Dear Citadel Family,
Occasionally, The Citadel refines processes or procedures to assure the college is running smoothly. When we make significant refinements, we will explain why we’re taking the action so that our Citadel family understands the action being taken and why. With that in mind I would like to provide an update on a refinement we are making to cadet company assignments.
Starting in academic year 2020-2021, The Citadel will assign each rising sophomore cadet to a different company than the one they were in for freshman year. The change to the cadet assignment program is intended to balance the number of cadets in each company, which provides a number of benefits.
Historically, cadet attrition varies significantly between companies. When higher attrition occurs in a company, fewer sophomores are available to hold rank. The following year, that company accepts a larger number of freshmen to fill empty beds. Over time, that imbalance results in some companies with very low numbers of juniors and seniors, which has a detrimental impact on the cohesiveness of the company chain of command. Balancing the number of sophomore cadets in each company will reduce the negative effects these imbalances can cause.
There are significant benefits to balancing personnel after freshman year. Balancing the rising sophomore class increases opportunities for individual leader and social development and more accurately reflects the personnel turnover cadets will encounter as they begin their post-graduation careers in the military, public service and industry.
Because cadets will not remain in the same company throughout their cadet careers, they will have the ability to develop camaraderie with a larger cross section of their classmates. This “cross-pollination” between companies keeps cadets focused on the traditions of the college and prevents dysfunctional norms from taking root at company level. Cadets will benefit from the fresh start serving a different company’s chain of command.
With rare exception (mostly elements of Regimental Band and Palmetto Battery), all cadets will switch companies as part of the rising sophomore balancing program. For legacy cadets who wish to pursue a specific company assignment, The Citadel will offer a choice to be assigned to a specific company freshman year or sophomore year, following the balancing of the Corps. The Citadel is implementing the change in academic year 2020-2021 so current legacy cadets can finish their careers under the existing legacy program.
Both West Point and the U.S. Air Force Academy have implemented similar strategies to balance their Corps of Cadets, and balancing the Corps is consistent with several internal studies conducted at The Citadel. Ultimately, we believe that this refinement to the assignment of cadets will help to standardize a professional, powerful leadership experience that will help transform cadets into the principled leaders they aspire to be.
Glenn M. Walters
General, USMC (Retired)