HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) – Centenary University has joined forces with the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) to make it easier for active duty air and space professionals to earn an associate degree. Through a new accreditation agreement between the two entities, Centenary is now a participating educational institution in CCAF’s General Education Mobile (GEM) Program, which provides the opportunity for air and space personnel enrolled at CCAF to earn an Associate in Applied Science (AAS).
As the only four-year, independent university in New Jersey accredited through the CCAF GEM Program, Centenary now provides airmen enrolled at CCAF the opportunity to complete up to 15 credits online to satisfy general education requirements toward their AAS. Qualifying courses are in written and oral communication, mathematics, social science, and the humanities. The University offers a number of educational programs and support services for veterans.
Centenary University President Bruce Murphy, Ed.D., is a retired US Army lieutenant colonel, who also spent more than eight years as a senior civilian executive with the Air Force, including as vice president of academic affairs at the Air University, CCAF’s parent organization. During that time, he helped to establish the GEM Program. “I’m a strong believer in this program,” Dr. Murphy said. “The Air Force has always relied on civilian universities to provide the general education component of this degree, and CCAF does a tremendous job making sure these programs are up to snuff.”
While an associate degree isn’t required for most promotions, it is mandatory for the rank of senior master sergeant. Yet only 24 percent of airmen have attained that degree. On average, it takes approximately eight years for airmen to earn an AAS due to their deployment around the world. “Through the GEM Program, CCAF has made it easier for airmen to complete their associate degree online in a much shorter timeframe,” explained Margie Pavlichko, director of veteran services. “They can take Centenary courses anytime, and from anywhere.”
Dr. Murphy added that military personnel bring experiences, including international experiences, to the virtual classroom that enrich teaching and learning on the university level. “These are people who are working around the world right now,” he explained. “They bring unique experiences into the classroom. Our participation in GEM enriches Centenary University, while also supporting those who serve.”
In addition, Dr. Murphy noted that the University is currently laying the groundwork for airmen to seamlessly transfer to Centenary to earn their bachelor’s degree online. “I’m very proud,” he said. “Being a military-friendly institution goes beyond words. We need to be there for our military.”