 19th century, the beginnings of the modern welfare state were being introduced and implemented in Imperial Germany, at first under the guidance of the “iron chancellor,” Otto von Bismarck, in the 1880s and 1890s. Young American scholars who had gone over to Germany to finish their advanced degrees in one of the social sciences came back to the United States enthusiastic about the “progressive” direction of enlightened German social-welfare policy.

The manifesto authors’ experiential pragmatism, which sets aside notions of government based on “extreme” principles, was articulated, for instance, in a work about Imperial Germany written by William H. Dawson in the decade before the First World War: “No department of economic activity should on principle be closed to the State; whether it should or should not participate side by side with private enterprise, is a matter of expediency and the public interest.… The jurisdiction of the government is a matter not of principle, but of expediency.” What was known as the German Historical School advocated this pragmatic approach to government; it called it state socialism and said it represented a middle way between a totally free market and radical socialism. As Dawson explained, “State socialism is the mean between these two directions of thought; in it the two extremes meet.”

Another American, Frederic C. Howe (who later served in FDR’s New Deal administration), said in his book Socialized Germany (1915):

In the mind of the Germans the functions of the state are not susceptible of abstract deductions. Each proposal must be decided by the time and the conditions. If it seems advisable for the state to own an industry it should proceed to own it; if it is wise to curb any class or interest it should be curbed. Expediency or opportunism is the rule of statesmanship, not abstraction as to the philosophic nature of the state.… The individual exists for the state, not the state for the individual.…

This paternalism does not necessarily mean less freedom to the individual than that which prevails in America or England. It is a different kind of freedom.… This freedom is of an economic sort.… First in the list of such [redistributive] activities are the social insurance schemes which distribute to the community the burdens of sickness, old age, accident, and invalidity. These in themselves have freed millions of men and women from fear of the future, from loss of self-respect, and have kept them as producing members of the community.

So the Niskanen Center authors are merely calling for more of the same, more of what has been advocated and, in many places, implemented as a supposed alternative to the philosophical extremes of free market capitalism and centrally planned socialism. They, like others over the last 125 years, are the intellectual grandchildren of those in Imperial Germany who first created what these modern American authors call the market-welfare state, forms of which nations around the world have been living under for many decades now, including the United States. (See my article “American Progressives Are Bismarck’s Grandchildren.”)

The Paradoxes of Democratic Paternalism

To begin with, they want to have their cake and eat it too. That is, they want a political-economic system that combines what are fundamentally two irreconcilable principles: one that says human relationships should be based on the individual’s freedom of choice and peaceful association with others; and another under which a higher political authority restricts or manipulates what choices people may make and what forms their associations with others may take on, including a redistribution of the respective income shares received by all members of society from what they otherwise would have been if based on free exchange and contract without government interference.

The ethics and economics of the free society are grounded in the idea that individuals, all things considered, are better judges of their own interests and resulting choices than those in government, who know little or nothing about them as distinct and unique persons. The classical liberal or libertarian has never claimed that all individuals have perfect knowledge or wisdom to always make decisions that are free from error, mistake, or faulty judgement, but only that all people have a better sense of their own circumstances, their own lessons of life, and their own notions of want and desire, and a greater incentive to try to get the decisions right, than a politician or bureaucrat sitting far away not even knowing of those individuals’ actual existence or situations.

The political paternalist usually responds that individuals are guided in their choices not only by imperfect or faulty knowledge, but by emotions and passions that cloud their judgement about a more objective weighing of the risks and payoffs involved in alternatives between which they may choose, and too often fails to give sufficient weight to the gains in the future over the pleasures of the more immediate present.

Of course, it might be asked, if it is true that too many of our fellow citizens are bundles of emotional and illogical decision-making, then why is it that it is presumed that these same individuals can somehow transcend these frequent and seemingly inescapable human shortcomings and frailties to intelligently and wisely cast their democratic votes for those who are to hold political office and who then devise the policies meant to correct the very human-decision-making imperfections that somehow do not prevent the democratic process from being dysfunctional as well?

