UI considers adding military minor

_Editor’s note: In a previous version of this article, the caption on the photo incorrectly stated that those pictured were United States Naval Cadets. In fact, they were United States Air Force Cadets. This article has been corrected._

For over a year, the Military Education Council at the University has been discussing the possibility of adding a minor in military science. And although Alexander Scheeline, MEC chairman, said discussions about the minor are still in the beginning stages, the council has been looking at other Big Ten schools with similar programs.

The University of Minnesota, Ohio State University and Purdue University currently have well-established military science minors. But these military minors vary dramatically, from the time they take to complete to the students they’re geared toward.

“At this point, there are still a bunch of details that we aren’t sure of, one of them being the target audience,” Scheeline said. “Unless you know your target audience, you don’t know how to ask the question, much less give the answer.”

Purdue’s minor is only open to Army ROTC students due to the fact that enrollment in a majority of the required classes is restricted to only committed and contracted cadets, according to Major Paul Heslin, executive officer of Purdue’s Army ROTC.

Heslin said most majors at Purdue don’t accept ROTC classes as electives, but cadets are required to take them anyway. With the military science minor, they are able to get recognition for these classes.

“The military science minor is just something else cadets can put on their resumes,” Heslin said. “It’s a great way to further their educations and careers. They already have to take most of the classes; it’s just a matter of talking to their advisers and putting in the paperwork.”

The military science minor at Ohio State University, however, is not limited to ROTC cadets. Major Frank Stratman, executive officer of the OSU Army ROTC, said all OSU students have the opportunity to receive this minor as long as they are U.S. citizens.

“We get a wide range of people wanting to receive this minor. They all share a similar interest in the American military,” Stratman said. “This (minor) is just another way to provide more information about the military to Americans.”

At the University of Minnesota, the minor is “somewhat of a combination” of the other two programs, according to Major Eric Runningen, executive officer of the Army ROTC program at Minnesota. Although the minor is available to all students, Runningen said he is unaware of any non-cadets who have ever received the minor.

He added that he finds the minor to be successful and beneficial to the cadets who apply for it, but “there’s not a whole lot of interest” in the program.

Scheeline said that although the MEC has weighed the benefits of each type of military science minor, it is difficult to model the minor solely off of another university’s program because ROTC programs differ from campus to campus, as do the rules for what constitutes a minor.

“On this campus, if you have a minor, it’s a cross-campus minor,” Scheeline said. “This means that we have to take into account the interest of all colleges, not just small groups like the ROTC program.”

He added that if the Educational Policy Committee approves the minor, the required courses could be from any department in the University, provided that the departments are all content with having additional students.

With that in mind, Scheeline said there are still a lot of details that need to be worked out.

“I’m not convinced that we should or shouldn’t add this minor,” Scheeline said. “What I am convinced of is that we should look at this, based on student interest and the coupling between the military departments and the rest of campus, to decide whether this is a good idea for the University.”