Business

Business dean’s military experience a plus for Brandman students

November 28, 2016 by Cindy O'Dell
Glenn Worthington, dean of the Brandman School of Business and Professional Studies.

Glenn Worthington, dean of the Brandman School of Business and Professional Studies.

When it comes to military service, Brandman University students, staff and adjunct faculty run the full gamut of ranks, branches, deployments and types of duty.

But School of Business and Professional Studies Dean Glenn Worthington almost does that single-handedly. He entered the Army Reserves as a private and left as a colonel, serving in the Army Reserves, Air Force Reserves and Army National Guard. His tours of duty include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Southern Iraq and shorter deployments around the world.

Worthington was awarded the Bronze Star for his role in the January 1991 invasion of Iraq, which involved about 697,000 U.S. troops in what is sometimes called the “100-hour ground war.”

“I trained for it for years at the Yakima (Washington) firing center. We were ready,” said Worthington.

His career at Brandman began with a position as an adjunct faculty member, an extension of his teaching and administrative roles in elementary and secondary schools near Fort Lewis. He eventually joined Brandman full time as a program manager, became an assistant professor, then a full professor and associate dean and now dean.

All that experience, both at Brandman and with the military, makes Worthington keenly aware of both the potential of military and veteran students and the challenges they, and their spouses, face.

He knows that active duty military, including reservists and National Guard members, can have their lives changed in an instant. “Pick up your weapon and follow me,” as the classic marching cadence declares, is still valid for all branches of the military even when it means picking up a shovel to fight a forest fire. Worthington knows. He was working as a junior high school principal one January day and the next headed for the Middle East. He didn’t return until the close of that school year.

Worthington’s goal, as dean and as someone who understands the demands of a military life, is making sure the university’s standards are maintained while still being fair to the student and the student’s classmates. “My job as a dean with military experience is to make sure fewer people are caught in the middle.”

That’s one of the reasons he donned a “Superman” outfit to talk academic advisors before the start of the 2016-17 academic year. He wanted their attention. He also wanted to remind them that sometimes the extraordinary is needed when working with active service and veteran students.

For Worthington, that extends to military spouses, both as students themselves and as part of the support system for military and veteran students.

“Military spouses are so important. I know because I have one,” said Worthington, referring to his wife, Nancy. “Everything I’ve had to do has had her total support.”

He also wants faculty members to realize that what might be perceived as a relatively low military rank equates to considerable amounts of responsibility in the civilian world. It’s one of the reasons he’s worked to shorten the degree path for military students, using the military training they’ve received to earn academic credit in the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (M.A.O.L.). He would like to expand the options for those with military training in IT or logistics for related degree programs.

“Some people don’t realize that service members, as part of their career path, change to become more well-rounded. In a 12-year path, they may have had held administrative, security, supply and operations responsibilities. You don’t get that in the civilian world. They see the battlefield, who needs to do what and what the job is. That translates to problem-solving in the civilian world,” he said.

His advice to students is simple. Keep faculty members informed. “If you coordinate in advance, it’s not a surprise,” he said, adding that coordination and communication are the responsibilities of all Brandman students when the real world impinges on their academic world.

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