Case Western Reserve University recently received an influx of students participating in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) as a result of the restructuring of the program two years ago.
Prior to the restructuring, students in the ROTC were required to leave campus early in the morning and travel to John Carroll University to complete their physical training and military classes.
Because of the required travel burden, CWRU often saw only one or two ROTC students per year.
“The army had a number of students with ROTC scholarships wanting to study engineering disciplines,” noted Donald L. Feke, vice provost for undergraduate education.
“We’re really the prime engineering school in the area, but when applicants to the ROTC program who wanted to do engineering learned that they would have to do all their training at John Carroll, it turned them off and they decided to go elsewhere.”
The new program specifications, which allow all physical training, freshman and sophomore level classes to be taught at CWRU, have been received positively by most students, and spurred an increase in ROTC students enrolling at CWRU, with eight in the sophomore level class, and 12 to 15 expected in upcoming class years.
“I decided to join the ROTC program out of a deep desire to not only become an Army officer, but also to add structure, discipline and military education to my college experience,” said Bart Ziganti, a sophomore economics major at CWRU.
“Holding activities like physical training and military tactics classes on our own campus is very helpful in cutting down on travel time, while maintaining the fine levels of training constituent to our regimen.”
The university accommodated ROTC students by facilitating their use of the Veale Center for physical training, and by providing office and classroom space to ROTC instructors, who are provided by the United States Army.
Although the university is unsure about whether or not the junior and senior year ROTC classes will be brought to campus, they are enthusiastic about continuing the relationship with ROTC.
“It’s a program that we really value,” Provost and Executive Vice President William A. “Bud” Baeslack III said.
“We really try to enable student leaders on our campus, but we’re also very service oriented,” he continued. “If you look at ROTC, it is an organization that really strongly supports and promotes leadership and a service orientation. I think those two attributes are very closely aligned with what we try to instill in all of our students. From that perspective, it works well and fits well on our campus.”