WASHINGTON, PA (Sept. 8, 2011)—With the beginning of the new school year, the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corp. (ROTC) program has returned to Washington & Jefferson College.
In collaboration with the Three Rivers Battalion of the U.S. Army, the program is an elective curriculum that students can take along with their required college classes. Once vibrant on campus, ROTC at W&J was withdrawn in 1991 as part of a cost-saving strategy in the military.
“W&J is proud to once again be a home to a renowned program that has benefitted the lives of so many people,” said Charles Hannon, Ph.D., associate dean of faculty at W&J. “There is no question that our students have interest.”
According to Hannon, students have continued to attend W&J on ROTC scholarships. However, in order to satisfy their classroom commitments under the scholarships, these students have had to travel to California University of Pennsylvania or the University of Pittsburgh to take classes, and then have the credits transferred back to W&J.
Hannon said the increased visibility of ROTC on campus has led to increased student interest. In spring 2011, thirteen students attended the basic course for no academic credit. Even without the promise of scholarship aid, the program is appealing to students interested in military history, leadership, potential career opportunities or organizational training.
Bringing the ROTC program back to W&J recognizes the ROTC courses as W&J courses and declares W&J a “partnership” school with the Three Rivers Battalion. This change will have two advantages, Hannon said. First, it will be a convenience for W&J students who attend the College on ROTC scholarship—they can continue to take their required courses, at least at the 100 and 200-level, at W&J, and they will not need to pay fees to other institutions and have credits transferred back to W&J. Secondly, it also will allow W&J to better control the granting of credit for ROTC courses.
“Beyond the curriculum, a formal return of ROTC to the campus will increase the visibility of the program, and the financial opportunities it makes available, for students who might want to pursue the military as a future career,” Hannon added.