ASU, Army ink partnership to enable education, innovation for both

News Date
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           From left: ASU Interim Provost Dr. Carl Pettis, ASU President Quinton T. Ross Jr.,  Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins and Interim Assistant Provost Dr. Tanjula Petty   

By Hazel Scott

Thanks to an agreement between Alabama State University and the Army, ASU STEM students now have the opportunity to directly work with the Army’s Department of Defense (DoD) researchers on solving real-world problems.

To seal the agreement, Alabama State University President Quinton T. Ross Jr. and  Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC), signed a formal Education Partnership Agreement (EPA) today (Aug. 29) at ASU.  

“As I understand, I think this is the first type of an agreement in the state of Alabama,” Ross said. “This partnership between the United States Army and the University will provide an opportunity not only for their members of the U.S. Army but also for students here at Alabama state University. It’s a match made in Heaven.”

The agreement will serve as a potential model for military-academic collaboration across the nation, not only on research and design of new technology, but also to promote greater understanding among institutions. It is expected to increase learning for both soldiers and civilian students in STEM, plus grant the DoD more laboratory space and expertise to address modern challenges.

The leaders of the two organizations said this effort is instrumental in producing the next generation of top STEM scientists and engineers.  

“From the Army perspective, we are big advocates of STEM-based education because we know the challenges we face will often require cutting-edge technology to be developed.” Wins said. “That’s why it’s so important that we not only have students who are foundationally-based in some of the core STEM educational areas, but that they also are going out and pursuing advanced degrees and degrees in areas that are cutting-edge new technology, such as cyber.”

Ross agreed that it is critical to have partnerships between two institutions that work on teams that celebrate the diversity of thought and ideas that are mission oriented to solve the world’s great challenges.

“When we speak of Alabama state University’s STEM program, a program that we consider second to none, it’s important that we continue to give our students that are in those program the opportunity that the United States Army will provide by putting them in a position to be on the cutting-edge and providing their knowledge as well to assist in the advancement of technology.”

The technology transfer agreement between the Army CCDC and ASU enables ASU STEM students and faculty to get hands-on experience working on Army defense research projects, to have enhanced research and education at ASU through interaction with DoD, enables the transfer of or development of technological resources and application, such as sharing scientific, engineering and technological assets and professional expertise, and  provides  workforce development opportunities for students who want a career path to the Department of Defense.

"I am very pleased with the opportunity afforded us through this agreement,” Ross said. “Our relationship with the Army will be strengthened and our students will benefit because of our ability to expose them to advanced technologies and training. This partnership will give our students the opportunity to experience and explore beyond their wildest dreams. This involvement will benefit them whether they choose a civilian career or if they choose a career in our arm forces.”

Major Gen. Wins said the EPA ultimate purpose is to encourage and enhance study in scientific disciplines at all levels of education, bring scientists together at both institutions and to bring students together with scientists to collaborate in different spaces in both the Army’s lab and at ASU.

“It’s very exciting for us as the organization in the Army that’s responsible for discovery, development and delivery of technology that will produce capabilities for the Army war fighter,” Wins said. “It’s very important that we search and seek out talented scientists and engineers in any circle in any place that we can find.  We believe this is a location (ASU) where there are truly talented young students and we believe there are opportunities that we can provide to them to help us in the development of those technologies in key critical areas for the United States Army.”  

ASU Interim Provost Dr. Carl Pettis said the agreement is very significant.

“This is the first of its kind at Alabama State University,” said Pettis. “This is a five-year education partnership agreement which will encourage and enhance science, mathematics, and engineering education at all levels of education for the students currently enrolled and faculty currently employed by the ASU.”

Interim Assistant Provost Dr. Tanjula Petty said Alabama State University’s broad academic programs are poised to support the U.S. Army CCDC career goals.

“ASU Partnership Program has a long history of providing undergraduate and graduate education in STEM, business, computer science and procurement career fields, consistent with the workforce development requirements of CCDC,” Petty said. “This will provide more opportunities to our students to ensure that they are career ready.”  

 Ross said the University is delighted the Army appreciates ASU's attributes that long have been recognized in the research community.

“This isn’t just a great thing for ASU and the Army – the results of the military and research universities working hand-in-hand can be transformative for our nation.”