I need a jailer and a keeper because I cannot be trusted to be left free to make my own decisions and handle my own mistakes; but I am nonetheless informed, knowledgeable, and wise enough to select the political jailers and keepers who will make just the right institutional and policy decisions for me that I am unable to successfully make without such political overseers taking on that responsibility for me.

This is the great paradox of democratic paternalism. “The people” are supposed to rule in the sense of picking those who will hold political office and hire others to man the government bureaucracies, which will then micromanage their lives through the policy tools of the interventionist-welfare state. But those same people cannot be left alone to peacefully rule over their own daily lives, decide on the choices to make and the human relationships to enter into, or accept the competitive market outcomes of relative income shares reflecting the appraised value of each person’s contribution to the production processes that manufacture and then supply the goods that all of us as consumers decide to buy or not to buy.

Is this not just the Rousseauian myth that while individuals may err in their personal choices, the general will of the people as a whole may be trusted to make the right decisions for the community in general?

The Intermediary Institutions of Civil Society

But are there not needed collaborative efforts in society that are beyond market supply and demand, it may be asked in response? Are there not injustices due to the actions of people in both the past and the present? Must not there be some mechanisms to address these and related social problems, and does not this require middle-of-the-road solutions between laissez-faire and the all-controlling state?

At one point in their manifesto, the authors highlight the relevance and importance of intermediary institutions of civil society — family, church, neighborhood — but one sees no willingness to see the power and importance of them in handling many of the very types of problems that they turn to the government to handle and cure. The needs of those truly in serious personal and financial straits are more likely to be effectively met by those in local communities, by people who are drawn to a concern for their fellow human beings with a better appreciation and understanding of the immediate surrounding circumstances and the opportunities to alleviate the distresses and problems of those requiring such support.

There are also the benefits of potential competitive forces even in the arena of charity and philanthropy. When the government is taken out of the process, such charitable organizations must make persuasive appeals for financial and in-kind support from others in society. They must make the case that the problem being given their attention and the methods they consider best to employ will be effective in helping those to whom they have reached out. There is, to use F.A. Hayek’s phrase, a “discovery procedure” in the work of charitable and community good works no less than in the marketplace to uncover the better ways to solve the“social problem that seems to be afflicting various members of society.

Of course, this raises uncertainties not present when government preempts all or most of such activity through compulsory taxation and bureaucratic control. Will enough people be willing to give personal and financial support? Will all those considered to be needing such assistance be reached? But these are questions that are inescapable in a free society. The classical liberal or libertarian, however, argues that the most effective results are likely to emerge within a setting in which individuals are cultivated to consider their voluntary responsibilities to others in society, based on senses of ethical association with their fellow human beings.

Dehumanizing Humanity Through State Action

Long ago, the French social philosopher Bertrand de Jouvenel, in his The Ethics of Redistribution (1951), argued that transferring decision-making concerning welfare and other societal matters from the domain of the private sector to that of the state reduces both the financial and the psychological ability of people to be concerned with ameliorating the poorer conditions of some of their fellow human beings.

Preserving primary responsibility for such matters in the private arena of civil society enables the cultivation of an intergenerational awareness of duty and responsibility to freely give of one’s time and resources to the economic, social, and cultural needs of the human community that may fall outside of the profit-oriented market order.

But once this transfer of responsibility is made from the individual and the family to the political authority, it diminishes not only the monetary wherewithal for doing so, but it breaks the chain of learning proper senses of social obligation that normally have been passed on from parent to child by observing and experiencing such conduct within the household in which a person grows up.

Instead, there emerges more of a depersonalized indifference in the form of “I’ve paid my taxes, that’s the responsibility of the government and its welfare agencies.” If this seems like an exaggeration, a few years ago the German news magazine Der Spiegel (August 10, 2010) ran an article on how many German millionaires rejected the notion of private sector charity, arguing that to follow the still-existing American example of voluntary giving for social and philanthropic purposes threatened to undermine the welfarist duties best left to the government and its bureaucratic “experts.” These were not to be considered concerns of private individuals or families, but affairs of state. What can be more dehumanizing in matters of having a sense of shared community and interpersonal empathy and action than such an attitude? (See my article “A World Without the Welfare State.”)

