Transitioning from the Military to Higher Ed Teaching

David is a PhD in Organizational Psychology student with a 15-year military career. Currently he supervises logistics and operations personnel, develops and delivers training courses, and establishes benchmarks to meet the strategic goals of his division in the National Guard. David also has a strong interest in higher ed teaching.

He contacted Career Services for help with his resume and, a few months later, reported that he was hired for his first online adjunct faculty position. David submitted over 20 different applications for higher ed teaching positions before he received a response. One of his instructors told him that he was amazed at how fast he was hired as many people search for months, or even years, before finding a position. The reality is that it takes a lot of persistence to get a first-time job in higher ed teaching.

How did David succeed in making the transition? David acquired many transferable skills in the military including increasing levels of leadership and management experience and experience working with diverse populations of military personnel ranging from college students to minimum wage workers. He believes that his military background along with his knowledge of the online learning environment set him apart from other applicants. With the help of Career Services, David added a strong Career Profile to his resume that highlighted all of his transferable skills, bringing attention to his greatest strengths and achievements.

David went through an extensive application and training process before becoming an adjunct instructor. After he submitted his online application and resume, David was asked for a statement of his teaching style and philosophy. He then completed a phone interview, was offered the position, and completed a 2-week training program before teaching his first course. He was assigned a mentor who closely monitored his classroom for the first 4 weeks of the course. With David’s first-hand experience as an online student at Walden and his military work ethic, he is well-prepared to share his vast knowledge with his students.

What is David’s next step? He will be teaching an undergraduate course to police officers and military students at a base in Louisiana, the first course taught there since Hurricane Katrina. David’s networking connections within the military, excellent reputation, and persistence landed him this opportunity. As David continues his military career and the pursuit of his doctorate degree, he plans to keep building his teaching experience in both online and face-to-face learning environments. We wish him great success in his expanding career.

Written by Career Services Advisor Dina Bergren

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