I graduated in August 2007 with a Master of Education, ETMS/Human Performance Technology degree.
Initially, in 2002 I decided to pursue a graduate degree when I was stationed at NAS Whiting Field as a Helicopter Flight Instructor. I chose UWF at the time because the Navy and UWF had established a partnership to encourage flight instructors at Whiting Field to continue their education. The aforementioned partnership began by promoting a master's degree in Educational Leadership. At the time my objective was to earn a graduate degree specifically for the purpose of enhancing my naval career. The objective changed after I was ordered to a squadron in Norfolk, VA, at the beginning of 2003 to deploy in support of the Global War on Terrorism. These orders required me to put my pursuit of a graduate degree on hold. Two years later I was ordered to a squadron at NAS Jacksonville, delaying my degree a second time while I was again deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
Finally, when I returned from the last deployment in the spring of 2006, I immediately began searching through old emails from department heads and professors at UWF. I first contacted Dr. Karen Rasmussen and Dr. Lee Droguemueller. Amazingly they had not forgotten me and were very enthusiastic about accommodating my return to the University so I could complete my degree. Additionally, Dr. Rasmussen provided information about the Human Performance Technology (HPT) field. After reading about HPT, I became interested in the field because I could apply it to my job in the US Navy as well as use it for a post-Navy career. It was then that I decided to change my initial degree plan from 2002 to include HPT.
I graduated in August 2007 in large part due to the flexibility of the UWF professors. Being stationed with a helicopter squadron in Jacksonville, Florida, which was required to go out to sea at least once a month after we returned from a long deployment, there were times when my schedule collided with the demands of the distance learning program that UWF has established. The professors I had accommodated my very demanding and inflexible Navy schedule. I am very grateful to the UWF professors I have had the privilege to learn from and to the UWF distance learning program, both of which helped me to accomplish my goal of earning a graduate degree.
Since graduation, the Navy awarded me a subspecialty code for training and education. The Naval career benefits of this subspecialty code are yet to be realized. However, I did successfully employ many HPT principles in my department while I was serving as the Maintenance Officer in a US Navy helicopter squadron.
I have not explored any future career opportunities as I am still obligated to the US Navy. However, when I am ready to retire I am quite certain that in today’s world of lean manufacturing there will be a need for Human Performance Technologists.
My advice for prospective ETMS students—if the program caught your eye, do it and it will hold your attention! The faculty and the ETMS program are very flexible and can usually accommodate whatever needs a student may have. I so enjoyed the ETMS/HPT program that I am back for more!