Students in the School of Management's Army Comptrollership Program (ACP) are doing much more than polishing their accounting skills. In addition to fulfilling the ACP's intense training and academic requirements, students are now likely to spend time painting fences in a local park, stocking shelves at a food pantry, or chatting with hospitalized veterans.
courtesy of ACP Hand_shake
ACP students, pictured here at Minnowbrook, are committed to performing community service.

      The ACP, a joint venture between the school and the U.S. Army, incorporates business management technology with military philosophy; graduates earn an M.B.A. from SU with an emphasis on military resource management. But the ACP is stressing more than sound management practices. Following a U.S. Department of Defense initiative urging its ranks to volunteer for community projects, the ACP launched a required community service program in June 1998. The first 29 ACP students affected by the new requirements completed more than 840 hours of community service by the time they graduated last August. "Initially, I queried class members to find out what their volunteer interests were," says Robert Dodson G'99, who coordinated the community service program. "Then I contacted organizations to discuss the kinds of projects we could help them with and what their expectations were."
      Because ACP students are so strongly focused on academics, "volunteering gives them opportunities to balance their studies with community work," says retired Col. David Berg, director of Army programs at SU. Berg believes the volunteer program also increases the students' sense of "selfless spirit" and provides leadership opportunities.
      The hard work earned the ACP Class of '99 a Chancellor's Award for Public Service last March. While recognition is appreciated, Tracey Goldstein G'99 says the students are simply following their hearts and commitment to duty. "Although volunteer work is required, most of us have volunteered in the past," she says. "This is just a continuation of our efforts."
      For many people in the Department of Defense, volunteering in local communities is a natural commitment, Dodson says. "I tried to schedule a variety of activities and projects to keep all personnel interested, and I think we were quite successful."
      Dodson found that the community service component worked well as part of the ACP, and is confident the initiative will flourish. "We exceeded our initial goals and objectives," he says. "Last year we were building the foundation for the volunteer program. These projects should continue with future classes."



When a group of Maxwell faculty members established the Master of Social Science Program 25 years ago, the goal was to allow graduate students to take advantage of Maxwell's strong interdisciplinary offerings, even though the students' professional and family responsibilities kept them from attending SU full time.
      Today, students from a variety of backgrounds and cultures share their unique perspectives through the independent study program. "When they come together, as they do during the program's residency periods, their diversity generates remarkable intellectual energy and excitement," says Michael Barkun, program chair and professor of political science.
      Students complete reading and writing assignments at home, keeping in contact with faculty members by e-mail, phone, and letters. They come to campus each July, or to SU centers in Washington or London each May, for intense two-week residencies. "Those periods have been enormously exciting intellectual experiences for students and faculty," Barkun says.
      Attendees this past summer included a federal prosecutor from Texas, a major general from the Saudi army, and a U.S. State Department employee living in Tunisia. "It's this unique mix of students, people who in the routines of everyday life would almost certainly never cross paths with one another, that produces a remarkable personal chemistry," Barkun says. The residency period seems brief, but is quite different in character from typical classroom interaction. "We're with the students all day, every day, for 14 days," he says. "And that imparts a momentum to their experience that helps compensate for the fact that most of their work is done in isolation."
      While some enter the program simply for their own enrichment, the majority want to either advance in their present careers or establish new credentials in a different field, Barkun says. The student body includes educators, law enforcement and military personnel, diplomats, and international businesspeople. "Not only have the students been richly varied in backgrounds, but many have been remarkably accomplished in their own fields, and therefore able to bring special areas of knowledge and expertise to their work," Barkun says. He notes such alumni as Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin AbdulAziz Alsaud G'85 of Saudi Arabia, a highly respected international businessman honored in July during the program's 25th anniversary convocation, and retired FBI agent Joseph O'Brien G'93, author of a best-selling book about his investigation of organized crime.
      The program has always been marked by an exceptional faculty, Barkun says. Present members include professors in political science, history, economics, and anthropology. "All of us are rooted in our respective disciplines, and also are committed to multidisciplinary education," he says. "We don't want students to think narrowly, but to be comfortable in using the insights of several disciplines, examining comparative issues across cultures and historical periods."
                                                —GARY PALLASSINO


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