The Welfare State’s Unlimited Tendency to Grow

Again, our authors would no doubt reply that this shows the need for a balance of private and public, so the former is not swallowed up by the latter. But where is the “objective” or consensus borderline between one and the other that is to be discovered and maintained? At a meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society as far back as 1956, the German free market economist Wilhelm RÖpke, who was himself a strong, though increasingly frustrated, advocate of trying to find a similar type of middle way, warned:

If it is granted that the modern welfare state is nothing but an ever-expanding system of publicly organized compulsory provision, then it follows that it enters into competition with the other forms of provision in a free society: One’s own, by saving and insurance, or voluntary provision by families and groups. The more compulsory provision encroaches upon the other forms, the less room will be left for individual and family provision, as it absorbs resources which might be devoted to this purpose and at the same time threatens to paralyze the will for individual provision and for voluntary mutual assistance.

Worse still, it is impossible to stop on the road once one has advanced far enough as the weakening of self-reliance and mutual assistance will give rise to increasing pressure for further public provision for the masses, and this in turn will further paralyze individual and voluntary mutual assistance.

If we look at the development in this way, we will find that it is quite wrong to regard the modern welfare state with its mechanical and compulsory mass relief as a sign of progress.… Anybody who is serious about human dignity should on the contrary measure progress by the degree in which we can today expect the masses to solve the problem of their rainy days from their own resources and under their own responsibility.

This, and only this, would be worthy of free and grown-up persons, not the constant reliance on the state for an assistance which, as we saw, can in the last analysis come only out of the pockets of the taxpayers themselves.… Is it progress if we classify more and more people as economic wards to be looked after by the colossal guardian “State”?

In a further discussion of the welfare state at another Mont Pelerin Society meeting two years later in 1958, RÖpke warned that “the modern Welfare State is, indeed, a development moving on its own momentum. In its concept, there is no limit to it. At the same time and for the same reasons, it is a one-way street. To extend the Welfare State is not only easy but one of the surest ways for the social demagogue to win votes and influence.” He forlornly concluded, “But to return on this road is next to impossible even if it is a case where no reasonable person can have any doubts that there are mistakes which have to be corrected.” (See my article “Freedom and the Fear of Self-Responsibility.”)

The Regulatory State and the Power of Special Interests

The same applies to the regulatory state, in that there is no logical limit to the extension of controls and compulsions other than the countervailing influences and powers of other special interest groups and bureaucracies all battling over the same resources through state action. The authors, in spite of their nod to public choice theory, fail to follow its logic to its inescapable conclusion.

That conclusion is that unless there is a constitutional and cultural insistence on a separation of economy and society from the state, the latter will always be tending to encroach upon the former, as RÖpke warned. Why? Precisely due to the pressures of the concentration of benefits on selected groups benefiting from regulatory governmental policies, and from the bureaucracies overseeing the general interventionist system.

Those likely to gain from government interventions of various sorts have strong incentives to be informed and willing to incur costs to obtain the regulatory restraints on competitors or the financial redistributions that government actions can bring their way. Those who direct or who are employed in the government departments, bureaus, and agencies have strong incentives to always see their own personal interest improved through greater regulatory and redistributing authority and larger budgets paid for through taxpayer dollars. At the same time, politicians have the motive to promise more and more government “free stuff” and entitlements to gain the support of coalitions of interest groups in exchange for campaign contributions and votes on election day. (See my article “Out-of-Control Government: How, Why, and What to Do.”)

The checks on these forces from other directions in the political process under our current system do not arise from some natural limits to growth in government, but merely the temporary successes and frustrations of some coalition-forming vested interest groups versus others in the play of democratic politics.

There are no wise and deliberative avenues to ensure more rational and far-seeing interventionist-welfare-state policies in place of the current democratic free-for-all, as the authors of the Niskanen Center manifesto call for and believe can be attained. Of course, there could be an attempt to go beyond democratic politics to a stronger and more independent state, but even moderate authoritarianism has been found to have its own corrupting and poisoning practices, which the authors would, no doubt, find equally unacceptable.

