NEWPORT, R.I. – Dr. James E. “Jay” Hickey was named the new director of the College of Distance Education (CDE) at the Naval War College (NWC) effective July 4. Hickey is responsible for overseeing the development and delivery of the curriculum for the college’s nonresident programs which provide executive level education to officers of the various military services and to senior Department of Defense and other Federal employees.
“Since 1986 I’ve been affiliated in some capacity with the College of Distance Education,” Hickey said. “I believe in professional military education and I believe in nonresident education. I’m absolutely thrilled for the opportunity—given to me by Admiral Wisecup and Ambassador Peters—to help shape the future of this organization in the years ahead.”
NWC graduated 1,042 CDE students throughout the world this spring. Nonresident instruction is conducted through faculty-led evening seminars, the “Naval War College at the Naval Postgraduate School” program in Monterey, Calif., a web-enabled program, and a CD-ROM based correspondence program. All of these courses mirror the program of study offered to resident students at NWC’s Newport campus.
Hickey recently served as a professor in the Strategy and Policy (S&P) Department and as Graduate Degree Program Manager at NWC. Evaluating his new position, he is motivated by the challenges of outreach instruction for nonresident students.
“Our staff is responsible for overseeing the efforts to keep CDE on the cutting edge of distributed learning,” Hickey said. “One of our goals is to make our coursework—not only rigorous academically—but engaging, fun-to-take and professionally and personally rewarding.”
CDE teaches at the intermediate service level, equivalent to the College of Naval Command and Staff program in Newport. The core courses taught are Strategy and War, National Security Decision Making and Joint Maritime Operations. Hickey believes his background as a CDE student, military officer and teacher makes him a strong advocate for the program.
“As both a serving officer and former nonresident student at NWC, I certainly understand the value that higher education has for our students and the challenges they face,” said Hickey, who has earned master’s and doctoral degrees in the U.S. and England. “I can share these experiences and accomplishments with CDE students whenever they need career advice.”
He also thinks his background in the military and as a veteran educator can lead to greater collaborative efforts at the college.
“We are a professional military institution with outstanding leadership. The faculty is a blend of seasoned military officers and top-notch professional academics,” Hickey said. “When there are creative tensions between both groups, I’ll have the ability to understand and help resolve the concerns of these valued partners.”
Hickey believes he’s reached the pinnacle of the process of being a student, understanding and believing in the CDE program, teaching military education, and shaping the nonresident experience. Finally, he will always remember the inspiration he has received as a professor at NWC.
“One of the War College’s core missions is to teach the next group of operational and strategic leaders,” Hickey said. “As a teacher, there’s nothing better than sitting in a classroom and watching one of our students have an ‘ah-ha’ moment. That time when eyes light up and you realize that the student gets it.”
By David Reese, Naval War College Public Affairs