The University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Community College systems have established a joint initiative to focus on the granting of academic credit based on relevant military training and experience. This is a statewide effort that (1) respects and recognizes the validity of American Council on Education (ACE) credit recommendations for military formal training and occupational experience and (2) supports a faculty-driven process for decisions regarding award of academic credit.
The awarding of academic credit to students with military training and experience is much more than a mere “military friendly” practice. The practical application, theoretical approach, frequent degree relevancy, and overall high quality of this training, as substantiated by the objective and rigorous ACE evaluation process, make this practice an academically sound one. Awarding of credit where it is due also attracts learned and experienced students to UNC and NCCC institutions, and it greatly increases the chances of these students graduating from the North Carolina public system of higher education.
Senate Bill 761, which was ratified on July 1, 2014, requires the UNC Board of Governors and the State Board of Community Colleges to:
- Work together to develop a plan for awarding academic credit to students with military training and experience
- Establish a process by which students can transfer these course credits between UNC constituent institutions and North Carolina Community Colleges
This required plan has been submitted to the appropriate legislative committees, and a Military Credit Advisory Council (MCAC) has been established.
MCAC Membership and Goals
MCAC membership is balanced between faculty and staff members from UNC and NC Community College constituent institutions, and between representatives from the respective system offices. Council members have also been selected based on their experience with students with formal military training and occupational experience.
Major functions of the MCAC:
- Guide the processes for reviewing and awarding credit based on military training and experience
- Facilitate the creation of a transparent and accessible system for informing students with military credit on how this credit would transfer to any North Carolina Community College or UNC university
Ultimate decisions on the award of credit will be faculty-driven—while MCAC members will be involved in convening Faculty Review Groups, they will not carry the responsibility of making decisions regarding the awarding of specific course credit.
The MCAC’s Process
The MCAC is beginning with existing policies and processes for the awarding of Credit for Prior Learning (CPL), and more specifically in this case, for the awarding of credit for military training and experience. The intent of this council is to capture, share, and build upon best practices.
The MCAC will convene six to eight times per year, with meetings being held more frequently during the beginning stages, and with some being conducted via videoconference.
- Identify military courses and occupational specialties deemed as high priority by the military education community for potential awarding of credit
- Identify military courses and occupational specialties for which individual institutions in either system are currently awarding academic credit
- Document and share the processes by which this credit is being awarded
SB 761 Implementation at a Glance
May 2015 – June 2016
Established Military Credit Advisory Council (MCAC);
conducted national scan of best practices at peer
higher education systems; identified team members
from the UNC and NCCCS system offices, and
determined level of involvement required by each;
conducted pilot evaluations; contracted and met
with consultants from the American Council on
Education (ACE) and the Council on Adult Education
(CAEL); identified marketing channels and methods
of information dissemination; consulted with external military entities; developed internal policies and rules for operation of/communication with faculty evaluation panels.
Nursing Pilot Panel convened
Seven additional panels formed
Information on evaluating military training and experience is shared with faculty academic discipline panels
Informational meetings held with NC National Guard and Workforce Development representatives
Seven faculty panels convene, gain confidence in the ACE process, learn how to interpret a military transcript (JST) and ACE credit recommendation exhibit, and familiarize themselves with work being done at NC community colleges and universities.
Update provided to full NC Military Affairs Council, and to NC Works – Veterans Division
Three webinars conducted for faculty panel members on “How to Evaluate a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS)”
Eight existing panels assigned the task of evaluating the 50 most common MOSs; results due to MCAC on January 20, 2017
Update provided to NC Military Affairs Council – Economic Development Sub-Committee Chairperson
Further guidance provided to eight current faculty evaluation panels
MCAC receiving nominations for six additional faculty panels
Faculty evaluations of 50 most commonly-held MOSs due on January 20; face-to-face meeting of eight original faculty discipline panels scheduled for Jan 30 through Feb 1
Panels continue to evaluate additional MOSs
Six new discipline panels scheduled to convene. Repeat training and credit decision process outlined above.
April 2017-June 2017
Ongoing MOS evaluations
Credit evaluations to be validated, presented to respective system boards, and published in a data base that is accessible to students, faculty, and staff at all NC Community Colleges and UNC Universities