Marginal Choices in Markets vs. Politics

Students in economics classes are taught the meaning of “the margin.” That is, in everyday life many, if not most, of our choices are incremental — a little bit more of this at the cost of a little bit less of that, until some preferred or optimal combination is chosen by the individual, given the limited means and opportunities before them from which they may select.

If this is possible for individuals in their daily choices and decisions in the marketplace, then why not in the political arena as well? We forgo a little bit of personal or market freedom here to have some collective government-policy benefits there. It must not be forgotten that political choices have qualities inherently different from those made by people in the market arena.

First, market choices tend to be individualistic; that is, that you want to spend some of your money on an ocean cruise and a new flat-screen television does not prevent me from putting instead more of my earned income into a savings account for future retirement or donating to what I consider a worthy charitable cause.

The marketplace is the real institutional setting of pluralism, diversity, and inclusiveness. Numerous individual preferences and values are simultaneously served in the competitive market process. Thus, a diverse set of desires by many different people and groups are satisfied at the same time; and the set includes many minority segments of the population who, if they are willing and able to spend the minimal amounts necessary to make it marginally profitable for some producers and suppliers to fulfill their demands, can have those demands satisfied, as can majorities of buyers desiring other things.

This adaptability and availability does not exist in the same way in the arena of political choice and decision-making. Majorities (or coalitions of minorities able to form a majority on election day) get what they want at the expense of the losing minority voters; the winning choices are coercively imposed on all others in society until potentially changed in the next election cycle; and citizens are compelled to pay through taxes for government programs and activities about which they may strongly disapprove, thereby divesting them of the financial means and personal freedom to pursue the goals they would have preferred instead if not for the imposing power of the political authority. (See my article “Political Planning Versus Personal Planning by Everyone.”)

Civil Society and Overcoming Past Injustices

At the same time, there are no more powerful means of achieving many of the ends about which the authors express their concern than the institutions of civil society and the unregulated and unhampered working of the competitive market process. History has shown enough times over the last 200 years that the greatest threat of anticompetitive conduct by private enterprises arises from the use of government to prohibit or restrain domestic and foreign competition. Prevent political privilege and favoritism through government policy, and few concerns will remain in the long run about monopoly or concentrated economic power in production or marketing. (See my article “Capitalism and the Misunderstanding of Monopoly.”)

There certainly have been injustices to individuals and social groups in the past, and sometimes they have been shockingly egregious in their forms and consequences. But history cannot be rewritten or undone. Cruelties and injustices committed many decades or even centuries ago cannot be reversed. If nothing else, many of the real victims and perpetrators of such circumstances are long gone; justice cannot be meted out to actual guilty parties when they are long dead.

To turn over responsibility and power to government to right past wrongs inevitably makes many in society pay for sins they never committed and rewards others who are not the ones abused or hurt at that earlier time. Guilt becomes not individual, but collective and group-based. In the name of a cry for social justice regarding crimes and indignities committed in the past, many innocents are to be made to pay for the wrongful actions of those with whom they may have no direct or indirect connection by birth, place, or time. It is to make the sins of a nameless father in the past fall upon living individuals who are categorized by current ideological prejudices and political pressures as the sons and daughters who are to pay in some form. This is a recipe for political demagoguery and dangerous societal divisions that uses past injustices as a rationale for redistributive plunder in the here and now.

Here too, the only solution to the fact that some descendants of those mistreated in the past may be the disadvantaged of the present is to depoliticize such concerns and instead appeal to and draw upon the good will and charitable sentiments of others through the free associations of civil society to find ways of improving the circumstances of the presently disadvantaged. To do otherwise is to transform society into a politicized tribalism in which each sees the government as a tool in a zero-sum game in which some segments try to gain by politically disadvantaging others. This creates neither justice nor tranquil social outcomes. (See my article “Free Markets, Not Government, Improve Race Relations.”)

