State Advisory Councils on Military Education: Update Part 2 of 3


State Advisory Councils on Military Education (ACMEs) have wrapped up their annual meetings for the year.  They are now developing their agendas for the sessions they are planning in conjunction with the Council of Colleges and Military Educators (CCME) Symposium scheduled for February 2012 at the Sea World Renaissance in Orlando (  The state meetings are augmented with a general session that all ACME members attend, as well as a concurrent session, moderated by Joan Miller from Embry Riddle University, that will address how to successfully re-involve government representatives in ACME and CCME programs and processes.

2011 Wrap-Up: Colorado, Texas and the South (COMETS), and Illinios ACME membership years are provided below. 

Colorado:  Dana Rocha, President of the Colorado ACME, reports that during the past year the Colorado ACME, known for its cutting edge involvement with its state legislature, expanded its institutional membership and participation in 2011, adding to the state ACME’s membership in-state and out-of-state institutions providing educational opportunities to military community members stationed at or working on installations across the state.  The state ACME finalized its 501c4 non-profit application with the state this year.  Dana also noted that it will announce recipients of its scholarship awards in January.   At their annual conference in October 2011 (the theme was “Joining Forces: Colorado's Initiative to support Educating Americas Military”), Colorado Lt Governor Joe Garcia was the keynote and acted as moderator of the university president panel that discussed military issues and the DoD MOU.  Jeannie Ritter, wife of the former governor, spoke about key needs of the military in higher education and has now joined the ACME team.

The Colorado ACME executive board for 2012 consists of President Dana Rocha (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs), Vice President Pete Heinz (Colorado Technical University). Secretary Cheri Arfsten (Pikes Peak Community College) and Treasurer Sheila Pamplin (Western Governors University).

The Colorado ACME’s 2012 annual conference will meet in Denver in April 2012.  Dana will provide specifics about the agenda when that information is available; we will provide that information directly to you at that time so you don’t have to go looking for it.  Check the CO ACME websites for periodic updates about what new dynamic issues the Colorado ACME has targeted:

COMETS:  Dean Daniel, President of the Council on Military Education in Texas and the South (COMETS), reports that the organization developed a new logo that more adequately reflects the regional emphasis of the organization.  COMETS also revised its by-laws, set up a new website and now has a Face Book presence.  The new website can be accessed at; the COMETS Facebook site can be accessed from the website   COMETS has also developed a new on-line registration process for its annual meetings and conferences.    

This year’s conference agenda incorporated a student panel that addressed the role of education available during and after military service, included an ESO panel that discussed major concerns/opportunities facing their staff and service members in today’s changing educational environment, an in-depth update and analysis about the Post 9/11 GI Bill, manifestations and myths about distance learning, an update from the Service Chiefs, as well as a SOC Update.

COMETS has also instituted two new awards:  The Galaxy Award was created in recognition of exemplary service provided by an Education Services Officer. The Nova Award was designed to recognize a student who exemplifies what Voluntary Education is all about.

The 2012 COMETS Board includes Immediate Past-President Rita Russ (University of the Incarnate Word), President Dean Daniel (Wayland Baptist University), President-Elect Megan Garland Tyler (The University of Oklahoma), Vice President Legislative Affairs Shawn Mann (Baker College Online), Director of Technical Services Robert Rosenbalm (Dallas County Community College District), Treasurer  Allison Chambers (Thomas Edison State College), Treasurer-Elect Beki Miller (The University of Oklahoma), Secretary Trent Orndorf (Strayer University),  Secretary-Elect Steve Vitucci (Texas A&M Central Texas).

For your planning purposes, the COMETS 2012 annual conference will convene April 16-18, 2012, at the Downtown Hilton in Ft. Worth, TX.  The conference theme will be “Honoring  Their Service with Ours.”

Illinois:  The Illinois ACME is still in its planning and organizing stages.  Randy Plunkett, formerly of Capella University, and now with, was the original organizing chair and President for the standup of an ACME to serve active duty military personnel, veterans, and their family members in the state of Illinois.   Upon Randy’s departure for his new job with Monster, Richard W. Carter of Western Illinois University and Richard Kennedy of American Intercontinental University were chosen to take on the role of Acting President and Acting Vice President respectively of the Illinois ACME. 

During the year, the Illinois ACME held several virtual meetings to discuss possible venues for a Fall Organizing Conference.  Due to last minute changes in leadership, the conference was delayed and will be rescheduled. 

Institutions and military education leadership dedicated to forming an advisory council on military education in the state used the original fall conference dates to arrange an executive board meeting in Peoria.  During the executive meeting, new leadership selected some dates for a regional planning meeting in the Quad Cities, to which ACME leaders from neighboring states will be invited to join in assisting Illinois in its organizing and planning efforts. 

The Illinois leadership also began work creating and building a website for the state ACME.  Progress has been made on the website, but the ACME hasn’t gone public with it yet; it will be launched once conference details are worked out.  Possible agenda items include the new DoD MOU, the state authorization issue, as well as new DoD tuition rates.

New officers for the Illinois 2012 membership year are President Richard Carter (Western Illinois University), Vice President Richard Kennedy (American Intercontinental University) and Advisor Joan Ryan (State of Illinois).

See Part III for California, Florida and Washington ACME Updates.

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