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KU-Fort Leavenworth program expands service to military, vets

The KU-Fort Leavenworth Program, established in 2007, gained a new leader this fall, along with a new name and an expanded academic mission. Adrian Lewis arrived at KU in July as the first permanent director of what is now called the Office of Professional Military Graduate Education.

Adrian Lewis

“Our focus is, in part, on the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth,” Lewis said, “but we’re now reaching out to all military services. The new name reflects the fact KU has academic programs that could benefit the Navy and the Air Force, as well as the Army.”

One example of that is the new master’s program in supply chain management and logistics, offered through the School of Business. Another is the strategic communications emphasis in journalism. All branches of the military also need men and women with graduate degrees in engineering, public administration, international studies, languages and other fields.

“My goal is for KU to be viewed as the preferred university for military personnel seeking graduate degrees,” Lewis said. “I want us to capitalize on our assets, so that when a service academy wants an instructor to pursue a doctorate in history and other fields, such as anthropology or political science, they think first of KU.”

Lewis has a background for such a mission. He came to KU from the University of North Texas, where he was chair of the Department of History. Before joining the North Texas faculty, he was chair of the Department of Military Science at the University of California-Berkeley. He also taught for four years at the U.S. Military Academy, before retiring from the Army in 1994 with the rank of major. His published works include a book on the D-Day invasion of Normandy and a history of American military force from World War II to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lewis envisions a public outreach function for the office, with the Dole Institute providing a possible venue for speakers from the Command and General Staff College and elsewhere on a variety of current military and geopolitical topics. KU faculty would have similar opportunities to speak at Fort Leavenworth on related subjects.

“The military wants a larger percentage of its instructors — many of whom are career officers, not traditional academics — to pursue doctorates on campuses with diverse perspectives and innovative thinkers,” Lewis said. “That strengthens their academic programs, but it also breaks down the military’s tunnel vision.”

The Office of Professional Military Graduate Education supports participants in the Army’s Wounded Warrior initiative at KU, as well as other military personnel enrolled at the Lawrence campus. A new project is the development of a master’s program in interagency studies. KU faculty would teach four courses at Fort Leavenworth and four at KU with the balance of the credit earned at the Command and General Staff College.

“In Iraq and other war zones, it isn’t just the military that’s involved,” Lewis said. “In addition to regular personnel and reservists in all branches, there are civilians working for the State Department, the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Agriculture.” A master’s in interagency studies would equip officers to work well in such an environment.

“In modern combat,” Lewis said, “the military needs people who know how to start a school system, how to get the water turned back on, how to run a city. KU is ideally positioned to provide that kind of education.”

Lewis succeeded David Lambertson, interim director of the KU-Fort Leavenworth Program. He reports to Sara Rosen, associate vice provost in the Office of Research and Graduate Studies and dean of graduate studies, and Dawn Tallchief is his assistant director.

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