From: David L. Moore
Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 6:52 PM
Cc: Krussel, Libby; Arlene Walker-Andrews; Moore, Eddie; Welch, R.;
Carlyon, Laura W; Case, J.; Cook,T.; Cracolice, M.; Elliott, Deni; ASUM
Vice President; Hayes, Louis; Hoell, Melanie; Jean Luckowski; Moore,
David; Mullin, Christopher; Potts, Don; Tim Bradstock
Subject: ASCRC rationale vs. MS minor
ASCRC Rationale for Disapproving a Military Science Minor at the University of Montana, November 2003/ DRAFT not for distribution/ 18 November 2003
One quite positive suggestion that emerged out of the committee's conversation was the idea that in order to fulfill the academic standards that are the goal of an academic minor, the Military Science department might approach the History Department, the Political Science Department, and perhaps others as well, to develop an interdisciplinary minor in "Military Studies." This minor could be integrated with their ROTC commission training and curriculum, and it could be available to non-ROTC students also. Perhaps such a minor would serve as an even stronger, indeed, more academically viable, certification for ROTC and other students to add to their resumes.
Here first are the committee's reasons for being generally receptive to a Military Science minor.
1. As a public institution, we recognize a public good generally in preparing Military Science students, whether contracted with ROTC or not, through academic study of diverse perspectives in history, political science, international studies, and other subjects relevant to the field.
2. More specifically, we recognize the personal value to future ROTC commissioned officers and to other UM students of having certification of a MS minor toward their future career development.
Here are some of the committee's reasons for disapproving not only this specific proposal but the general idea of a Military Science minor.
1. Structurally, the Military Science department is a set of rotating US Army appointments, with relatively frequent turnover, accountable for their curriculum and their positions directly to the Department of Defense, and not accountable to the University of Montana, its Faculty Senate, or its Academic Standards and Curriculum Review Committee. This lack of academic accountability has been made visible in the long negotiations between ASCRC and the MS department, where three sub-standard proposals for a MS minor over the course of the last year have convinced a majority of the committee that such standards are not forthcoming from within the department and cannot be imposed from without.
2. Here are some of the specific problems with the latest proposal that convinced the committee not to proceed with this process. Many of these appear to be cut-and-paste errors, and lack of attention to the coherence of this proposal raises serious questions about the planning of the program. These problems are listed not to request or suggest corrections but simply as evidence of the substandard level of the Military Science minor proposal.
a. In number 2, "Summarize a needs assessment," the first sentence is irrelevant to this paragraph, and the following paragraph is incoherent, referring to 24 credits as part of a previously (irrelevantly) mentioned 18 credits.
b. In number 2 and throughout number 4, the emphasis is on the benefits of the program for contracted ROTC students - when this is a proposal for an MS minor open to all students. Much of the description and commendation of ROTC seems irrelevant to the MS minor proposal.
c. In number 3, "Outline the proposed curriculum," the 9 MS credits are not distributed between upper and lower division courses, resulting in widely varying levels of fulfillment.
d. In number 3, the prerequisites for upper-division courses are not acknowledged, seriously hampering students' ability to enroll and complicating the potential courses to fulfill the 9 MS credits.
e. In number 3, other specific upper division courses in the catalog that should be available to all potential MS minors are not listed.
f. In number 3, have the History and Political Science Departments signed on to this use of their courses?
g. In number 3, if this is an MS minor, why are there not more upper-division Military Science courses than History or Political Science? It looks less and less like MS. So what is the rationale? If interdisciplinary is the goal, that is good, but, again, have those departments signed on? And is interdisciplinary study truly the goal of this minor and this department?
h. In number 4, "Adequacy, Accreditation, and Assessment," there is no attention paid to accreditation. Other problems in number 4 are addressed in (b) above.
i. In number 5, "Impact on Faculty, etc.," the list of "current faculty who will be involved [emphasis added] with the MS program" does not seem to address actual teaching faculty. Is the individual listed as a "Recruiting Operations Officer" one of the teaching faculty? Is the "Supply Technician" listed here as one of the teaching faculty? Unclear.
j. In number 5, under 2b., there is a reference to "the first five-year program." What is this five-year program? There is no other reference to it in the proposal.
k. The last sentence, printed in bold, seems to be a reworking of instructions from the form, followed by a peculiar question mark: "This program has been developed in accordance with the criteria developed by accrediting body(ies) or learned society(ies)?" Then there is no elaboration or explanation or listing of any accrediting body. Should there be a reference here to the Department of Defense? Where is the academic accreditation? What is the point of this finale?
l. Throughout the proposal there are gaps, contradictions, paddings, and embarrassing grammar and spelling errors, the most glaring of which is the usage, in number 8, of "inner disciplinary," evidently for "interdisciplinary." Such mechanical errors do not contribute to correcting the more substantial errors listed above.
3. Many members of the committee, all of whom are supportive of the equitable use of the military for protection of our nation, were concerned with the implications of identifying the University of Montana more directly with the Department of Defense in the current climate of contested national foreign and military policy. Members cited a disturbing history that points not only to the misuse of the military for imperialist, political, and economic leverage, but now toward the erosion of academic freedom. They noted the development of the "military-industrial complex" from Eisenhower's time, through the "manufactured consent" of Pentagon policy emerging against the anti-war movements of the Vietnam era, through the video pooling censorship of Desert Storm, and through today's erosion of basic American civil liberties in the Patriot Act and dangerous jingoism about Homeland Security. The latest disturbing step is current pending legislation, HR 3077, in Congress, establishing an International Higher Education Advisory Committee, to advise the Secretary of Education in Title VI planning and funding. This advisory committee is to be made up partly of national security personnel from DOD, and while its general mandate is developing programs for study of cultures and languages across the globe, it is designed also to measure "homeland security" values of academic programs. Since this legislation emerged out of hearings that called academic postcolonial studies "anti-American," this Advisory Committee could well be a tool of political intrusion by the military into American civil liberties in academia.
Given this historical and current manipulation of the legislative process by the military-industrial complex, the committee saw it as not only prudent but a matter of principle to withdraw further direct participation of this academic institution in that trend. Of course, since the Department of Defense is this country's main source of funding of university research, we as an institution are already entirely engaged in that system. An academic imprimatur on a non-academic military program in this climate of unilateralism does not seem to fit the mission of the University of Montana to accord "the highest priority to the rights and opinions of all" as "a forum for bringing together the diverse cultures and views of the people of the State, nation, and world."