Jerry Kozlowski, Dean of The BEST Center of Genesee Community College, was invited by Robert L. King, the Chancellor of the State University of New York, to participate in the ongoing discussion and planning process to form an Advisory Council on Military Education (ACME) in New York State. Similar councils have already been established in several other states and have proven very effective in supporting the educational objectives of military families. The meeting was held Monday, June 6, 2005 in Albany and included more than 50 representatives from educational and military groups from across the state.
The purpose of the meeting was to learn more about educational opportunities, increase the college enrollment of the military and their families in New York colleges and universities, and address the challenges faced by these families who wish to attend college.
For several years, soldiers and their families at Fort Drum near Watertown, New York have recognized the need for improved networking and communication between education and military organizations. ACME could help develop partnerships among New York State colleges with the National Guard and Reserve; support tuition assistance programs targeted to working spouses of soldiers; and help the young adult children of soldiers who wish to remain in New York State and attend college even when their family moves to an assignment that is out-of-state or out-of-country. In addition, ACME could also be a prime motivator for a "Troops to Teachers" initiative with the State Education Department.
Last summer, interested individuals met to discuss the feasibility of establishing ACME resulting in a draft of by-laws. This year, ACME is poised for implementation.
"It is very exciting to see an organization with such an important mission and focus come together. New York State has the best educational network in the country, if not the world-and who else deserves to be part of this system more than the families and soldiers in our military," Kozlowski said. "I was personally honored to be invited to this excellent forum and I am delighted to lend the support and interest of Genesee Community College to help launch ACME."
It is hoped that ACME will be formally established as a legally recognized nonprofit organization this fall. The overriding mission of the new organization will be to improve educational opportunities not only for the actively enlisted New York State servicemen and women, but also to their spouses and children. ACME plans to develop partnerships and communication networks with SUNY campuses and various government bodies to explore a wide range of possibilities. From effectively utilizing the online SUNY Learning Network (http://sln.suny.edu/) to provide coursework to military bases around the globe, to expanding the availability of TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) to the spouses and children of our soldiers-these are among the potential opportunities ACME will investigate.
Mr. Kozlowski brings a wealth of experience and service for the successful implementation of ACME. In addition to his current responsibility as Dean of The BEST Center and overseeing the College's five campus center locations, Jerry served honorably in the United States Air Force for 25 years. He began his distinguished military career in 1971 as a training instructor, assumed the role of Commander, Executive Officer, computer program development manager, and finished his tenure as a speech writer and executive aid to the Commander-In-Chief of U.S. Space Command.
In addition, Jerry is a member of the Leadership Genesee Class of 2004, and serves on numerous area boards and committees including: Chairman, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Business Development Committee; Chairman, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee; Member, Genesee County Empire Zone Board; and Member, Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Economic Development Focus Group. He also writes a monthly business column for The Daily News.
Editor's note: A photograph of Mr. Kozlowski is available at the following Internet site:http://marketing.genesee.edu/images/kozlowskijerry.jpg