Liberty Compromised Is a Humane Society Lost

However disappointing and frustrating it may be for the Niskanen Center authors, there is no just, workable, or sustainable middle way of the form and type they dream about. Sometimes the choices we face are categorical (either/or) and not incremental. If freedom is to be preserved, the political order and its institutions need to be thought of as just such a categorical choice, and not one of marginal trade-offs between liberty and coercion. Once the latter road is taken, every step slowly but surely sees freedom diminished and compulsion increased.

In other words, liberty in its personal, social, and economic aspects cannot be compromised without threatened and actual loss of its essential qualities and a losing of the moorings that protect humanity from the paternalistic and overbearing and tyrannizing state. It also means the loss of the institutional and cultural settings in which social problems can be dealt with in ways far better and more effectively than when these matters are misguidedly transferred to government decision-making

This was emphasized by the Austrian economist and social philosopher F.A. Hayek in his last major work, Law, Legislation, and Liberty, in volume 1 (1973, p. 57):

When we decide each issue solely on what appear to be its individual merits, we always over-estimate the advantages of central direction.… If the choice between freedom and coercion is thus treated as a matter of expediency, freedom is bound to be sacrificed in almost every instance.… To make the decision in each instance depend only on the foreseeable particular results must lead to the progressive destruction of freedom. There are probably few restrictions on freedom which could not be justified on the grounds that we do not know the particular loss they will cause.

“That freedom can be preserved only if it is treated as a supreme principle which must not be sacrificed for particular advantages was fully understood by the leading liberal thinkers of the nineteenth century, one of whom even described liberalism as ‘the system of principles.’ Such is the chief burden of their warnings concerning ‘What is seen and what is not seen in political economy’ [Frederic Bastiat] and about ‘the pragmatism that contrary to the intentions of its representatives inexorably leads to socialism’ [Carl Menger].”

Classical liberalism and libertarianism are the political philosophies of compromise, justice, and inclusiveness, a true middle ground of human relationships in society. But it is only because it reduces the political to the minimum needed to preserve individual liberty, private property, and freedom of association while leaving free persons to find their own balances between desired and diverse ends and to coordinate and make compromises on their conflicting purposes through the institutions of the competitive market process and the voluntarism of civil society.

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The Citadel named one of 10 most innovative schools in the South https://today.citadel.edu/the-citadel-named-one-of-10-most-innovative-schools-in-the-south/ Tue, 08 Jan 2019 11:00:45 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=5451 Photo courtesy of The Post and Courier, by Lauren PetraccaPhoto courtesy of The Post and Courier, by Lauren PetraccaJoseph Taffner, treasurer of the Maker Space Club, goes virtual reality skiing in the Daniel Library. Photo courtesy of The Post and Courier, by Lauren Petracca As seen in The]]> Photo courtesy of The Post and Courier, by Lauren PetraccaPhoto courtesy of The Post and Courier, by Lauren Petracca

Joseph Taffner, treasurer of the Maker Space Club, goes virtual reality skiing in the Daniel Library. Photo courtesy of The Post and Courier, by Lauren Petracca

As seen in The Post and Courier, by Jeff Hartsell

Citadel freshman Joseph Taffner straps on a pair of virtual-reality goggles that make him look like an alien wearing headphones. He chooses a ski run from the digital menu and is off, carving his way down the mountain with no fear of face planting.

At the end of the run, there’s no trudge to the lift line. Taffner is in The Citadel’s “Makerspace” in Daniel Library, an emerging technologies lab and one of the military school’s features that helped its recent recognition from US News and World Report.

The Makerspace lab includes 3-D printers, a milling machine, a large format printer and other technologies, including the VR goggles, computer-assisted design software and lessons in hologram making. Virtual-reality skiing provides Taffner and other cadets a welcome break during finals week.

“I’m in here a lot, probably three or four times a day,” said Taffner, a mathematics major from upstate New York. “You can come here to not be in the barracks. I can make whatever I want on the printers, and it’s very relaxing.”

The Makerspace also is important in providing cadets with the hands-on experience that can pay off in the job market.

