Military routine often means erratic work hours and frequent moves. The missed classes and lost transfer credits make it difficult to complete a degree in the traditional university setting.
The Internet and American Public University Systems (APUS) provide a solution:
“An education that is totally portable for people who can not be in the classroom on a regular basis: that’s our specialty,” said Dr. Frank McCluskey, executive vice president and provost of APUS.
APUS is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) and the regional North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement.
“Accreditation makes it easier for students to transfer credits in or out of other schools,” McCluskey said. “Not all have both national and regional, but APUS does.”
APUS serves more than 41,000 learners worldwide. The university provides associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in programs such as business administration, criminal justice, information technology management, homeland security, intelligence studies, sports and health management and more.
“APUS is a system for adults who often have erratic schedules,” McCluskey said. “During Hurricane Katrina, many students and professors in our disaster management program were activated — fire chiefs, helicopter pilots, rescue workers — and left in the middle of the semester. In our fire department management course, the professor and half of the students were called up within two days. We had backup professors ready to keep courses open and generous extensions to students who were called to duty.”
APUS makes a point to be actively involved with the different branches of services.
“Many military folks need education to get a promotion or a new career when they get out,” McCluskey said. “Our motto is ‘educating those who serve.’ We consider it our special mission.”
Almost all of the more than 200 Charles Town office employees are residents of Jefferson and Berkley Counties. The online university also has 1,000 professors from all over the world who periodically come to Charles Town for meetings.
A former Manhattanite, McCluskey said. “I had never been an outdoorsman. Since moving to West Virginia, I’ve become a kayaker. My New York friends are shocked. But I’ve never been happier. I’ve come to appreciate the beauty, the patriotism and great family values of this state. I’m glad I came home to West Virginia.”