Brigade Command Program Honored For Contributions To Adult Education

Source: Cheryl Polson, 785-532-5772, News release prepared by: Jennifer Torline, 785-532-0847,


MANHATTAN — Kansas State University’s Brigade Command Team Spouse Development Program has received a prestigious national award for its outstanding leadership and success as an adult education program.

The American Association of Adult and Continuing Education chose K-State’s program to receive the Malcolm Knowles Award for Outstanding Adult Education Program of the Year. The award honors the legacy of Malcolm Knowles, who is best known for his efforts to expand the field’s understanding of andragogy, the art and science of teaching adults. The award recognizes an adult learner program that has been built upon and embraces andragogical methods of teaching.

K-State representatives recently received the award at the American Association for Adult Continuing Education annual conference in Clearwater Beach, Fla.

“The Brigade Command Team Spouse Development Program gives K-State visibility at the highest levels of the Army in a positive relationship that we hope will be not only sustained but expanded in future years,” said Cheryl Polson, director of K-State-Fort Leavenworth and professor of educational leadership.

The brigade command program involves spouses of Army officers who are about to assume brigade command. It is housed at Fort Leavenworth’s School For Command Preparation, and has received funding from the U.S. Department of Defense.

In an effort to provide brigade command teams with the best possible training, the School for Command Preparation formed a partnership with an interdisciplinary team from K-State to develop the Brigade Command Team Spouse Development Program. The program’s primary focus is on the perspective at the brigade level, with an emphasis on developing a unified command team.

When military commanders come to Fort Leavenworth for a week of leadership training before assuming a brigade command position, their spouses often accompany them. K-State reaches out to the spouses, providing them with their own training to prepare for their upcoming informal leadership roles.

“The feedback has been extremely positive,” said Charles Griffin, one of the course instructors and a research assistant professor of family studies and human services. “They greatly appreciate the opportunity to retool for their coming new roles and responsibilities.”

Since April, K-State has offered the five-day courses once a month at Fort Leavenworth. The curriculum for the course includes critical military-related components as well as conceptual underpinnings. During the course, upper level Army senior commanders, including the Army chief of staff, serve as guest speakers.

“The results of this partnership will have far reaching effects for years to come,” Polson said. “The spouses of these commanders are having an immediate impact on the vitality of their organizations, but equally important is the potential impact this program will have on their personal lives outside the military.”

Others have noticed the importance of the program and applaud K-State’s success.

“In 37 years of professional service in and out of the Army, I haven’t seen a program as well designed, constructed and operated as what Kansas State University is doing for the Army Commanders Spouse Program,” said retired Brig. Gen. Wendell Christopher King, dean of academics for the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in his letter of recommendation for the award.

K-Staters also involved in the creation, development and implementation of the program include: Brian Niehoff, associate provost; Jane Fishback, associate professor of educational leadership; Donita Whitney-Bammerlin, academic program coordinator in the College of Business Administration; and Ashley Gleiman, graduate student in education, Fort Leavenworth.

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