“It’s vital, because these are the skills that people will need,” said Dan Hawkins, the academic technology librarian at The Citadel. “Employers are looking for people with the ability to solve problems, for people with practical experience in working with their hands, and people with digital skills. The stuff you can learn here in Makerspace is exactly that.”

Hawkins said cadets from foreign-language classes to art classes and the business school have found applications for the 3-D printers, for example.

“The purpose of the space is to give students some skills that will help them in whatever discipline they are in,” he said. “If you look at industry hiring now, there is a big gap between engineers and unskilled labor; the real need is somewhere in between.”

Other examples of innovation at The Citadel include:

The Swain Dept. of Nursing Human’s Simulation Lab allows cadets and students to practice inserting needles, checking vital signs and responding to heart attack or stroke symptoms on adult and pediatric mannequins.

• The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Speaker Series brings successful entrepreneurs to speak to cadets each semester at the Tommy and Victoria Baker School of Business.

• Since 2011, seniors in the Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering have developed self-driving vehicles to compete in an international competition that promotes innovation in the application of numerous technologies to self-driving vehicles.

• The Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching, Learning and Distance Education provides leadership and support for innovation in teaching both in the classroom and online. The center recently announced a Teaching, Learning and Technology Lab, which houses a wide range of technologies and applications to support future educators.

• The Sustainability Project teaches cadets how to grow crops in a controlled, indoor farm setting, helping to produce healthy, organic produce regardless of unpredictable weather or crop disease.

Other examples include the business schools’ annual Business Bowl competition; a recent grant to develop campus guidebooks on racial understanding and equity; and a class taught by former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley on the making of the International African American Museum.

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The Marines’ former second-in-command takes the reins at The Citadel https://today.citadel.edu/walters-marines-president-citadel-post-courier/ Wed, 02 Jan 2019 18:18:10 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=5436 Citadel President, Gen. Glen Walters, USMC (Ret.) with cadets at Bulldogs gameCitadel President, Gen. Glen Walters, USMC (Ret.) with cadets at Bulldogs gameRetired Gen. Glenn Walters returned to his alma mater as its 20th president in the fall of 2018 and found The Citadel had changed for the better.]]> Citadel President, Gen. Glen Walters, USMC (Ret.) with cadets at Bulldogs gameCitadel President, Gen. Glen Walters, USMC (Ret.) with cadets at Bulldogs game

As seen in The Post and Courier, by Paul Bowers

Retired Gen. Glenn Walters returned to his alma mater as its 20th president in the fall of 2018 and found The Citadel had changed for the better.

Opportunities for veteran students had expanded. Popular new programs had been added in engineering, nursing and cybersecurity. The Corps of Cadets had just admitted its most diverse class in history.

Perhaps the most striking change of all: For the first time in the public military college’s 175-year existence, a female cadet is leading the Corps as regimental commander this year. When Walters was a cadet, the only women he saw on campus were working in the mess hall or the administrative building.

“There’s a lot that has changed that is good, but all that was good has stayed,” said Walters, a member of the class of 1979.

The son of a CIA station chief, Walters grew up mostly overseas in Pakistan, Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon, India and Japan. When he enrolled at The Citadel, he wanted to be a history major but switched to electrical engineering after his father and some professors “put the thumb on me,” he said.

His fascination with history still endured: Today, he reckons he has about 600 books on his iPad, mostly nonfiction works on 19th- and 20th-century American history.

He graduated as one of only six electrical engineers in his class, and he recalls watching enviously as his classmates entered civilian careers and took their pick of high-paying jobs in desirable locations. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps and reported for flight training in Pensacola, Florida.

During his 39-year career in the Marines, Walters served as a test pilot and deployed overseas to Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. He earned the Distinguished Service Medal and the Defense Superior Service Medal, and he climbed the ranks until he retired in 2018 as the second-highest ranking officer in the Marine Corps.

In his final post as assistant commandant, he oversaw 184,000 active-duty Marines, 38,000 reservists and a budget of more than $42 billion.

For his first venture into academia, Walters now oversees a campus of about 3,500 students and an $80 million budget. He earns a salary of $187,500.

