Over the past three decades, dozens of international officers attending the U.S. Naval War College have earned master's degrees from Salve Regina thanks to a unique partnership between the two institutions.
International officers receive graduate-level credit for Naval War College courses they complete, which can then be applied to programs at Salve Regina. Through the partnership, officers have earned master's degrees in administration of justice and homeland security, business administration, innovation and strategic management and international relations.
"International officers get the opportunity to receive a graduate degree from a civilian university," said Symeon Giannakos, director of Salve Regina's graduate program in international relations. "It gives them the flexibility to apply it to post-retirement careers. Also, they receive a complementary education since the Naval War College education is more focused on the needs of the military. The Salve education is much broader and more theoretically grounded."
Salve Regina began welcoming Naval War College students in the 1980s, when the college wasn't accredited to award master's degrees. Enrollment waned after the college became accredited, but the partnership was reinvigorated in 2002 when the addition of online programs allowed deployed officers to complete their master's degrees at the University.
"International officers started taking advantage of this arrangement as well," Giannakos said. "They could complete some of the coursework while still here in Newport, and the rest online after they returned to their countries."
The Naval War College enrolls international officers in two programs – the Command College, designed for senior officers, and the Staff College, designed for intermediate officers. Students in both programs receive instruction in the Naval War College's three core teaching departments: strategy and policy, national security affairs and joint military operations.
While enrolled, the international officers attend seminars and lectures with their U.S. counterparts. They complete seminar exercises, writing assignments and team projects, and may voluntarily take all exams. While not graded, their academic work is evaluated and feedback is provided.
Through the war college's field studies program, the international officers learn about U.S. culture and institutions as well as American political, social and economic life, giving them an increased awareness of the basic issues of internationally recognized human rights.
The partnership benefits Salve Regina students as well. Through panel discussions and related opportunities, students are able to learn more about the officers and their nations' views on the U.S. regarding economic development, climate change, terrorism and elections.
"Studying along seasoned professionals with extensive practical experience and firsthand knowledge of events taking place outside the United States is a great learning experience for the Salve students," Giannakos said. "They are also exposed to diverse views that helps them expand their outlooks."