Serving those who serve us
Reaching across Pensacola and the Emerald Coast, the University of West Florida is at the hub of a thriving military community. Using their time to not only train and serve our country, military service members are taking advantage of programs offered through UWF's Online Campus, harnessing their skills to utilize on the job and in their future endeavors.
Reaching across Pensacola and the Emerald Coast, the University of West Florida is at the hub of a thriving military community. Using their time to not only train and serve our country, military service members are taking advantage of programs offered through UWF’s Online Campus, harnessing their skills to utilize on the job and in their future endeavors.
“Approximately 50 percent of military participating in off-duty education choose online learning courses due to their temporary duty, deployments or just the need to have flexibility and portability, as some days are 12 hour days, while others may be shorter,” said Pamela Northrup, associate provost, Academic Innovation and Continuing Education.
UWF offers 23 fully online degree programs and certificates that can align to service members’ career goals. Whether the program is oceanography, public administration, teacher education or a master of science administration with a specialization in acquisitions and contract management, UWF offers many opportunities for military service members to find their niche through UWF Online Campus.
After taking more than 20 online courses and graduating from UWF with a dual major in special education and elementary education, Mark Churchwell, a retired Navy master chief, is not only continuing his graduate studies at UWF, but is working on a daily basis to help military service members take advantage of the opportunities they have through online courses.
“Our student support system is what makes UWF stand out among other colleges and universities,” said Churchwell, currently the student support specialist for the Academic Technology Center. “Students have questions today and are deploying tomorrow. We offer them immediate assistance to take care of whatever they need so they can complete their courses.”
Through UWF’s Online Campus, students can take advantage of the PDA program, a mobile learning model created four years ago in a partnership with the United States Coast Guard Institute and two community colleges, Florida Community College at Jacksonville and Coastline Community College. As a result of a very successful implementation with the Coast Guard, UWF was awarded a $1 million dollar congressional earmark to continue work with the United States Navy for deployed service personnel. Through this mobile learning model, UWF serves students in Iraq, Japan, Afghanistan and across the United States.
“Many military service members choose UWF because it offers an online program that provides them with the flexibility and convenience to start at one place and still continue their education, despite being called to duty,” said Vance Burgess, director of UWF Online Campus. “They truly appreciate that they can create a schedule that works for them.”
UWF also has a second congressional earmark of $1.2 million intended to continue looking at mobile services for education, focusing on an Arabic language and culture certificate.
“We have spent the past eight months conducting research and development on Arabic language and culture,” said Northrup. “We’ve spent time figuring out how to translate content into Arabic, creating virtual keyboards for Arabic and developing instructional materials that will be used by distance learners who will interact with the Arabic instructor each session through Web conferencing software.”
Whether helping a female Marine in Okinawa set up her courses for the Nursing program she plans to attend in Pensacola or creating new courses to meet the evolving needs of U.S. armed forces, UWF’s Online Campus proves its dedication to serving the military student.
For more information about UWF’s Online Campus, visit onlinecampus.uwf.edu or contact the UWF military advisor at (850) 857-7209, toll free at (888) 529-1823 or e-mail MilitaryAdvisor@uwf.edu.
By Megan Tyson, University Marketing Communications