He said he sees the job of college president as a matter of service — a virtue he says he learned back in the late ’70s as a cadet.

“In the end, we’re all going to get rolled into a pine box. And when they do that, what do you want accomplished?” Walters said. “If my life’s goal was to die with the most toys and the most money, this isn’t the right place to do it. But if you want to leave something that you paid forward … the best thing we can do for our country is pay attention to and train and educate and make good human beings out of our young people.”

Big plans

Among the most ambitious ideas Walters has proposed in his first semester at The Citadel would be a new effort to counter the nationwide trend of tuition rates creeping upward year after year.

“Eventually, I’d like to get the operating costs at such a state that we never have to raise tuition,” he said. “In fact, in five years I’d love to lower tuition despite the fact that inflationary pressures are in the opposite direction.”

Tuition currently clocks in at $29,663 for in-state freshmen and $52,135 for out-of-state freshmen, an all-inclusive amount that covers dining, uniforms, laundry services and mandatory housing in the barracks.

To rein operating costs in, Walters said he wants to take a zero-based approach to budgeting, weighing the benefits of each budget item year after year rather than automatically funding something just because it was funded the year before.

He said the school also will pursue new grants and foundation donations to help students afford tuition.

And he said he’ll look into new possibilities for generating revenue. He highlighted the example of the college renting out Johnson Hagood Stadium to the Charleston Mac Off, a popular annual mac-and-cheese competition coming up Jan. 12. He said more ideas like that could help turn the college’s athletic facilities into greater revenue producers.

One other possibility for increasing revenue remains on the table: increasing enrollment. But with all cadets required to live on campus, any headcount increases would have to come in lockstep with new barracks construction. The beginning of the fall semester drove that point home dramatically, as an unexpected influx of 92 new cadets forced the college to squeeze bunks into trailers and even a clock tower.

“I don’t think we should take it off the table,” Walters said.

Walters’ other great ambition is to come up with a comprehensive plan for building improvements, renovations and replacements for the historic campus on the banks of the Ashley River, which dates to 1922. He said he plans to hire a vice president specifically to work on capital projects.

After breaking ground on Bastin Hall, the future home for the School of Business, Walters has turned his attention to replacing Capers Hall, an iconic Moorish-style building from 1949 that houses several academic departments. He said his other concerns include the school’s parking and engineering facilities.

“All those things are moving parts that we haven’t had to look at in detail,” Walters said.

Holding to tradition

The portion of Citadel graduates who enter military service waxes and wanes with the demands of wartime and peacetime. The federal government drafted the college’s entire Class of 1944 into service during the summer before its members’ junior year. For the past several years, about one-third of each graduating class has commissioned as an officer in the U.S. military.

Still, from the barracks to the mess hall to the uniforms and precision drills, the college maintains a distinctly military feel. And when it comes to a hallmark of that military environment, the “fourth-class” system that requires freshmen to obey the lawful orders of any upperclassman, Walters said he doesn’t plan to make any changes.

Leaders within The Citadel’s own ranks have criticized the system as a root cause of the violent hazing that has plagued the school for well over a half-century, starting with President Gen. Charles P. Summerall in 1943, who told the Board of Visitors, “The oppression exercised over fourth-classmen is not discipline but the antithesis of discipline.” More recently, in 2014, former Citadel Assistant Commandant Kevin Dopf wrote in a doctoral dissertation that the fourth-class system remained a key part of an abusive culture on campus.

Walters acknowledged that the college has had hazing problems in the past, but he said the problem changed for the better since retired Navy Capt. Geno Paluso took charge as commandant of cadets in 2014. Paluso led a high-profile hazing crackdown in 2015 that ended with him recommending 19 cadets for suspension, dismissal or expulsion.

“That’s the big difference. You didn’t do anything about it when it was discovered 20 years ago, 40 years ago in my case,” Walters said. “But now, when it does pop up and people are held to account, that’s what changes behavior. Cultural change happens over a generation, and I would say that Capt. Geno Paluso has started that.”

 

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