UH Hilo to revive ROTC program

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Date: Thursday, July 24, 2008
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaii at Hilo will revive its Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program this fall with two introductory courses in military science.

Military Science Leadership (MSL) 101 and 201 or Introduction to Military Science and the Introduction to Military Science Lab will be offered as the first step in the program’s gradual resumption. The courses will initially be listed as Interdisciplinary Studies (IS) 194 and 294, respectively. The Intermediate Military Science courses listed as IS 102 and 202 will be offered in Spring 2009.

ROTC is widely recognized as one of the best leadership programs in the country, as participants are taught through classes and field training how to lead others, motivate groups and conduct missions as a military officer. UH Hilo offered an ROTC program from 1988 until 1992, when it was suspended.

The decision to resume ROTC was prompted in part by interest expressed by students enrolled in high school programs both locally and on the mainland, as well as UH Hilo undergraduates. JOTC programs are currently offered at four Big Island high schools, with the Navy program at Waiakea High School posting the highest enrollment of 110 students during the 2007-2008 school year. The three Army programs were led by Hilo High with 109, followed by Kealakehe with 102 and 75 at Konawaena.

“Our first and foremost responsibility is to our local students, so we’re always looking for new and better ways to create more educational opportunities for them,” said Chancellor Rose Tseng. “I think the large number of students enrolled in the high school programs show that there is a tremendous interest in this area, which we need to address.”

That task was made easier due to UH Hilo’s previous ROTC experience. Because the courses from the suspended program were still in existence, they were able to win approval from the Faculty Senate’s Curriculum Review Committee and Dean of the College Arts and Sciences in a timely manner.

Current plans call for faculty to fly in each week from Honolulu to conduct classes on campus Thursday and field activities at the Army Reserve Center on Friday. Initial enrollment will be capped at 20. The response from students will determine the program’s future growth and direction.

Dr. Rick Castberg, who was involved with the previous effort and steered the courses through the approval process, believes the program has great potential. Although some have avoided the military due to the ongoing conflict in Iraq, Castberg says a military career has much more to offer than just combat duty.

“The military offers outstanding educational opportunities, including quality training in a variety of high-tech areas,” Castberg said. “You could easily end up working in a highly skilled position for 20 years, retire with a lifetime income, medical coverage and other benefits, yet still be young enough to start another career.”

For more information about the ROTC program, please call the UH Hilo Admissions Office at (808) 974-7414 or visit online uhhadm@hawaii.edu.


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