The Nimitz advancement numbers are reportedly higher than any other carrier in the Navy. The Nimitz's previous exam cycle in 2007 resulted in 317 advancements.
It is very likely that the Nimitz's highly successful Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE) courses played a part in the number of advancements. The ship's record breaking NCPACE program started prior to the ship's 2007 deployment in which it held three eight-week terms and offered 109 courses.
DART During that time, nearly 1,400 Sailors and Marines completed instructor-led courses. The program had a 93 percent completion rate for all three terms.
Additional courses that didn't require Internet access were completed through distance learning, and 169 crewmembers completed a variety of courses using tuition assistance.
NCPACE classes are offered onboard by Central Texas College and Columbia College. Colleges providing distance learning include Central Texas College, Coastline Community College, Dallas TeleCollege, ECPI College of Technology, Governors State University, Old Dominion University, Saint Leo University, Thomas Edison State College, University of Oklahoma and Vincennes University.
Sailors also earned credits through CLEP/DSST/Excelsior exams administered onboard or at overseas, shore-based test centers.
The ship conducted an education fair on the hangar bay with NCPACE, Navy partnership schools, Troops to Teachers and Navy College Office representatives who provided information on schools, as well as DANTES and the United Services Military Apprenticeship Program.
Keys to a successful NCPACE program include the full support of the command, which provides classrooms and berthing space for instructors, and a pro-active, highly motivated ESO staff willing to put in the time and effort to ensure a quality program for their shipmates.
Navy College staff accompanied the Nimitz for four days prior to deployment - and for the first nine days of the deployment - to ensure the start of classes went smoothly.
During the second underway period there were 85 last minute enrollments processed, 50 placement exams administered and 60 class schedules adjusted. Additionally, 260 Sailors received counseling and several air wing distance learning program issues were resolved.
"The amount of counseling and testing our Navy College Office has offered Nimitz Sailors certainly contributed to our successful Navywide advancement exam," said Ensign Rafael Villarreal, Nimitz Educational Services Officer. "The North Island Office has been extremely helpful with Nimitz Sailors achieving their academic goals with their weekly visits and continuous and prompt replies to all of our e-mails. The staff is always there for us when we need them. Taking college courses has helped our Sailors develop or improve their study skills and now, with the Navy's policy of awarding advancement points for education, this has boosted the motivation and level of commitment for Sailors to attain a degree."