Residency 2014 Recap: Highlights from Our Capstone Experience

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When Norwich University’s campus is buzzing with golf carts, bookstore lines are backed up with customers holding armfuls of the latest Norwich-branded gear, the mess hall’s soft-serve machines are filled with maple creemees, the Dog River has lost 200 or so stones the size of a small boulder, and the most-polished professionals found anywhere are prepping for a capstone presentation or poster session in the library, it must be the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies’ Residency Conference.

Designed to not only bond students with their cohort, faculty and “Norwich Forever!,” the CGCS residency has evolved from a series of academic and extracurricular events to more of an academic and professional conference rolled into one, action-packed week on our campus in Northfield, VT. Still ever-popular during residency week is the Dog River Run modeled on the undergraduate, Cadet tradition; however, in the CGCS version the run is sometimes the Dog River “power walk,” or the Dog River “winded run” followed by a limp or a crawl. Participation in this storied tradition continues to grow, with just under 30% of attendees registering to participate in 2014.

Speaking of attendance, this June we had approximately 530 students and 175 family members staying with us on campus along with 48 faculty and staff, and special guests by invitation of the dean. Students hailed from all 50 U.S. states and 7 foreign countries. Students from our online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs attended more than 175 unique academic sessions ranging in topics from “Leading in Complex Systems” to “Internet Governance on a Global Basis” and “Insurgency and Counter-insurgency.” In addition to the academic programming, professional development sessions (e.g., “Advancing in the Public Sector,” “LinkedIn 101,” etc.) offered the opportunity for attendees to enhance their job search and career mobility savvy.

For the first time, CGCS dean, William Clements, invited special guests from our partner military installations to our campus for the Residency Conference. We were honored to host the commandant from the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) as well as the education programs specialist from Naval Base Coronado. This visit provided our partners the opportunity to witness the academic environment of a Norwich residency, which thrives on cross-program engagement, and to see their sailors and soldiers walk across the stage and receive their hard-earned degrees.

For the second year in a row, the Norwich University Alumni Association (NUAA) hosted a fabulous event to welcome CGCS students and their families “home” and encourage them to stay connected through Norwich University Clubs and regional groups, returning to campus for homecoming and other events, or through virtual connections like the Norwich University Connections group in LinkedIn.

Our second annual Leadership Summit, facilitated by of our own Master of Science in Leadership Program Director Dr. Stacie Morgan, allowed students to demonstrate both their academic and professional prowess as they provided insight and solutions to top organizational challenges faced by businesses and non-profits recruited by CGCS Director of Business Partnerships, Shelley Brown M’08. Fletcher Allen Health Care, Pwnie Express, National Life, and more that allowed students insight into their organizational challenges were rewarded with a number of $4,000 tuition waivers for employees of their choice to use toward one of our 9 online master’s degree programs.

While commencement is the highlight of any residency week, few would probably argue that Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s keynote speech was a contender for one of the “most memorable” events attended during the week. Not only was Dr. Rice gracious in responding to a bevy of audience member questions in a Q&A masterfully moderated by CGCS Dean William Clements, she deftly handled a group of protesters, allowing their voices to be heard, and inspired the audience to respond with cheering and applause.

As for cheering and applause, Friday’s commencement was just about as perfect as any we have ever had. Much to President Schneider’s liking, the ceremony started and ended on schedule, with inspiring words offered by all that took the stage. Graduates and families alike beamed as each name was read, celebrating the sacrifices and accomplishments of all in attendance.