Reservist

ISS1 2015

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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leadership development through "blended" training: selC evolves into its frst decade of 21st-century learning story by BMCs Michael Mullins, sector Miami Reserve Command senior Chief and paCs sarah B. Foster, atlantic area external afairs The six weeks spent immersed in leadership discussions on Coast Guard history, core values, ethics, budget, conflict management and organizational change bolstered by a trip to Training Center Cape May, a mentoring session with recruits and cadets, and a tour of Chase Hall and the Coast Guard Museum was an experience of a lifetime for Senior Enlisted Leadership Course (SELC) students. Sixteen senior enlisted reservists and active duty members from all over the Coast Guard converged at the Leadership Development Center in New London, Conn., in August to learn and most importantly to build meaningful relationships for two weeks following four weeks of online discussions. The "blended" learning concept of combining non-resident (on-line) and classroom instruction is a recent development at SELC during its 10-year stint. Judging from the students' active participation on both learning venues, it has been a success after many other learning techniques were adopted and incorporated. The online discussions provided an open forum for participants. While at times challenging with real life's time constraints and distractions, budgeting at least one hour a day was worth the effort where anyone can access the discussion board from any computer and compatible web browser. "When we first incorporated the on-line portion of the discussion board recently, we started with one topic," said Master Chief Kevin Leask, SELC school chief. "We added several more topics after realizing that students were very receptive to online dialogue; in fact, we've topped more than 1,000 posts during some class discussions." By the time students arrived Aug. 15, most had already discovered common ground and intersecting interests, despite the large diversity in ratings and communities. Leaders from aviation, cutter forces, boat forces, logistics, and Reserve, engaged in a free-flowing discussion about conflict management, leadership styles, sexual assault prevention and leading change. Writing instructor Dr. Susan Roberts helped students with writing techniques by encouraging critical and analytical thinking while Master Chief Leask lead thought-provoking discussions and debate to reinforce the online discussions and to synthesize ideas from leadership library titles such as Phillips and Loy's Character in Action, Kotter's Leading Change, and Tieger and Barron's The Art of Speed-reading People. For the public speaking requirements, students were required to deliver presentations on either leadership philosophy or leading change. In using the assignment as a leadership platform, students engaged their classmates enthusiastically as they endeavored to articulate their point of view. The class visit to TRACEN Cape May revitalized personal history and a sense of homecoming while the interactive tour at the newly-renovated Coast Guard Museum revived connections and a love for Coast Guard history. "This course is worth the time and effort for any senior enlisted member desiring to expand their leadership knowledge in preparation for a Silver/Gold Badge, or Rating Force Manager assignment," said Master Chief Petty Officer Joseph Katchko. In summing up his overall experience, Senior Chief Petty Officer Michael "Scott" Bannon was excited with the trip to Cape May and interacting with recruits for lunch. "The trip to Cape May was the highlight of the course, understanding the entry- level leadership development and challenges," he said. "I truly enjoyed engaging and mentoring the recruits and I believe these encounters will pay dividends in the long-term." � Group photo of reservists who attended the course: Master Chief Petty Offcer Joseph Katchko, Senior Chief Petty Offcer Michael "Scott" Bannon, and Senior Chief Petty Offcer Michael Mullins. I'm so lucky that my husband was able to join me and together we found our assigned seats at a table with other members of Team Phillips. Knowing that my name would soon be called to receive my graduation certificate, I gratefully reflected upon the past two weeks, not ready for my CPOA experience to end just yet. Far from a transactional experience, I gained practical skills and fresh knowledge that could easily be applied to the leadership role I was about to assume with a new unit. Perhaps more importantly, I expanded my network of accomplished chiefs who became more than shipmates, but very good friends. As the nervous butterflies battled in my stomach, I lined up alongside the wall with the other chiefs in my part of the alphabet, anxiously listening for my name. paC Masson: Suffice it to say that the lessons learned and friends made at CPOA will stay with me for the rest of my life. Hardly a day goes by, civilian or military, that I don't apply some practical or academic concept either learned or reinforced there. Chiefs, don't delay. Get that short term training request in today. � Issue 1 • 2015 � RESERVIST 29

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