Recently Air University at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Ala., held a Facebook live Enlisted Town Hall event to discuss the future of Enlisted Professional Military Education and how Air University is moving forward during the COVID-19 crisis.
The panel of chief master sergeants from AU answered both pre-submitted questions and questions asked during the event addressing concerns for current and future enlisted PME classes.
A recurring question from Airmen was what would happen with the PME classes they were signed up to attend or want to attend, known as allocation.
“In regards to allocations, this is business as usual,” said Chief Master Sgt. Lauren Brock, Enlisted Professional Military Education Chief. “We’ve changed the method to which we deliver this information, but the same things will occur in regards to allocations so whatever those priority ones and priority twos and priority three students whatever seats were allocated for Guard and Reserve this is business as usual and those same things will occur. For those that have been in prior classes that were cancelled if you fall into those priority categories then we will definitely see you soon.”
Chief Master Sgt. Tamar Dennis, Air University command chief, discussed that her leadership team, all the way up to Air University Commander and President Lt. Gen. James Hecker, has focused on the safety of the students as their top priority. Proactively creating multiple courses of action has allowed Air University expeditious and agile education offerings, in the safest ways possible.
Despite not having the tangibles of sitting in a classroom setting and being able to learn from the person next to you, Dennis wanted to let Airmen know, “Although it is not a perfect solution, it is a solution and we can still get after education in the virtual platform.” The goal is to continually adapt to the ever evolving situation and to have the ability for Airmen to attend PME either virtually or in residence when possible.
The chiefs addressed many other concerns that were brought up during the live event; everything from obtaining computers for those that don’t have computers at home to understanding that there will be interruptions due to not having daycare for children. “We have to give each other grace,” said Dennis. “I have a two-year old and so at any point on my team’s call you may hear him hanging on to my ankles.”
The future of enlisted PME classes are assessed every month by the AU leadership team. As the situation evolves, AU leadership will make decisions based on risk based measures and will continually communicate the most up-to-date information. Air University’s understanding of the reality of the situation and its monthly reassessments about the status of PME operations are going to help keep Airmen learning and developing as present and future leaders.