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Penn State opens its first classroom on a military base

by on August 26, 2015 11:13 AM

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Penn State’s new classroom at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego will help further its commitment to military students and expand their access to higher education, said university leaders during an Aug. 18 ceremony to dedicate the facility.

The university will teach the first course at the on-base classroom during this semester, with a goal of transitioning students to complete their degrees online through Penn State World Campus. The classroom is the university's first on a military installation.

We are very honored to extend our tradition of prestige, challenge and quality through the opening of the new Penn State classroom at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot,” said Craig Weidemann, Penn State’s vice president for outreach and vice provost for online education. “We’re here to reaffirm our commitment of access to a quality education for every military student, military spouse and veteran learner. I feel that our goals are keenly aligned with the Marine Corps.”

Col. Mark Tull, chief of staff at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, said leaders at the base look forward to the benefits a Penn State education can provide.

"As Marines, we pride ourselves on doing three things: making Marines, winning our nation’s battles and returning better citizens to society," Tull said. "Having an internationally renowned institution such as Penn State joining our already impressive array of colleges and universities aboard the depot helps us accomplish all of these and expands the opportunities that we can provide to the individual looking to advance his or her education.”

The academic operations are being managed by Penn State World Campus through a five-year agreement with the Marine Corps. The classroom, located at the base's Lifelong Learning Center, was renovated over the spring and summer and is equipped with state-of-the-art educational technology.

The first course that will be offered this fall is from Penn State's degree program in labor and employment relations, a joint offering from World Campus and the College of the Liberal Arts. After this first course, courses in human resources and employee relations and homeland security are also being planned.

To provide support for the new initiative, World Campus has a dedicated admissions counselor and an outreach director on base.

The classroom was unveiled after a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Weidemann and other representatives from the university, including Ryan J. McCombie, chair of the World Campus Military Scholarship Program; Avis Kunz, the assistant dean for online education and outreach for Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts; and Alexander Siedschlag, a professor of homeland security at Penn State Harrisburg.

We are deeply honored to expand pathways to a high-quality education, as well as the Penn State community, through the establishment of the Penn State classroom at MCRD San Diego,” Penn State President Eric J. Barron said in a letter presented at the dedication. “This privilege to serve our military is one that we take very seriously. Our military men and women are dedicated to ensuring the safety of our country, and they deserve the very best that higher education has to offer.”

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