Serve and learn: VU helps Coast Guard members continue their education - External Relations
Serve and learn: VU helps Coast Guard members continue their education
July 9, 2020
VINCENNES, Ind. – Vincennes University partners with the U.S. Coast
Guard to bring college to active-duty service members wherever they
are in the world. Even if that wherever is a Coast Guard cutter at sea.
The Vincennes University Coast Guard Afloat Education Program is
designed to meet the needs of personnel onboard deployed Coast Guard
vessels and at Coast Guard Stations ashore, in all areas of the United
States and sometimes overseas.
Guard Afloat Education Program is a unique resource that was
developed in 2005. It allows Coast Guard personnel to complete
requirements toward degree programs and update and improve both
military and personal skills.
To help members of the Coast Guard reach their educational goals, VU
instructors teach classes onboard a deployed ship or ashore.
One of those instructors is Dr. Gillian Kendall. She taught English
101 and 102 while sailing the Caribbean Sea on the USCGC Confidence
earlier this year.
Dr. Gillian Kendall, VU instructor
Kendall said, “I love doing this work. I think it means a lot to the
sailors because it’s a chance for them to do something that’s about
them as individuals. In the classroom, they are not just their rank or
their rate. They get to be individuals again with their individual
ideas, opinions, curiosity, and feelings, and I think that they like
that. It’s something different in their workdays, experiences, and
career. The best part is they are earning college credits while they
are working at sea. It’s very good for morale on a ship to have a
civilian instructor helping people to work toward their undergraduate degree.”
VIQTORY, an organization connecting the military community to
educational opportunities, named
VU a Military Friendly School for 2020-2021 for the University’s
support of service members, veterans, and their families.
David Tucker, VU Vice President of Workforce Development/Community Services
“VU is dedicated to offering high-quality educational options to
Coast Guard personnel and military personnel as well as our partners
in business and industry,” said VU Vice President of Workforce
Development and Community Services David Tucker. “Military personnel
can take advantage of the first-rate education that VU provides in
far-flung and unusual locations that may not exactly resemble a
traditional college campus. These pathways allow students to customize
their educational goals to meet their unique needs and circumstances.
VU is proud to provide academic excellence to the men and women who
have given so much to our country.”
Most of Kendall’s students were first-time college students.
They called her “Doc” and each class met six days a week for one hour
over 8 ½ weeks. Small class sizes allowed her to work one-on-one with
students and give them extra attention to bolster their success. She
also brought with her 20 to 30 books for students to read for pleasure
in their downtime.
“The guys are in the middle of this really intense deployment,”
Kendall said. “They might be called out at midnight to go off on a
small boat in complete darkness in choppy waters to check out a vessel
that may or may not be smuggling drugs. It might take three or four
hours or five or six hours or more. They come back to the ship and
report to the officers what happened. Then they might have to go shave
and change and come to the class in the morning. I have incredible
respect for these guys. They are the most hard-working students I’ve